Lapstation and Samsung MP3 Player
Portable Personal Products Provide Pleasure
By Jim Bray
Notebook computer users tired of the lap-balancing act have a new ally.
Intrigos Lapstation looks like a little tray on which youd
serve breakfast in bed, but with a few extras that make it work well for
the businessperson on the move.
It really isnt much more than a few pieces of hinged plastic with
pouches and pads tacked on, which makes it more of a marketing idea than
a technological achievement. Still, its a pretty neat idea that
allows me to sit on my family room floor, listening to some of my favorite
tunes as I write this.
I can think of worse fates
The Lapstations hinges double as handles and you have to squeeze
them to unfold the unit. This prevents it from opening on its own or,
worse, folding up on its own while youre using it. Once youve
opened the plastic panels youre presented with a firm, flat work
area. You can even adjust the width and height, somewhat, for different
sized laps and paunches.
A couple of wrist rests are mounted where you need them, unless youre
using a combination notebook/docking station. Thats my situation,
and it makes the PC sit a mite too high. You cant blame the Lapstation
for that, though; once I undocked the PC it sat at a virtually perfect
I just couldnt access the home network
The units side flaps/legs contain a pair of pouches that double
as desk drawers without the desk. Theyre big enough
to hold pens and other small stuff, which can be quite handy.
Intrigo actually sells three models of Lapstation, ranging in price from
$69 to $139 dollars. The differences appear mostly cosmetic and warranty-related,
The downside to the Lapstation (besides the price) is that, despite how
small it can fold up, its still too big to pack in most carry-on
luggage. It should fit fine into your suitcase, however, assuming you
have room after all your other stuff is stuffed into it.
Intrigo has figured that out, though. Not only do they sell a $40 carrying
bag, theyre also introducing a new, smaller and lighter Lapstation
Pro ($80) that may fit into a notebooks carrying case.
A couple of accessories could make Lapstation life even more pleasant.
The $15 PagePod holds your papers up for you, and the $35 Lumanite is
a tiny, flexible cordless lamp you can use to illuminate your keyboard
or your papers.
The Lapstation seems a tad pricey, but I can see how it could make life
on the road a little more pleasant.
Speaking of being on the road, Samsung has a nifty little line of MP3
players that are small enough to take nearly anywhere. Called Yepp (yep,
thats right), they range in price from $149 to $249.
Ive been playing with the $249 YP-NEU64B, and its a pleasant
little unit that pumps out pretty decent sound. It comes equipped with
64 Megabytes of RAM memory built in (the lower priced units only have
32 Meg) as well as a slot into which you can insert a Smart Media memory
card to give you even more playing time.
Thanks to the small size of MP3 files, that built-in 64 Meg should yield
about 64 minutes of sound at the highest (128 Kbps kilobytes per
second) setting, and up to 256 minutes at the lowest (32 Kbps). You sacrifice
sound quality for increased playback time, however, so keep that in mind
when buying any MP3 player.
Getting the music into the Yepp, besides sticking in the optional memory
card, is done via a USB connector that hooks into your computer. From
there you can either burn tracks from your favorite CDs, your own
MP3 collection, or files downloaded from the Internet. Samsung throws
in a CD-ROM with RealJukebox to help you manage music.
Samsung says the units 2 AAA batteries should be good
for at least 10 hours of tunes. I wish it also came with an AC adapter,
however, so you dont drain the batteries while stuffing the Yepp
The unit is so small there isnt a lot of room for buttons and stuff,
so Samsung uses a little wired remote control you can also keep in your
All in all, the Yepp is a pleasant and pleasant-sounding little music
machine that works well.
Jim Bray's technology columns are distributed by the TechnoFILE and Mochila Syndicates. Copyright Jim Bray.