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This universal docking station is just the ticket for notebooks and Windows 8 tablets that don't have dedicated docking ports. If youa€™ve fallen hard for a superthin notebook, youa€™re probably running into the same issues I am.
If youa€™re getting by with just a tablet, youa€™re probably having even more connectivity issues than I am, especially when it comes to driving an external display.
Robert CardinOpen the top of the Targus dock to find the right power tip for your notebook.
I set the back of the computer on top of the dock, and its wedge shape lifts the computer off the surface of my desk, increasing airflow around it and keeping it cooler.
I then repeated these steps in the other direction, copying them from the notebook's SSD to the portable hard drive (a write test). Two of the docka€™s USB ports provide extra power to charge battery-powered devices, whether the computer is docked or not.
The dock is equipped with DisplayLink technology, so it can drive two outboard displays (therea€™s one DVI and one HDMI, but Targus provides DVI-to-HDMI and DVI-to-VGA adapters in the box). The a€?with powera€? element of the model name describes the docka€™s ability to provide electrical power to a 19.5-volt DC laptop or Windows 8 tablet using a proprietary stub cable. Finally, the docka€™s power supply currently doesna€™t support 12-volt DC devices, such as some slates and tablets. Having the dock power the notebook means that I can leave the notebooka€™s power supply in my bag, so I dona€™t have to remember to unplug and pack it every time I go on the road. PCWorld helps you navigate the PC ecosystem to find the products you want and the advice you need to get the job done.
A great choice for business travelers, the ThinkPad X260 pairs a fantastic keyboard and lightweight body with over 17 hours of battery life. In their quest to build ever-thinner laptops, manufacturers sometimes put battery life or keyboard quality on the back burner. The HP Spectre x360 13t is a gorgeous 2-in-1 with strong performance, a vibrant touch screen and very good battery life. Architects and artists may argue about whether form follows function, but the HP Spectre x360 13t has both.
Mine has a beautiful display and great battery life, but it has just two USB portsa€”only one of which is USB 3.0a€”and it doesna€™t have a hardwired ethernet port.
A rubber strip running across the 10.63-inch width of the dock prevents the computer from sliding off. Other ports on the dock include gigabit ethernet (solving my USB-to-ethernet dongle problem), and audio in and out (so I dona€™t have to unplug my headphones every time I take my laptop into a meeting). Resolution tops out at an odd 2049 by 1152 pixels per display, but ita€™s more than adequate to drive two 24-inch displays at 1920 by 1200 (or 1920 by 1080) pixels each. Targus provides ten different tips for this cable, conveniently stashed in a cubby inside the dock, to meet the needs of common brands. I was surprised to discover that Targus doesna€™t provide a tip for current-generation Lenovo notebooks, but Targus will provide buyers with whatever tip they need after the sale (the company says it periodically adjusts the collection of tips that it ships with the dock, and that the new Lenovo tips will be included soon). If you can't use or just don't need the power feature, the Targus model ACP70USZ dock includes everything else, and it costs $50 less (based on MSRP). I can live without DisplayPort, since I dona€™t need to drive more than two external displays. Lenovo's 12.5-inch ThinkPad X260 isn't the slimmest system on the block, but this lightweight business workhorse provides a near-perfect balance between portability and productivity. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. This 2-in-1 ($899 starting, $1,520 as tested) has a beautiful metallic design that looks good whether it's in laptop, tablet, tent or stand mode. The transceiver for my wireless mouse and keyboard occupies one port, and a USB-to-ethernet dongle consumes the other. Targus uses an in-line power brick, so therea€™s no wall wart to hog space on your outlet strip. And I saw no decrease in performance when I added a second USB 3.0 hard drive and performed the same tests with it at the same time.
Targus tells me the dock can support even more monitors if you plug additional DisplayLink adapters into its USB 3.0 ports (the docka€™s software supports a maximum of six external displays when connected to a PC running Windows). Although the dock supports Mac OS X, Targus cana€™t provide tips for MacBooks because Apple wona€™t license its MagSafe power connector.
Add in strong performance, above-average battery life and powerful speakers, and you have one of the best 13-inch convertible laptops on the market.article continued below Design With its rounded edges, minimalist branding and optional copper-colored sides and hinges, the new Spectre x360 13t screams luxury. Lenovo says that the laptop passed MIL-SPEC 810G durability tests for extreme temperatures, shocks and vibrations. The words "Hewlett-Packard" are emblazoned in copper coloring instead of "HP," and this same logo can be found on the back hinge.

The sides and hinges are the same shiny copper color, providing some nice contrast to the dark lid. Some models are only available in a standard silver, and the color options depend on the price (see below).
Lenovo's laptop makes room for two batteries: one internal and a second removable unit that can have either three or six cells.
Display The ThinkPad X260 comes with a choice of three different screen options: a plain 1366 x 768 display, a 1366 x 768 display with IPS for better brightness and color, or a 1920 x 1080 panel with IPS. Our review unit had the entry-level screen, which displayed dull, washed-out images without a lot of detail or screen real estate. When I watched a trailer for Captain America: Civil War, Cap's blue suit and Iron Man's red armor both looked like they'd been soaked in bleach.
Because of the Spectre's 360-degree hinge, it can be used in a variety of modes, including a regular laptop, a tablet (with the keyboard folded all the way back), a display (resting on the keyboard with the screen facing the user) and a tent (folded into an upside-down "V"). Keyboard and Touchpad With just 1.49 mm of key travel, the Spectre x360 13t's keys fall a bit flat. However, the matte panel seemed more than luminous enough while I was using it, and it provided wide viewing angles, with colors fading only slightly at 90 degrees to the left and right. When typing, I bottomed out quite often, though the reliable 60 grams of force required to press the keys prevented them from feeling mushy or uncomfortable. In the video, fine details such as the wrinkles in Robert Downey Jr.'s forehead weren't as sharp as on higher-resolution laptops we've tested. More importantly for productivity workers, having only 768 pixels of vertical screen real estate means you can see about 30 percent less content above the fold than on a 1080p screen. Forget about stacking windows side-by-side, as this screen has only 1366 pixels of horizontal space. Audio The ThinkPad X260's bottom-facing speakers provide audio output that's mostly accurate, if not overly rich.
It recognized Windows 10 gestures without a hitch, and I had no trouble swiping between programs, flicking to my desktop and scrolling through Web pages. When I played Deep Purple's guitar-heavy "Smoke on the Water" and Chic's bass-centric "Dance, Dance, Dance," the percussion was a little tinny but vocals and other instruments were clear, though a little flat. Display The Spectre x360's 13-inch, 2560 x 1440 display produces detailed, bright images with highly accurate colors. At maximum volume, sound was loud enough to fill a medium-size living room, but putting the system on my lap muffled the audio a bit. When I watched the latest trailer for Captain America: Civil War on this notebook, I noticed a lot of detail on the character's faces, like the deep wrinkles on General Ross' face. Iron Man's red suit looked accurate, but Captain America's blue duds seemed a little darker than they should have been.
The program offers presets for music, movies, voice calls and games, but I found the Dynamic profile, which adjusts automatically, provided the best results. Keyboard, TrackPoint and Touchpad The ThinkPad X260's spill-resistant keyboard is comfortable, with snappy, well-spaced keys whose smile-shaped curves make them easy to target by feel.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 was the brightest of the group at 382 nits, while the Lenovo Yoga 900 was the most dim at 284 nits. HP's 2-in-1 covers an excellent 110.8 percent of the sRGB color gamut, which would explain its vibrant tones. Like other ThinkPads, the X260 offers two different navigation tools: a buttonless touchpad and a TrackPoint pointing stick. The Spectre's fairly precise display registered a Delta-E color accuracy score of 0.97 (the closer to zero, the better). In my tests, I found the pad quite precise and blissfully free of the jumpiness I sometimes experience on buttonless units.
Audio I sat back, relaxed and listened to Major Lazer and DJ Snake's "Lean On" play loud and clear from the Bang & Olufsen speakers.
It responded quickly and accurately to pinch-to-zoom and two-finger scroll gestures and three- and four-finger clicks to open Cortana or the Windows Action Center.
The vocals, rhythmic clapping and synthesized melodies were all rich and powerful, no matter whether I used the Spectre as a laptop, stand, display or tent. Perhaps because the pad is a bit small, its driver application doesn't support three-finger or four-finger swipe (for minimizing apps).
Ports and Webcam The ThinkPad X260 packs in almost all the ports a productivity user needs today, but we wish it had USB Type-C to future-proof it for tomorrow's peripherals and docks. The left side houses HDMI out, a mini DisplayPort, two USB 3.0 ports and an optional SmartCard reader.
I didn't experience any slowdown when I browsed the Web in Google Chrome with 13 tabs open, one of which was streaming 1080p video from YouTube. The left side contains an Ethernet port, an SD card reader, an audio jack and a third USB 3.0 port.
Under the overhead lights of our office, my features were clear but not particularly sharp.
HP's 2-in-1 took just 4 minutes and 2 seconds to complete our spreadsheet macro test, where we pair 20,000 names with their addresses in OpenOffice Calc.
When I shot in my nearly pitch-black living room, the camera was able to capture a dark and noisy image, but at least my face was visible. However, the Lenovo Yoga 900 was slightly faster, and the Surface Pro 4 blew past them both at more than 300 MBps.

Security Features The ThinkPad X260 has the all the security and manageability features that corporate IT departments require. The integrated Intel HD Graphics 520 GPU isn't enough to handle intensive video games like Far Cry Primal or Tom Clancy's The Division. It comes standard with TPM encryption and, if you configure it with a Core i5-6300U CPU or better, it has Intel vPro for remote management. With its 3DMark score of 62,054, you will have to settle for Words with Friends, Candy Crush and perhaps some World of Warcraft, but that's the best you'll get. An optional fingerprint reader ($20) allows for biometric logins, but unfortunately, it's the kind that requires you to swipe your digits rather than using a simple press.
Ports and Webcam The Spectre x360 has a healthy helping of ports for peripherals and external monitors.
Lenovo's laptop handled everything we threw at it with aplomb, not slowing down at all even when I had more than a dozen active Chrome tabs open and a 1080p video playing in another window.
The webcam delivered a grainy photo without much detail -- my hair and beard both appeared as blobs without much definition, though it did capture my dimple and the various shades of gray in my sweater. On Geekbench 3, a synthetic benchmark that measures overall performance, the X260 scored a strong 6,424, which is comfortably ahead of the ultraportable notebook category average, the AMD A8-powered HP EliteBook G3 and Core i5-6200U-powered Toshiba A30t. However, the Dell Latitude E7270, which we tested with a Core i7-6600U processor, scored an even-stronger 7,544. Battery Life The HP Spectre x360 lasted an impressive 8 hours and 26 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves continuous Web browsing over Wi-Fi at 100 nits of brightness.
Lenovo's laptop had no problem crunching numbers, as it took just 4 minutes and 12 seconds to complete our spreadsheet macro test, in which we match 20,000 names with their addresses.
That's a tad longer than the ultraportable category average of 8:09, and should be enough for you to keep your laptop unplugged most of the day. After streaming 15 minutes of HD video, its touchpad reached 94 degrees, just 1 degree under our maximum comfort threshold of 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The G&H keys broke that threshold at 99 degrees, while the underside of the laptop hit a toasty 111 degrees.
Software and Warranty The Spectre x360 comes with all of the most common Windows 10 bloatware, including Candy Crush Soda Saga, Flipboard and Twitter, as well as Netflix, Snapfish and CyberLink YouCam 6. While we wouldn't recommend gaming on the ThinkPad X260, Lenovo's laptop and its integrated Intel HD 520 GPU are more than adequate for mainstream productivity work or video viewing. The more helpful apps are HP's own -- HP Recovery Manager will help you restore your data after a crash, while HP Documentation is a quick link to your device's instruction manual, should you ever need to reference it.
On 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited, a synthetic graphics benchmark, the X260 (59,489) outpaced the Toshiba Portege A30t (53,939) and HP EliteBook 745 G3 (44,377) as well as the category average (46,031), while falling a little short of the Latitude E7270 (74,468). HP offers a one-year limited warranty with the computer, but you can upgrade to cover damage outside of the warranty.
Battery Life The ThinkPad X260 offers truly epic battery life, provided you opt for the six-cell, 72-watt-hour extended battery. With a larger battery on board, Lenovo's laptop lasted a full 17 hours and 14 minutes on the Laptop Battery Test, which involves continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi at 100 nits of brightness. Even Lenovo's own ThinkPad T460 (13:12), which uses the same batteries, lasted 4 hours less. Using a system the company calls PowerBridge, the X260 has an internal three-cell battery in addition to its removable unit, so the laptop can remain on (potentially for hours), even while its rear unit is out. This version comes in silver -- the black-and-gold combination doesn't come into play until you reach the $1,149.99 price.
Software and Warranty Lenovo ships the ThinkPad X260 with a handful of useful utilities and a minimal amount of bloatware.
Lenovo Companion performs hardware and software scans to keep your laptop running smoothly, while Lenovo Settings gives you fine control over the camera, touchpad, wireless radio and other components.
Unfortunately, like most Windows 10 laptops, it also comes with some unnecessary apps like Candy Crush Soda Saga, Flipboard and a tile that links to the Windows Store page for Adobe Photoshop Express. Its sexy chassis (especially in black and gold), accurate screen, powerful audio and strong performance make it an Editors' Choice pick.
The X260 comes with a standard one-year "depot" warranty on parts and labor, which includes free shipping if you need to send your laptop in for service. You can also pay between $39 and $579 extra to extend the term up to five years or add on-site service and accidental-damage protection.
The Lenovo Yoga 900 is another great 2-in-1 with a higher-res screen than the HP, a comfier keyboard and a lower price (when similarly configured), but the Spectre's longer battery life and lighter weight make it a compelling choice.
If you want a true 2-in-1 that doubles as a laptop and tablet, it's hard to do better than the Spectre x360. For the best experience, we strongly recommend purchasing the X260 with the 1920 x 1080 display, a $150 option and the high-capacity battery, which adds only $15 to the price. Bottom Line The ThinkPad X260 is a fantastic choice for people who need to be productive on the go, because it's an ideal size for small tables (or your lap), but provides epic battery life, a comfortable keyboard and strong mainstream performance. If you want a slightly better typing experience or larger display, consider the ThinkPad T460, which is a bit bulkier but offers similar features and more than 13 hours of endurance. However, if you need a laptop that provides the best mix between portability and usability, the X260 should be at the top of your list.

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