Learn to play your cards right

Five of the best - CD cards

For owners of portable PCs, the tiny yet powerful PC Card allows the laptop computer to carry out an extraordinary variety of tasks. It looks like a rather plump credit card, and it simply plugs into a slot in any modern laptop or notebook computer.

PC Cards are like attachments on a food processor. The most popular is a modem, and lets you connect your notebook computer via the telephone network into online systems and the Internet. The network interface card (NIC), the next best-selling card, enables the mobile user to plug into the office e-mail and printers. But cards have dozens of other uses, from adding multimedia ability to upgrading a hard disk.

In its June issue, PC Magazine reviews 33 PC Cards. The cards have been judged on features, performance and, most importantly, value for money. The recommended modem is the excellent Portable Add-Ons Euromodem at pounds 259. Designed specifically for travel abroad and connection to foreign telephone systems, it is approved for use in countries in Europe, North America and the Far East. It will operate up to V.34 28.8Kbs - the fastest speed available.

The recommended NIC PC Card, the Ethernet+, again comes from Portable Add-Ons. It performs just as well as other cards, is easily installed and, at pounds 115, is the best value.

Only the latest and most fully featured portable PCs incorporate a CD- Rom drive. But you can add one with a PC Card. Our choice is the CTX TXCom Master which, at pounds 189, is more than pounds 100 cheaper than other similar models. The drive is a double-speed model and draws current directly from the portable PC's battery. This makes it truly mobile, unlike some other CD- Rom drives that require an additional power source.

If your hard disk starts filling up, then a PC Card hard disk is much easier to install than a replacement drive. We recommend the Viper 260 from Impact Peripherals. This packs in 260Mb of disk storage (bigger than many older notebook hard drives) yet produces a performance almost as good as the best desktop PC hard disk. It's good value at pounds 299.

Although no equivalent device was submitted for the review - making comparison impossible - we were impressed by the Trimble Mobile GPS card. This PC Card uses the US Defence Department satellite-based Global Positioning System and, with the aid of small external antennae, allows mobile users to establish their position within a few metres. Coupled to separately purchased route planning or moving map programs, this PC Card - at pounds 562 - could become a vital tool for the lost courier or salesman.

For further information, contact:

Portable Add-Ons 01483 241333

CTX 01923 818461

Impact Peripherals 01483 797200

Trimble (Peak Developments) 01962 713906

All prices quoted are exclusive of VAT. The 'PC Magazine'-recommended products are based on objective benchmarks developed by Ziff-Davis Labs. These independent benchmarks incorporate real-life computing tasks and are accepted as worldwide industry standards for measuring hardware performance.

NICK EDMUNDS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    The Grange Retirement Home: Full Time Care Team Manager

    £22,400: The Grange Retirement Home: This is a key role which requires a sound...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

    £30 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software / Web Developer (PHP / MYSQL) i...

    Guru Careers: Account Executive

    £18 - 20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Executive is needed to join one...

    Day In a Page

    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
    The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

    The ZX Spectrum is back

    The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
    Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

    Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

    The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

    If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
    The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

    The quirks of work perks

    From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
    Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

    Is bridge becoming hip?

    The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
    Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

    The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

    Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
    The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

    The rise of Lego Clubs

    How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
    5 best running glasses

    On your marks: 5 best running glasses

    Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
    Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
    Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

    Please save my husband

    As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada