Kensington SD4000 Universal USB 3.0 Docking Station with 4K UHD Review

Introduction


For today’s review I’m venturing a little bit out of my normal area of storage, network, and server components and take a closer look at a very useful gadget for everyone that has a laptop of some sort. Kensington might be most known for their locking system that is present on almost any electronic device, but they do make a lot of different products too. Today I’m taking a closer look at the SD4000 Universal USB Docking Station for laptops.

While a docking station like this would work with any system and as such isn’t limited to portable ones, it will be a rare scenario that someone will connect it to their desktop. That said, it could still provide some beneficial uses there too.

While most laptop manufacturers also provide docking stations for some of their models, they are usually very expensive and only compatible to very few models. The use of a universal docking station like this opens a lot more options and best of all, you can take it with you to any other system that you might upgrade to in the future.

The Kensington SD4000 Universal Docking Station connects to your system via a single USB 3.0 host port and in return it offers you three USB 3.0 connectors, a DVI port, a DisplayPort or HDMI, a Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port, and headset connections. Those are all useful connections to have, especially on ultrabooks and netbooks that barely have any native connections at all anymore.

The Docking Station doesn’t just serve as USB hub, it also enables 4K Ultra HD resolutions, even when your laptop doesn’t have a graphics card that supports these resolutions. You can connect a single 4K monitor or TV via an HDMI or DisplayPort connection for Ultra HD resolution at 3840 x 2160 pixels.

4K Ultra HD resolution sadly only works with one monitor connected, but you can run up to 2K when using dual monitors. Ideal for users not ready to make the transition to 4K, this option can support the typical two-monitor setup with 1920 x 1200 and 2048 x 1152 resolution for each screen.

Speedy charging for power hungry devices such as tablets is also supported thanks to the 2.1 AMP fast charging USB port labeled with an extra lightning character. The Gigabit Ethernet port is also one that’s often missing on netbooks as they rely solely on wireless.

Features

  • 4K Ultra HD resolution (3840×2160) to one monitor via an HDMI cable or DisplayPort connection
  • Enables 4K UHD even if laptop does not have 4K graphics card
  • 2K resolution (1920×1200/2048×1152) for two-monitor setup via DisplayPort or HDMI/DVI
  • 3 universal USB 3.0 ports for seamless productivity with your accessories
  • 2.1A fast charging port to power up a tablet or smartphone
  • Gigabit Ethernet port for wired connectivity to the Internet
  • Includes speaker port, microphone jack, Kensington Security Slot
  • Compatible with Windows 8.1/8/7

Specifications

  • UPC: 085896339830
  • Best For: Convertible and 2-in-1 Laptops, Laptops, Ultrabooks, Windows Tablets
  • Compatibility: Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1
  • Connections: 1 x RJ-45 Ethernet (LAN) Female, Host Interface: USB 3.0, Host upstream link: USB (B Type)
  • Female, HUB downstream link: USB (A Type) Female
  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Features: Extended Display, Kensington Security Slot, Mirrored Display, Power Indicator (Blue), USB Hub Link
  • Indicator (Green)
  • Dimensions: 7.71” x 3.34” x 1.08” (19.5 cm x 85 cm x 2.75 cm)

Packaging and Accessories

The package of the SD4000 Universal Docking Station comes in s a simple yet elegant wrapping. It shows what it does on the front without much extra.

The rear of the package explains what type of connectors it has, what’s in the box, and what it is compatible with. Everything you’ll want to know before you purchase.

Inside the box, we find a power supply with both an EU and UK replaceable plug, a setup guide, a USB cable to connect it and the docking station itself.

FSP Announced Notebook Power Adapter With Built-In USB 3.0 Hub

FSP Group has some great power supplies, although they’re mostly used as OEM models by system builders. But they range from off-size tiny and specialized ones onto full-fledged ATX power supplies for high-end systems. This time around they bring out something a little different that very well could be considered the most powerful USB hub.

Okay, all the power isn’t really used for the USB hub, but it’s rather a universal power supply for notebook and ultrabook users and it has a built-in USB 3.0 hub.

There will be two models of the new NB H series of power supplies, the NB H 110 with 3 USB 3.0 ports and a 110W total output and the smaller version called the NB H 65 with two USB ports and 65W power output.

One could argue that it’s an irrelevant feature as one just could get an over-the-counter random USB hub, but when you’re on the go you want to have as few devices with you as possible. Having the power supply and USB hub in one saves you half the load and space in your backpack or purse.

The NB H 65 and NB H 110 are scheduled to be available in stores this October 2015 for the suggested retail price of €54.99 and €69.99 respectively.

15.6-Inch Chromebook Unveiled by Acer

After a strong showing for Chromebooks – the family of netbooks that carry Google’s Chrome operating system – over the recent Holiday season, Acer has announced the release of a new Chromebook with a 15.6-inch screen, making it the largest of its kind. Acer was the second-highest selling manufacturer of Chromebooks last year, according to statistics gathered by IT researchers Gartner, and the company is showing its intent to continue that success in 2015.

The Acer Chromebook 15 has a fifth-generation Intel Celeron chip, a 1080p display (1920×1080 resolution), an 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth LE, plus USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and HDMI ports. The 4.85lb computer has an eight-hour battery life.

Prices for the Acer Chromebook 15 start at $250, with either 16GB or 32GB SSD on-board storage and up to 4GB RAM. No release date has yet been announced, though more information may be forthcoming at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show that starts Monday in Las Vegas.

Source: Wired

Get 1TB Free Google Drive Storage with Every Chromebook Purchase

Google Chromebook has limited on-board storage by design – it’s an entry-level, stripped-down netbook, running the lightweight Chrome operating system, designed to be easy to use, run, and maintain, functioning mainly as a portal to the internet. Google has decided to expand the potential of its laptop by introducing 1TB of Google Drive storage for every new Chromebook purchase between now and 1st January 2015, free for two years.

Although Google has offered similar deals with specific Chromebook models – the high-end Chromebook Pixel offered 1TB cloud storage free for three years – this is the first time they have expanded the offer to all Chromebook models. Google Drive subscriptions usually cost $9.99 a month for the 1TB plan.

Source: Ars Technica

Gartner Believes PC Industry Will Receive Brief Reprieve in 2014

Shipment of PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones will grow 4.2 percent from 2013, reaching 2.4 billion units this year, according to research group Gartner.

It’s a welcome sign for PC OEMs, trying desperately to get consumers and businesses to upgrade their computers, which have a longer lifespan.  For those shopping for new PCs, they will find a number of competitively-priced models that should pique their interest, as the devices should last a minimum of five years.

Even though the PC business is expected to do better than previously, tablets should still outsell PCs in 2015, researchers note.

Here is what Ranjit Atwal, Gartner Research Director, said in a recent statement:

”2014 will be marked by a relative revival of the global PC market.  Business upgrades from Windows XP and the general business replacement cycle will lessen the downward trend, especially in western Europe.  This year, we anticipate nearly 60 million professional PC replacements in mature markets.”

Meanwhile, the tablet market is expected to slow down in 2014 while reaching 256 million units – but is still estimated to reach 320 million units next year, which will be higher than the traditional PC business unit.  However, analysts also believe tablet manufacturers are going to cannibalize their own market, with consumers keeping mobile devices longer – but with growing cost, many owners end up sharing their devices with friends or family.

Thank you to Gartner for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of New Anglia

Wireless Issues In Windows 8.1 PCs Still Persist

It seems not even Windows 8.1 can escape the problem sphere everyone seems to be having lately. According to Softpedia, several users have reported limited or no Wi-Fi connectivity, a bug that previously affected Surface tablet, but now became a widespread issue also targeting PCs and other tablets.

Forums have started filling up with users reporting problems, but it appears that fixes for the problems at hand are yet to be released. Some examples of issues encountered by users can be seen below.

“Two brand new HP notebooks, and two apple computers. Upgraded the bios, rebooted, updated the NIC drivers, (as HP phone helpdesk said to do) upgraded the cisco E4200 router firmware. No matter if pc’s are set to sleep, reboot or powered off, issue happens.

It happens less on the HP notebook, but the wireless setting are the same on the other HP. Issue wasn’t as bad on Windows 8 but after 8.1 it is constantly not connecting without many tried of disconnect, reconnect, reenter the password. The router has been reset a couple times and the cable modem has been reset.”

“I ran into the same issue described in the thread. I use Windows 8.1, Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 (ASUS UX31A) and DLink (DIR-655) wireless router. I think it’s a combination of both Intel and Microsoft issue. None of the configuration tricks work for me (rollback driver, disable 802.11n/Bluetooth/power save, etc.).”

“I feel bad for buying new laptop and especially using windows 8. I have new dell laptop, Wi-Fi was dropping intermittent. I upgraded to windows 8.1 thinking it might fix the issue. Think what, now I can’t connect at all. I am decided to get out of Windows 8.”

Microsoft has apparently acknowledged the problem, but instead suggested only vague workarounds that do not seem to fix the issues on Windows 8.1 tablets or PCs.

Thank you Softpedia for providing us with this information

Asustek and Toshiba To Enter the Chromebook Market with Intel Chips

While Chromebooks are on a roll with Acer and Hewlett-Packard already releasing their models on the market, it’s time for Asustek Computer and Toshiba to take a bite out of the pie and introduce their own Chromebooks with Intel’s Haswell processors next year.

Acer will hurry things up a little and wants to release a 11.6-inch Chromebook C720P this December at a price range of $299 / €220 / £183, while Asustek will launch Chromebooks in 2014 with models composed of 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch screen displays. Asustek’s Chromebook prices are estimated at around $199 / € 146 /£121 and up to $329 / €242 / £200. Toshiba is also expected to release its Chromebooks soon, but it looks like the Japan-based vendor is outsourcing production to Inventec.

The Chromebook shipments are not at all bad, this including the Chromebook Pixel launched by Google, having accounted for less than 5% of total global notebook shipments up to this point. Whether users will see them more useful than a common netbook, it remains to be seen.

Thank you Digi Times for providing us with this information

HP’s new Chromebook Priced At Less Than £200 on Amazon

HP’s latest Chromebook, the Chromebook 11, has had its price cut from £230 to £200 on Amazon. It is interesting indeed, especially for Chromebook fans out there who are looking to acquire such a device.

Whoever missed the announcement and does not know what’s it about, the Chromebook is a netbook for those who just want to browse and send email. It runs Google’s Chrome operating system, a Linux-based operating system designed by Google to work primarily with web applications. The user interface takes a minimalist approach and consists almost entirely of just the Google Chrome web browser since the operating system is aimed at users who spend most of their computer time on the Web, the only “native” applications on Chrome OS are a browser, media player and file manager.

HP’s version has a better screen than the likes of Samsung’s effort in the market. It is only 1366 x 768 pixels with a 11.6-inch display, but has brighter and clearer IPS tech. In terms of specs, it runs on a 1.7GHz mobile processor, 2GB of RAM and just 16GB of storage. But the big idea is that you are supposed to feed all that data on Google’s NSA friendly cloud anyway. The Chromebook is more for interacting with the net.

For those interested in buying such a netbook in the future can go on Amazon’s website for more details on the device and price/availability.

Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Amazon

ASUS VivoBook X102BA Ultra-Thin AMD Notebook Detailed

ASUS have just unveiled their latest ultra thin and portable notebook based on an AMD processor according to information obtained by Sweclockers. The ASUS VivoBook X102BA runs an AMD Jaguar APU, the A4-1200 to be specific. This APU has a pair of 28nm CPU cores based on the Jaguar-Temash design running at 1GHz per core. This is paired up with 4MB total cache and a TDP of just 3.9 watts. Additioanlly this unit runs Radeon HD 8180 graphics, uses 2GB of DDR3 SODIMM RAM and has 320GB of HDD storage in a conventional 2.5 inch mechanical hard drive format.

This ASUS notebook, which is more or less a netbook, will come with Windows 8 (probably 32bit), Office Home and Student 2013. The ASUS VivoBook X102BA is expected to retail for about €330/£290 or about $350.

Image courtesy of Sweclockers

Razer Announces Worlds Thinnest Gaming Laptop

“The Razer Blade is the worlds thinnest gaming laptop”

For Gamers By Gamers

If you’re a gamer you are most likely going to be interested in Razer USA! Razer has announced their newest addition to their family. Today they showed off their new Razer Blade Netbook, a beautiful, and elegant machine designed for gamers on the go. A little over a week ago Razer announced that they would be showing off their newest product, giving us a simple clue. “THINNER THAN A DIME – 30 MAY 2013”. I waited all day for their release, assuming it would be a new laptop, and I was right. Well half right. Today they announced two products, one of which I will tell you about in this article. This newest computer is the thinnest laptop in the world.

 If you’re big on gaming, then you are probably familiar with Razer gaming peripherals, perhaps you are even aware of their gaming tablet and laptops. Keeping up with today’s technology is one of my favorite things to do, and today has been a big day, I awaited Razer to announce their newest addition to the family. They have been advertising for the past couple of weeks that their newest device is going to be thinner than the dimension of a U.S. dime .071 inches.

It baffled me, but I came to the conclusion that the new announcement had to be for one of two different pieces of equipment. The Blade at the time was the thinnest laptop, thinner than any other laptop on the market at .088 inches. The next piece of equipment that is really thin, is Razer’s Edge the first gaming tablet, which is .80 much thicker than the Blade.  Anticipating the announcement I believe that Razer was going to bring us a new laptop, as the sizes seemed to match up. Though I wasn’t thinking that it would be as thin as it is.

The World’s Thinnest Gaming Laptop, with a thickness of only .061 inches, it is thinner than the diameter of a dime. The screen is not a large screen, only measuring in at 14-inches, though it is an HD+ screen designed to bring the user awesome 1600 x 900 resolution! Featuring an NVIDIA GTX 765M GPU, you will be able to play the most current games.

If you are a mobile gamer, than this laptop is most likely what your heart has always desired, portability paired with the latest and greatest technologies available!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mac0a_4C8eE[/youtube]

Price: Starts at $1,799

Availability:
Razerzone.com – Pre-Order June 3
United States and Canada only

Product features:
• Future 4th gen Intel® Core&tradel processor (formerly codename ´Haswell´)
• 8 GB Onboard Memory (DDR3L – 1600 MHz)
• NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 765M (2 GB GDDR5) & Intel HD4600
• Windows® 8 64 Bit
• 128 GB SSD, with optional 256/512 GB SSD (mSATA)
• Qualcomm® Killer NIC N1202 (802.11a/b/g/n + Bluetooth® 4.0)
• 14.0 in. HD+ 16:9 Ratio, 1600 x 900, with LED backlight
• Built-in stereo speakers
• 3.5 mm audio microphone/headphone combo jack
• Array microphone
• (3x) USB 3.0 port (SuperSpeed)
• HDMI 1.4a audio and video output
• Dolby® Home Theater® v4
• 7.1 Codec support (via HDMI)
• Built-in full HD webcam (1.3 MP)
• Compact 150 W Power Adapter
• Built-in 70 Wh Rechargeable lithium ion polymer battery
• Razer Anti-Ghosting Keyboard (with adjustable backlight)
• Razer Synapse 2.0 Enabled
• Kensington Lock
• 13.6 in. / 345 mm (Width) x 0.66 in. / 16.8 mm (Height) x 9.3 in. / 235 mm (Depth)
• 4.135 lbs. / 1.876 kg

Source

Analysts Predict Netbooks’ Death By 2015

The decline of the netbook is a well documented one. Since the rise in popularity of the tablet PC, netbook sales have fallen off a cliff. The year 2010 marked a high point for netbooks and ever since then sales have been plummeting at an alarming rate. This hasn’t gone unnoticed as analysts, IHS iSuppli, predict that shipments of netbooks will be zero by 2015. According to their statistics in 2010 netbooks sold an impressive 32 million units yet this year, 2013, we will see 3.97 million – around 15% of 2010’s figure. What’s more, by 2014 shipments will be down to just 250,000 then by 2015 they will have vanished.

This is quite a sad development for the once popular netbook but the way the market is going doesn’t leave much room for them. Mainstream laptops seem to make up the majority of the 13″-17.9″ market, Ultrabooks are rising  in the 11″-15.6″ market and everything smaller than that is now more or less exclusively occupied by tablets. It may seem a strange connection but the growing power and functionality of modern smartphones is probably also in part to blame for the decline of the netbook – very often people would get a netbook because they didn’t quite need a laptop but didn’t quite have the power or functionality required on their phone. Now tablets and smartphones fill that in between market.

Even though innovation in the tablet market has stagnated you can still pick up at decent netbook for €200 these days if you do some hunting around. In most cases they provide much better value for money than most tablets, Ultrabooks or laptops. Despite this fact, they still look set to die out so the advice is grab one while you can and expect netbooks to have drawn their last breath by 2015.

What are your thoughts on these gloomy netbook predictions?