Applica, Buddy Make Two PCs out of One

SAN FRANCISCO (03/21/2000) - Wish you had a second PC for your home or office but don't want to spend a lot of money? The Applica Inc. Multimedia and Vega Technologies Inc.'s Buddy B-210A offer users on tight budgets the next best thing to another desktop system. Both products allow you to connect a second monitor, keyboard, and mouse to your existing Windows 95 or 98 PC so two users can share applications, files, printers, a modem, and a single Internet connection.

The $249 Applica Multimedia and the $169 Buddy use the same core technology (Vega licenses it from Applica), but they have slightly different features.

Both come with add-in PCI cards, which provide graphics support and connections. Applica's package also includes a sound chip for shared system audio. To install the Applica, you plug a microphone and a second monitor, mouse, keyboard, and speaker set directly into the back of the card. (A 25-foot extender cable is available from the vendor for an additional $30). With the Buddy, you plug one end of the included 50-foot Category 5 network cable into the card and the other end into a small "Buddy" box, which also accepts connections from the second monitor, keyboard, and mouse. The product does not support sound, though.

Recommended RAM

Applica advises you to use at least a Pentium II-300 system with the Multimedia; Vega says the Buddy will work with a Pentium-133 PC. Both vendors' RAM recommendations vary depending on the operating system you use. I tested both on a PII-333-based system equipped with 96MB of RAM. Installation was a breeze; I had each product up and running in about 15 minutes. After installing the drivers and support software, I created a second user profile in Windows (a simple process that requires filling in a pop-up menu at start-up). I could then access all the applications on the main system. To use my browser, I simply changed a setting so that it connected to the Internet via a LAN instead of dialing my ISP.

Even after you factor in the cost of the extra hardware, both the Applica Multimedia and the Buddy B-210A deliver a second PC at minimal cost, and without forcing you to manage the chore of setting up a new operating system and applications. As its audio support suggests, Applica's entry is focused at gamers. And by the time you read this, Applica expects to ship a new version with enhanced graphics and sound--for $50 less. For small business, however, the Buddy's lower price, long connection cable, and easy setup make it a better choice.

My Buddy: The B-210A uses standard network cabling and a small "Buddy" box to support connections up to 50 feet away.

Sound decision: Applica Multimedia supports sound and connects equipment up to 25 feet away from the main PC.

Applica Multimedia

Pro: Provides audio support.

Con: Extender cables cost extra ($30 for a 25-foot length).

Value: Great choice for gamers.

Street price: $249

Applica

800/487-2243

www.applica.com

Product Info No. 668

Buddy B-210A

Pro: Easy connection at distances up to 50 feet from main PC.

Con: No audio support.

Value: Better fit than the Applica for small businesses.

Street price: $169

Vega Technologies

888/654-5415

www.vegatechnologies.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

More about ApplicaCore Technology

Show Comments