Gadgets 1184

Published on August 1st, 2010 | by Greg


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.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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