Review: Just Mobile Xtand Pro

Given that more and more people are using a laptop as their primary computer on the road and at home, laptop stands have become popular accessories. These products let you work more ergonomically at a desk by elevating your laptop screen to a proper height while you use an external keyboard and mouse. By keeping your laptop raised off your desk, they also help the computer stay cooler by increasing airflow underneath.

We’ve covered a number of laptop stands from Griffin Technology, APC, Rain Design, Ergotron, Kangaroom, and Matias. Today’s model, Just Mobile’s US$90 Xtand Pro, takes the crown of Most Expensive Desk Stand So Far, but it bests the field in other areas, as well.

The Xstand Pro is a stylish stand made of real aluminum that closely matches the finish of Apple’s latest MacBook models. The oval base is wide (11.8 by 6.7 inches) and sturdy, with rubber feet to protect your desk and to keep the stand from moving. The X-shaped top platform is tilted approximately 30 degrees and has two metal lips, one on each of the front arms, to keep your notebook from sliding off the stand. Six rubber pads, one near the end of each arm and one on each lip, keep the stand’s solid-metal pieces from scratching your laptop and also help keep the laptop in place.

The Xtand Pro includes a choice of two center columns, one approximately 4.5 inches tall in the center, the other just under 1.5 inches tall. You assemble the stand using the taller piece if you want a traditional elevated laptop stand; this option raises the rear of your notebook 6.5 inches off your work surface. You use the shorter piece if your laptop is already on a higher desk or platform, or if your work setup is such that you want to use your laptop’s own keyboard while on the stand. The stand’s screws can be tightened using a coin, making it convenient to assemble, although even when securely tightened, I found that the Xtand Pro’s top platform rotated slightly. However, this never made the stand feel unstable. In fact, the Xtand Pro is the most solid of the laptop stands I’ve tested: Even when using the taller column, typing firmly on my MacBook’s keyboard produced only the slightest bit of shake.

Although it’s the most expensive laptop stand we’ve covered (by US$10), the Xtand Pro is also up there with Rain Design’s mStand as the most attractive, and it surpasses the mStand in terms of sturdiness. I have only two complaints. First, if you’re using an older Mac laptop with the optical drive in the front, the Xtand’s front lip will block that drive. Second, when I used a MacBook Air with the Xtand Pro, the curved bottom of the Air allowed the center of the Xtand’s platform to touch the Air’s bottom surface. While the stand didn’t actually scratch the Air during my testing, I’d like to see an additional rubber pad in the center of the platform just in case.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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