Docking station can improve laptop use Help Line

July 20, 1998|By Jim Coates | Jim Coates,KNIGHT RIDDER TRIBUNE

Last week, you told a reader that buying two cheap desktops would be better than buying a single laptop. I respectfully disagree. I have for years used a Compaq laptop with a docking station. With this setup you can use a full-size keyboard and monitor.

While initially it may cost a few dollars more, I think he would be happy to be able to switch physical addresses and still have the same computer. All of his data will be there without having to make backup disks and sync up his info every time he moves locations.

Something about this question struck a real chord with readers. His problem is that he needs a computer at abodes in Pennsylvania and Florida, and you are among a baker's dozen who thought the only way to go was the laptop route. I advised against just getting a laptop because the small screen and the cramped keyboard get to be a real pain in the neck, head, arms and wrists.

But our reader also was worried about cost. I ruled out your otherwise excellent suggestion because docking station laptops tend to cost more than $3,000, and he still would need a monitor, a keyboard and a mouse at both locations.

Nonetheless, docking station notebooks like the Compaq you describe - or the excellent Toshiba 320CT - are superb solutions if you're well-heeled.

Moving the same computer from monitor to monitor is a far more elegant solution than moving a human being from computer to computer and expecting that poor soul to keep track of all the changes being made from one machine to the next.

Pub Date: 7/20/98

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