by Allison Johnson
Oh, the places your netbook will go. An ultra-portable computer can turn even an airline tray table into an office, but what good is a tiny computer with oversized accessories? Notebook manufacturers are rolling out smaller accessories to match undersized computers, and Targus is offering some one-stop shopping with their new Netbook Accessory Kit. They’ve bundled a mouse, USB port, and sleeve in one small package. Sounds like a good deal, but how do the smaller accessories measure up?
The Targus netbook accessory kit includes the following:
- Wired USB Mini-Mouse with travel pouch
- Slipskin Peel Mini-Notebook case, fits up to 10.2 inch netbook (exterior 11.25 x 1.5 x 8.75 inches)
- Ultra-Mini USB 2.0 4-Port Hub
The optical mini-mouse isn’t a new offering from Targus, but they’ve smartly pitched it to netbook users. It’s a miniature version of your garden-variety desktop mouse, complete with a tiny scroll wheel, and uses a wired connection to a USB port. The accessory kit also includes a small drawstring pouch for the mini-mouse. It feels cheaply made, and ours is indeed starting to pull apart at the seams.
Ergonomically, the mouse is surprisingly comfortable to use for people with smaller hands. Two slight curves on either side make it easy to hold between the thumb and ring finger with a finger each on the left and right buttons. The cord connecting the mouse to the USB port is retractable, and it extends to over a foot and a half in length. After a couple of minutes, using the mini-mouse felt almost natural. The glide pads on the underside aren’t as smooth as my desktop mouse, and I wouldn’t recommend for all-day use, but it beats using the super-small trackpad on board most netbooks.
Most netbooks sport only two or three USB ports, and with a mouse plugged into one of them at all times, USB connectivity is even scarcer. Enter the Targus Ultra-Mini USB hub, adding four standard sized ports to a USB-starved computer (three, technically, counting that it plugs into a port itself). The device itself is roughly the size of a lighter and weighs about the same. A USB connector unsnaps from the back of the device and hooks into a netbook (or notebook) through one of the computer’s existing USB ports. The hub functioned as expected, taking up a relatively small amount of space on my desk. Though my day-to-day work doesn’t require the use of many USB ports, I would still consider this a nice little device to throw in my laptop bag and keep on hand.
The Slipskin netbook sleeve completes the package, providing an extra layer of protection between your netbook and, well, everything else. It accommodates up to a 10.2 inch notebook, so it was a perfect fit for the Lenovo IdeaPad S10 we used to test it out. The S10 packs a bulky 6-cell battery on the back end, but still fit easily in the sleeve. The slightly smaller 10-inch Kensington sleeve proved too tiny for our S10, so netbook users, beware. Check the sleeve specs carefully before picking an accessory kit. The Targus neoprene sleeve feels thick enough to protect a netbook from minor scrapes and scratches and doesn’t add too much bulk. Of all the goodies in this kit, the sleeve feels like the highest-quality item.
The Targus Netbook Accessory Kit is a nice package for a netbook user, but not a must-have. If you’re already shopping around for a netbook sleeve and tired of the microscopic trackpad on your netbook, then the Targus kit is worth considering. And for some comparison shopping, stay tuned for our review of the newly-announced Kensington Netbook Essentials kit.
- Sleeve is durable, roomy for larger netbooks
- Space-saving mouse is fairly comfortable
- USB hub is easily stored, functions adequately
- Cheap-looking mouse storage pouch
- Mouse doesn’t glide very smoothly on desk surface
Pricing and availability
The Targus Netbook Accessory Kit is available only through their website at this time for $39.99.