Kensington Universal Dock Review (sd400v)

After getting a new laptop at work I had to say goodbye to my trusty Belkin port replicator as the drivers are not available for Windows7. Surpringly when the whole world uses laptops now theres not a lot of choice when it comes to a universal docking station. the obvious choice seemed to be the Kensington Universal Docking Station with Video and Ethernet sd400v. The trouble was every review of I read said it was pretty terrible!

Anyway, I decided to take a punt on for £100 from Dabs with my excellent Sony Vaio laptop, Kensington say:

Turn your notebook into a desktop in one simple step with the Kensington Universal Docking Station with Video and Ethernet sd400v. Simply plug a single USB cable into your notebook and you are instantly comfortable and connected to internet via a wired connection. Share this setup with any user. Auto-install design makes the initial installation a true plug-n-play experience. No CD software required.

  • Universal compatibility with all brands of laptops via USB: Acer®, Asus®, Compaq®, Dell®, Gateway®, HP®, IBM®, Lenovo®, Sony®, Toshiba® and more
  • Auto-Install design makes the initial installation a true “plug-n-play” experience. No CD software required*. Perfect for office space shared with multiple users. * Auto install supported by all PC running Windows® XP and Windows Vista®
  • All the port connectivity you need including 10/100 ethernet to maintain internet connection and avoid wireless hang-ups. “Always-on” USB ports charges your mobile devices even when your laptop is shut down
  • Hot pluggable, so you can connect to the dock and swap devices without shutting down
  • HD screen capable so you can connect to a very large external monitor and drastically increase your visual workspace. Front Dualview button makes dual screen setup easy
  • Mini Tower design reduces desktop footprint, Kensington security slot allows you to secure your dock and its connected peripherals (via security cable and cablesaver)
  • Front Audio ports and back speaker port lets you connect both 2.1 stereo speakers and internet chat headset. Docking station will not provide power to your laptop, but provide connectivity to peripherals and network via a single USB cable.
  • Docking station will not provide power to your laptop, but provide connectivity to peripherals via a single USB cable.

Specifications

  • Operating Systems Compatibility: PC including Windows® 7 (32-bit and 64-bit editions), Windows® Vista® sp1 (32-bit and 64-bit editions), Windows® XP (sp2, sp3, including Tablet PC editions). Auto install supported for all PC running Windows® 7, Windows® Vista®, and Windows® XP. NOT compatible with Mac computers (please purchase K33930 for Mac computers)
  • Feature difference from K33930: auto-install (no CD required for initial installation) network port will not work with MAC computers
  • Peripheral connectivity: Audio: Front Audio ports (Audio in/out), Back Speaker port (Audio out) USB ports: 5 USB 2.0 & “always-on” Network: 10/100 ethernet External monitor: DVI or VGA (with included DVI to VGA adapter). Optionally HDMI by purchasing a DVI to HDMI adapter (not included). Works with widescreen and standard computer monitor, projector, HDTV up to a 2048 X 1152 pixel resolution or 1080p
  • Security cable slot on side panel: add a Kensington security cable (sold separately) and combine it with a cable saver to secure both the docking station and its connected peripherals Front LED indicator: Green indicates docking station is working and connected to computer
  • Package content: USB docking station sd400v, USB cable, 2.5Amp wall power adapter, DVI to VGA adapter, quick start guide

 

I’m relived to say they are totally right, it works like a charm, the only exception being the Ethernet which will only connect if plugged directly into the laptop. I’m 99% sure though this is something to do with a new passive security system just installed at work as the Belkin had also stopped working when that was introduced.

It looks great on the desk and isn’t very large and gives a good number of additional USB plugs for things that are permanently connected.

 

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