Back to the ViBook+, with the latest driver it worked flawlessly first time around on XP, Vista and Windows 7. Best of all, it does everything it says on the tin, including Full HD 1,080p video playback without a hint of stutter! This is especially impressive as it’s something no other DisplayLink device we’ve looked at has yet managed, and really shows off the potential of the technology.
One down-side here is that you need a processor that can cope, with VillageTronic recommending a 1.8GHz CPU as minimum. Indeed we tried this feature on a Dual Core 1.3GHz Intel CULV-based laptop and the experience was quite simply a juddery mess. Still, it’s great news for those with adequate computational power but no digital video output, as the ViBook+ will quite happily output to your Full HD TV with a simple DVI to HDMI adapter. Just keep in mind that it can’t handle HDCP, so if you went for the Blu-ray option on that Sony VAIO-VGN-NS30E-S you’re still out of luck.
Overall then, the ViBook+ is attractive, well-made, eminently portable and very easy to use, giving computers that lack it a digital video output and allowing ones with only a single connector to run a second display – all backed up by a generous three-year warranty. However, at £116 its high price point does limit its appeal, especially since it’s hardly the only DisplayLink product out there. Toshiba’s Dynadock U10, for example, gives you Ethernet, a 6-port USB hub, VGA and DVI video outputs as well as audio connections over a single USB cable for around the same money. Of course, though fine for everyday tasks it doesn’t handle HD video very well, is far bulkier and requires an external power source, so it’s a matter of horses for courses.
VillageTronic’s excellent ViBook+ really shows off the potential of DisplayLink technology, but on a product that already has niche appeal its high price unfortunately precludes it from the recommended award it would otherwise receive.