Published on August 1st, 2010 | by Greg0
Apricorn Aegis Netdock; Mini Media at Your Service
We like netbooks here- the ultra-lightweight laptops that are small enough to fit in a purse and offer enough computing power for basic tasks. We do miss a few things though- hard drive space and a CD/DVD drive for example. That’s where the Apricorn Aegis Netdock comes in. Several models are available, including a hard drive-less version, but we suggest the 250GB, or the one we tested that offers 500 GB of storage space built-in.
The Netdock is a good-looking machine that expands the capabilities of your underpowered eeePC or other compact (even the MacBook Air). Basically, it’s a lightweight and portable, bright cherry red, 3-in-1 USB docking station. You can burn a DVD and connect your Netbook to your many devices without extra hassle.
The NetDock contains an 8x DVD burner in the case along with four USB 2.0 ports as well. Two of these ports remain powered even when the unit isn’t attached to a computer, so you can charge cell phones, MP3 players and other mobile devices with them even when you take your computer and go. More importantly, all the ports have ample power to run a portable hard drive with only one connection. We tried it out on Windows XP SP2, Vista, and Windows 7, and they were immediately recognized as the NetDock and the drivers all installed automatically.
You can set the NetDock flat on your desk or vertically on it’s included stand. The Dual Layer recording engine allows you to record up to 8.5GB of data per DVD, and they included plenty of basic software for playing media, burning CDs and DVDs, and for synchronizing information between the NetDock and a PC. Included in the package is the freely-available Microsoft SyncToy, which lets you synchronize files between folder pairs, aimed at those who want to use the external hard drive for backup. It’s easy, fairly fast, and worked nicely.
Though we were thrilled with the Netdock and the choice of the optional hard drive built-in, we missed a few extra opportunities that they could have taken advantage of. Blu-ray wouldn’t be appropriate for a small, low-resolution monitor, but better audio would have been nice. A subwoofer and decent speakers would have added yet another piece of the puzzle. Now if only there was an USB 3.0 version! You can purchase at Amazon for around $90, $150, or $190 depending on options.
If you are looking for something to carry your Netbook in, look no further than the CaseLogic E-Sling which can hold most any netbooks, and even some smaller laptops (their website has a nice, if incomplete, list of computers that will fit). There’s room for all of the extra cables and accessories as well, and pockets for your phone or iPod, GPS or digicam. Also, if you need an interesting secure backup solution, we previously looked at the Apricorn Aegis Padlock.