Belkin F8E550ea review
Virtually every notebook has a locking slot that’s compatible with a variety of security locks, the most common being Kensington locks. In fact, it isn’t just notebooks that have these slots – plenty of other IT equipment including monitors and printers does so too, so it’s wise if you use these to deter thieves from stealing your valuable kit.
You’ll need a suitable place to secure your notebook, though; wrapping the cable around a table leg won’t do. An anchor point is the best solution, but only the Targus Defcon CL comes with one. This makes the £20 price look more reasonable, especially as the bracket is well designed and uses both adhesive and screws.
Like the Trust, it does away with keys, instead preferring a four-digit combination lock. Pushing the button brings the jaws together, allowing you to insert the device into a slot. Releasing it splays the jaws inside the slot to prevent removal. You simply change the combination to your chosen number and then never need worry about losing any keys. Unlike the Kensington locks that don’t need them, the Targus comes with three washers of varying widths to take up any slack that occurs due to differing equipment. We found none gave a perfect fit on our test laptop, but they did prevent us getting any leverage on the lock.
The Trust SC420 is a very similar lock, using a combination rather than keys. However, it has a slightly more robust mechanism than the Targus: it has two prongs that are forced apart by a centre pin when you release the button. The pin prevents the prongs being squeezed together, providing a solid clamp. No anchor point is included, but there are a similar set of spacers to fill any gaps between the lock and equipment. At £13, it’s more affordable than the Targus too.
But it isn’t as good value as the bargain Belkin F8E550ea, which costs just £6. It’s the most basic design here, using a standard padlock to secure the cable and locking piece in place. The locking piece consists of two joined sections, with one end opening in a scissor-like fashion within the laptop to secure it when the other is padlocked shut. When the padlock is unlocked, the mechanism is reversed, and the two sections inside the laptop close together allowing it to pull free. It doesn’t feel as secure as others here, but couldn’t be pulled out using brute force, making it something of a bargain – you could buy a few for less than the price of one Kensington MicroSaver.
In fact, at £22, Kensington’s MicroSaver looks overpriced and also has the disadvantage of keys, which are easy to misplace. However, the twisting bar design proved the most secure out of all the designs here, and there’s no need for any spacers thanks to a rubber surround that takes up any slack. This means there’s no play with which to gain leverage, leading to good security. And if you want to lock two devices, there’s the Twin MicroSaver that costs an extra £11 and has a second lock on the cable. But, it’s only marginally longer than the others, which are all around 1.8m.
Ultimately, though, as all these locks are only deterrents it makes sense to opt for the budget Belkin lock.