Sunday, November 27, 2005

Laptop accessories review

Lots of laptops come “bundled” with extra features and accessories, but don’t be put off if your favoured accessory isn’t included – many of these extra components can be found in eBay’s Laptop Accessories category.

Removable Media
Most new laptops have slots for removal media storage devices such as CompactFlash cards, Microdrives, Secure Digital cards and Memory Sticks. They’re an easy way to transfer data to and from a desktop or gadgets like cameras, camcorders and PDAs, but they should not be used for permanent storage – CDs and DVDs are more suitable.
More info:, Amazon

Docking Station
If you’re using your laptop as desktop replacement, then a docking (dock or port replicator) can help you manage your peripherals such as a standard keyboard, mouse, monitor and printer. The docking station connects to all the peripherals, and the laptop connects to the docking station rather than the individual peripherals. The docking station also stays plugged in and powers your laptop so you conserve battery power.More info:, Amazon

Wireless networking gives you true portability, because you can access the Internet wherever there’s a signal – in your home or at a “Wi-Fi hotspot”, for example in a Wi-Fi enabled café.More info:, Amazon

To go online wirelessly, look out for new laptops that have Centrino – Intel's mobile processor technology with built-in Wi-Fi capability. These include new models of the Dell Latitude, Sony Vaio, Acer Aspire, Toshiba Tecra, IMB Thinkpad and Toshiba Portege. Alternatively, get a laptop with built-in Ethernet support, a PCMCIA network interface card and/or wireless support (the latest wireless standard is 802.11g; many laptops have the older 802.11b standard).

If none of this technology is built into your laptop, don’t worry. Go to eBay’s Laptop Accessories category, buy an Ethernet or Wi-Fi card and turn your laptop into a Wi-Fi computer.

For more information on wireless networking, visit eBay's Networking Buying Guide.

Some laptops support a short-range wireless technology called Bluetooth. If you have a Bluetooth-enabled PDA or mobile phone, you may want a laptop that can access your other gadgets wirelessly.More info:, Amazon

Many laptops come pre-loaded with a full operating system such as Windows XP and other software such as an internet browser (usually Microsoft Internet Explorer) and an email client such as Microsoft Outlook. Many laptops are sold pre-installed with trial versions of anti-virus software from major brands like McAfee or Symantec.More info:, Amazon

Extra Battery
Most laptops use Lithium Ion batteries with a life of 2-5 hours, depending on the number of applications you’re running on your laptop. Most laptop batteries take around 75 minutes to recharge fully, so it’s worth buying a spare battery if you intend to be out and about with your laptop.More info:, Amazon

Graphics card
If you plan to do lots of presentation work, video editing or gaming on your laptop, invest in a good graphics card with 32MB or 64MB of dedicated memory.More info:, Amazon

Cable lock
Most laptops have a security slot, but not all of them come with a lock. Look for listings in eBay’s Laptops category that mention a cable lock, or buy one separately from the Laptop Accessories category.More info:, Amazon

Carrying case
You’ll find new laptop carrying cases and special laptop backpacks on eBay at bargain prices. Essential for carrying and protecting your laptop while on the move.More info:, Amazon

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