Five useful laptop accessories spotted at CES 2012

CES isn’t just a parade of giant TVs, razor-thin laptops, or variations of tablets. Accessories for your laptop and other useful peripherals are also making their debut at the electronics show. Here are a few of the most interesting yet useful ones you may be able to get your hands on soon.

Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock ($299)

Few Thunderbolt accessories are yet on the market (or many computers using the technology, for that matter), but that might change soon as more manufacturers besides Apple start adopting Thunderbolt (in Ultrabooks, for example). 

This Belkin Thunderbolt dock is coming in September with a number of ports: two Thunderbolt, three USB 2.0, one Firewire, one HDMI, one 3.5mm audio, and Gigabit Ethernet.

Logitech Cube ($69.99)

The Logitech Cube is a tiny rectangle mouse that doubles as a wireless presentation controller. The palm-sized mouse automatically switches from mouse to presentation mode when you lift it. 

Not only that: The surface of the mobile mouse is a touch-sensitive scroll pad. Want one of these babies? Logitech is taking preorders now.

Penclic Mouse ($80 wired, $90 wireless)

The Penclic is a mouse that looks and feels like a pen, designed to be more ergonomic than traditional mice and also more precise and responsive when clicking and moving around. 

Although it is not solely designed for laptop users, anyone who works on a laptop much could use a better mouse instead of the default trackpad.

Powerbag (from $139.99)

We got a peek at the Powerbag during the CES 2012 Gadget Preview in November, and this line of bags with portable charging stations built in still look good. 
A variety of designs are available, including backpacks, messenger bags, and briefcases, each with a battery inside and plenty of pockets with USB connectors for your gear. Powerbag says its bags can charge the average smartphone two to four times before the charger’s battery needs to be recharged. Bags also come with a battery meter to help you monitor status. The Powerbag backpack costs $140; a carry-on costs $250. They’ll help you keep those battery-hungry devices well fed. 

Toshiba dynadock U3.0 ($179.99)

Here’s another dock for you, coming later this month. Toshiba’s updated dynadock U3.0 helps clear all the cable clutter and inconvenience of plugging and replugging wires that comes with owning an external storage drive, printers, scanner, multiple monitor, and/or other peripherals. 

The universal docking station comes with two USB 2.0 ports and four USB 3.0 ports, and the two on the front can charge your smartphone or MP3 player even when your computer isn’t on. You can also connect two external HD displays (via HDMI and DVI/VGA ports) for full high-def multitasking. Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, and 3.5mm audio ports also keep you connected.

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