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Turn Your Notebook Into a Desktop

kensington-sd200v.jpgNotebooks have rapidly eclipsed desktops as the computer of choice for business users, and with good reason: They're portable, and they're just as affordable. Of course, if you're using a notebook as your primary PC, you might want to consider some accessories that provide desktop-style creature comforts. For example:

  • Kensington sd200v Notebook Docking Station with Video This tiny tower (pictured) provides not only the prerequisite extra USB ports (five of them) and audio jacks (one for speakers, one for a microphone), but also a VGA-out port. That means you can leave an external keyboard, mouse, and monitor connected to the dock, and they'll all be ready to go the minute you connect your notebook. The sd200v's DualView feature lets you use the second monitor to expand (or duplicate) your available workspace. The beauty of this is that it works with any notebook, so you don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on a dock that works only with your specific model. The sd200v lists for $139.99.
  • Wireless keyboard/mouse A full-size keyboard and mouse are essential for duplicating the desktop experience, and you might as well go wireless while you're at it. I highly recommend a bundle that includes a rechargeable mouse so you're not constantly swapping batteries. Check out the Logitech Cordless Desktop MX 5000 Laser and Microsoft Wireless Entertainment Desktop 7000.
  • Second monitor If nothing else, you should pick up a second monitor. Almost all notebooks have a VGA-out port (though many new monitors are DVI-only, meaning you may need a cable adapter), making it a simple matter to plug in a spacious 19- or 22-inch widescreen LCD. More screen estate means a bump in productivity and a drop in eyestrain.
What else would you consider essential for turning a notebook into a desktop? Hit the Comments and share your thoughts.
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