The Laptop Desk UltraLite
For most of my computing time, I use a desktop G5 with a 23” monitor. A comfortable chair and a nice desk / work surface completes the picture, and I have spent way too much time sitting there. However, I also own a laptop that, quite frankly, I don’t use nearly enough to justify how much I spent for it. I actually enjoy typing on the laptop (a PowerBook G3 400Mhz, or Lombard if you will, as well as the wifes’ 15″ G4) more than I do Apple’s extended keyboard. I always find that my hands more easily type on the bronze keys more easily than the keyboard on my desk, and I like the tactile feel better.
So why don’t I use the PowerBook more often? In a word, heat! The PowerBooks gets HOT when in use. I don’t like to use the ‘Book on a desk, I like using it best when it is sitting on my lap in the kitchen. So to deal with the heat issue, I have used various books to keep the hot ‘Book off my tender lap. There are some things there I prefer not to get too hot, if you understand my meaning!
When the email came in one day for the new Laptop Desk UltraLite, I decided to contact the company for an evaluation unit and find out if it was a better solution than the books that were doing the lap-dance for me under the ‘Book.
In a word, yes, the Laptop Desk UltraLite (henceforth to be called LDU for the remainder of this review) works much better than a heavy, slippery book. Much better, actually!
The LDU is lightweight, coming in at 14.6 ounces. But don’t let the weight, or its thin design (5/16”) dissuade you, this is a touch little unit. And while not perfect, it does perform well, albeit better in some uses than others.
Made of a heat-polycarbonate plastic with built-in ventilation channels, the LCU is very sleek and attractive.
The LDU is actually two pieces of polycarbonate plastic that fit together with a hinge in the middle. This allows the unit to either remain completely flat on your lap, giving you the ability to use a mouse on your lap, or folded in half, giving the option of displaying your screen at an angle.
Laid flat, the LCU is 22” long by 11” wide, thus it will accommodate most laptops. In this configuration, the LCU overhangs the sides of your laptop on both sides, meaning that you can use a mouse on either the left of right side. Too may companies forget about lefties, and it is nice to see a unit accommodate both. Not many laptop stands allow mouse use, and this is a nice feature.
Folded in half, you don’t have the mouse area, but you will be able to set your laptop at an angle you like best. However, this is more suited for use when your laptop is on a work surface, not your lap. The simple adjustable hinge easily comes free whenever the unit is picked up, which is really annoying if the laptop is on your lap. A better solution would have been a way to lock the hinge at a desired angle, so that the unit does not either snap shut in your lap (happened a few times) or close on your fingers when picking it up. (Also happened a few times, ouch!)
Folded, the LCU is 11” X 11”.
Either folded or laid out flat, there are small rubber no-slip tabs to keep your laptop free from slipping.
In everyday use, I found that laid out flat, the LCU actually does transmit some heat to my lap. It keeps at least 80% of the heat away, but not all. Perhaps a thicker or better heat dissipation design would have been best. I cannot tell you how well it compares to other laptop stands of its kind, as this is the only one I have used, but the only time it kept my lap from getting warm was then used in the folded configuration. But then the problem of the hinge closing easily came in.
All in all, I like the Laptop Desk UltraLite, even with its few faults. It is prices very competitively, is attractive, and works fairly well.