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Kensington Laptop Desktop USB 2.0 review: Kensington Laptop Desktop USB 2.0

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The Good Attractive; four USB 2.0 ports; compatible with most notebooks; raises laptop to eye level; adjustable; includes document clip; relatively inexpensive.

The Bad Somewhat flimsy; blocks access to keyboard and front of notebook; requires external keyboard and mouse, neither of which are included.

The Bottom Line If you're looking for an attractive notebook riser and a few extra USB ports--and nothing more--the Kensington Laptop Desktop USB 2.0 will do the trick.

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6.2 Overall

Kensington Laptop Desktop USB 2.0

If you're looking for a stylish riser for your notebook, the $80 Kensington Laptop Desktop USB 2.0 gets the job done. Compatible with any notebook equipped with a USB 2.0 port--which is almost all of them--the Desktop 2.0 will hold your laptop securely and bring the display to eye level; it also has a handy document clip. Unfortunately, the unit's design blocks your notebook's keyboard and any ports or buttons located along its front edge, though the sides and the back are still accessible. Because the device covers the notebook's keyboard and touch pad, you'll need a separate keyboard and mouse, neither of which is included.

The sloping, silver-and-gray Kensington Laptop Desktop USB 2.0 provides no additional connectivity save for--surprise--four USB 2.0 ports, making it something of a one-trick pony. Forget about audio, video, or even network access. The Laptop Desktop 2.0 comes with its own AC adapter to power the USB connections, but it will not charge your notebook. We found that the Laptop Desktop 2.0 works better with some laptops than others. The IBM ThinkPad R51, whose important buttons and switches remained accessible when docked, was a good fit. We got lesser results with the Averatec 3200, whose audio plugs and volume control were covered, and the Panasonic ToughBook Y2, whose subkeyboard CD drive was blocked by the dock.

To put your notebook's display at a comfortable height and angle, the Laptop Desktop USB 2.0 can tilt 3 to 40 degrees, and you can lift the entire laptop plus its display to a height of 10 inches to bring it to eye level. Unfortunately, the buttons that lock your adjustments in place are stiff and difficult to release. Even when locked in place, the whole setup is prone to wobbling. The USB hub was a mediocre performer, reading data at 67.8Mbps and writing at only 53.8Mbps.

With a one-year warranty, the Laptop Desktop USB 2.0 isnÂ’t covered for as long as IBM's UltraBase dock, but of course, thereÂ’s much less that can go wrong. Kensington will accept e-mail queries, but you can also call the company's toll-free support desk weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. PT. Kensington maintains a thorough and searchable knowledge base, which can address any major problems with the dock or the peripherals you connect to it.

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