Of the laptop stands in Logitech's Alto line--which includes the Alto, Alto Cordless, and Alto Connect--the Alto Express is the simplest and least expensive. While the other Alto stands also act as a USB hub or keyboard, the $30 Alto Express simply elevates your laptop to bring the screen closer to eye level. Just prop up your open laptop on the Alto Express, plug in an external keyboard and mouse, and you can start working more comfortably without hooking up an external monitor.
Given the relatively limited functionality of the Alto Express, we were surprised by how much we liked its design. A single piece of clear molded plastic, the Alto Express provides visual relief in a world of dull beige or looming black laptop accessories. The only opacity comes from the black rubberized strips on the base; these strips hold the laptop steady on the stand and the stand steady on your desk. Its curved shape looks attractive even when you're not using it, and the convex surface provides a little space for air to circulate beneath your laptop so it doesn't overheat. At the back, the stand's base is slightly curved in such a way that it provides an opening to pass through your power or accessory cables.
We enjoyed using the Alto Express as an alternative to a docking station with an external monitor. However, like other Alto stands we've reviewed, its fixed height means that your comfort level will depend greatly on the size of your laptop. For example, while our 14.1-inch laptop was lifted to an almost-ideal height, our ultraportable laptop's display was still too low for proper ergonomics when resting on the Alto Express. Also, because the laptop is propped up on its front edge, you might find that the stand blocks off some ports, such as headphone and microphone jacks. Depending on the design of your laptop, that might be a deal-breaker. We do like, however, that the stand leaves the laptop's keyboard deck open so you can easily reach quick-launch buttons or a fingerprint reader.
Logitech backs the Alto with a three-year limited warranty that includes replacement or refund if the products are defective. The company's support Web site offers user forums, a knowledge base, and an e-mail form to contact the company.