Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Review: the ultra portable notebook stand XT-Stand

Official XT-Stand Homepage
Official XT-Stand Homepage Europe

Für den deutschen Testbericht hier klicken.
XT-Stand unboxing pictures.

While searching for a truly portable notebook stand I have come across a product called the XT-stand on the net. This product sure was intriguing to me on first sight. The next positive surprise however was to come shortly after unboxing the stand...

XT-Stand unboxing pictures


The XT-Stand had me standing awed in front of it before I completely unboxed it. The thing that surprised me the most was its size that doesn't come across well on the product sites in my opinion. For a comparison of the size I have taken a picture of the XT-stand next to my portable umbrella and my hand and you can see how compact that stand really is. You might say that this notebook stand probably is the most portable stand on the market today. Despite its small size it is suitable for notebooks of the size of 12 inches to 19 inches.

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The XT-stand is made out of stainless steel and has a titanium coated finish on the surface which gives the stand a flair of exclusivity and high quality. The stand is manufactured very well. Nothing on the stand is crooked, nothing jiggles and it stands like a rock. There are truly no complaints considering the materials used and the manufacturing of this stand.

The Design

The design of this stand is unique. I haven't come across another stand that has such a unique design. If you didn't know better one might mistake this stand for a miniature tripod for a digital camera or something. A really easy to use folding system has been implemented to this stand so that it is intuitive to use even without reading the manual. After having extended the 4 legs of the stand you can firstly adjust the height of the stand in two levels. Secondly you can adjust the length of the two legs in the back to suit your notebook perfectly. Finally, the inventors of XT-stand even thought of those notebook owners that have front loading CD or DVD drives. There is a little flip-out-mechanism in the middle that allows you to let your notebook literally “float“ in air to have access to the front of your notebook. The design of this stand is well thought out and I have to come across a situation yet, where I can detect a flaw in design. No complaints here either.

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The ergonomics

Now I'd like to write a few sentences regarding the ergonomics of this stand. I personally like it when the keyboard is tilted a bit when I type. This is done exactly by the XT-stand. With notebooks of the size like the Macbook the main problem in ergonomics is the height of the display though. Since the display is low you have to look down while you work. This causes neck and shoulder strains when you have to work on your notebook for a longer period of time. The XT-stand solves this issue very well in my opinion. Like mentioned above the XT-stand offers two settings for the height adjustment. I think the higher adjustment might be a little uncomfortable to use though without a external keyboard. Personally, I use the first lower setting when I am on the road and don't have an external keyboard around. The second higher setup I use at home when I type away on my newly purchased Apple keyboard. Maybe even a third higher adjustment possibility would have been nice for home use but I am not sure if this is even possible by not risking losing stability. On top this setting would have only made sense for notebooks smaller than 15“ I think since otherwise the display would be too high. The ergonomics of this stand truly are good and better than the usual stands because it gives the user the possibility to choose between two settings.

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Passive cooling

Your Macbook will be running cooler with this stand also thanks to passive cooling. It's obvious that by lifting the bottom of the notebook the air circulation is better than just putting down your Macbook on a flat surface. However, you cannot expect miracles of it.

The XT-stand in everyday use

The XT-stand's suitability for everyday use really is high. I have listed the 3 main reasons for the high suitability.
  • the small size of the stand
  • the very good ergonomics of the stand
  • the included case for the stand
I would like to present you the case for that matter. This case surely is practical especially for amateur photographers in my opinion. The case offers many slots in which you can store your memory cards next to the stand while you are on the road. It fits 4 CF, 9 SD, 5 MS and 4 xD cards. I'd say that is more than enough slots.

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Final thoughts

The XT-stand is the best stand you can get for road warriors that use their notebooks (Macbooks) in different locations under different circumstances. I would like to give you a little pro and contra list for quick overview:

  • unique very stylish design
  • small size
  • good ergonomics
  • good materials and excellent manufacturing

  • none, at a price of 39.90 US-$ this stand truly is a bargain.


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