It’s the age old problem: laptops get hot, and heat is bad for them. To top things off, portable computers aren’t exactly ergonomic when lying on a flat desk. What to do? Adding an adjustable height cooling platform is the easy solution; so today we’re going to take a look at one of the newest from LapWorks: the Attaché Laptop Stand.
Composed of a high density ABS plastic base with a concave aluminum face plate, which also acts as a heat sink, the Attaché measures approximately 12.75″ wide x 11.75″ tall x 1.6″ thick when in its most compact position. Included with the stand is a 24″ miniUSB to USB cable, which will be used to not only drive the two built-in cooling fans but also to power the four built-in USB 2.0 ports.
• Rated Voltage: 5V DC
• Power Current: 0.18 A
• Rated Consumption: 0.9 W
• Fan Speed: 2200 +/- 10% RPM
• Fan Airflow: 20 CFM
• Noise Level: < 23 dBA
The Attaché has a nearly 13″ wide base which I tested with Sarah’s 17″ Toshiba X205 and my 15″ MacBook pro; it held both securely.
Built into the bottom of the stand are two 1″ long retaining feet with attached pads, which flip up to catch and protect the bottom edge of the laptop; my only complaint regarding this stand has to do with these feet, and I will cover it a little bit later.
Setting up the Attaché is done by flipping it over and pushing in the large plastic button built into the right side…
The stand’s support arm has four different levels: one of which offers comfortable a comfortable elevation for using the laptop’s keyboard, and three which become progressively higher for those who wish to raise their laptop’s screen to eye level while using a separate keyboard.
When it is clicked into the first position, the support arm raises the rear of the laptop about 3″, which is perfect for slightly inclined typing on the laptop’s keyboard; this is how I most prefer to use my laptop and stand combination.
In its three highest positions, the support arm will raise the rear of the laptop up to 4.5″, 6.25″ or 7.6″.
Built into the middle of the stand are two 2.75″ fans which are covered by an aluminum screen on the front…
…and black ABS plastic bars on the back; the idea being that air is sucked in from the bottom of the stand and forced through the fans to the top of the stand, or bottom of the laptop as it is resting on the combination heat-sink and stand.
The left side of the Attaché has a USB port, a miniUSB port (for attaching the included cable), what looks like a DC power port (but there is no documentation saying that it is one, nor is ordering an AC charger an option on the LapWorks site), an on / off switch, and an LED which glows blue when the stand is powered via USB.
On the back, there are are three more USB power ports. Let’s take just a moment and revel in the beauty of this trade: give up one USB port on your laptop, and you’ll get four. Okay, sign me up. 😉
Here is Sarah’s X205 resting in the Attaché; goodness, that laptop is a beast. You can see that the stand’s aluminum face has a slight bend in the middle, all the better for airflow.
This picture better shows the space created between the laptop and the stand, as well as the space underneath the stand from where fresh air is drawn.
Here you can see the cable attached to the miniUSB port on the stand and a spare USB port on the laptop. If I were feeling particularly anal, I might be compelled to cover the blue LED with a little bit of electrical tape and wrap the cable…but at the moment I’m not. Notice that the feet on the front of the hatch stick up just a tiny bit over the front edge of Sarah’s Toshiba? I wish that they were closer to 0.5″ tall instead of a full inch, because…
…on my MacBook, they stick up almost 0.5″ over the laptop’s front edge, since since it is so much thinner.
I am torn on this, because if you are using the stand in one of the more elevated positions it would be a non-issue, but if you like to use the stand to raise the rear of the laptop’s keyboard for direct typing (as I do), the arms can get in the way. As a result, I have consciously reworked the way I hold my arms, but it still doesn’t seem quit natural.
Two things worth noting are that the dual fans run extremely quietly when on, in fact when I first started using the Attaché I was worried that they weren’t running because they were so silent. The other thing is that using the stand with or without the fans running makes a difference; you feel a temperature change in bottom of the laptop, although in the case of my Macbook Pro, the top and sides were still quite warm. Obviously this is not the laptop stand’s fault, it’s my hot-blooded laptop’s!
The LapWorks Attaché Laptop Stand is a great way to add three additional USB ports to your laptop, add two cooling fans, and get improved ergonomics in the process. The only thing that I would change is the legnth of the two retaining arms, but as I mentioned this will not affect everyone’s use.
The LapWorks Attaché Laptop Stand is available directly from th manufacturer.
MSRP: $69.95; for those who don’t need the extra USB ports, the Envoy is available for $49.95
What I Like: Adds three extra USB ports to the laptop; dual fans are very quiet, almost silent; makes a definite cooling improvement; improved ergonomics whether using an additional keyboard or not
What Needs Improvement: I would make the front retaining arms a bit shorter