Xbrand cradles laptops

If your neck and wrists are protesting your frequent notebook use, the Xbrand 360 degree Height Adjustable Laptop Cradle from Ambir Technology is for you.

The cradle — not designed for travel, but for desktop use — places your notebook in a more ergonomically friendly position. It consists of a flat base that sits on the desktop and a "cooling cradle" mounted above it. The notebook sits on the cooling cradle, which is slightly concave and has cutaway sides to allow air to ventilate beneath the notebook. The cutaway sides also make it easier to grab the notebook when you're ready to travel with it.

The cooling cradle pivots between four preset positions ranging from nearly parallel to the desk surface to a very steep vertical angle. In the parallel position, the bottom of the notebook's display sits about 5.5 inches above the desk. In the steepest position the display base is about 10 inches above the desk.

The notebook does look precarious perched at such an angle, but non-slip rubber pads and a wide front edge secure it in place. Conveniently, the front edge folds down so you can access buttons or drives on the front of your notebook. Of course, the cooling cradle must be in the parallel position before you can do this.

We liked the Laptop Cradle's ability to rotate 360 degrees. Small wheels on the bottom facilitate quiet, smooth rotation.

The dock is designed for use with an external keyboard and mouse and it has an integrated four-port USB 2.0 hub for those peripherals and others. The notebook connects to the Cradle via USB as well, and Ambir includes a short USB cable for this purpose. You must also connect the Cradle to an electrical outlet using the included power adapter.

You can also connect external USB hubs to the Laptop Cradle to add even more peripherals — up to 128.

Your notebook must be running Windows 98SE, ME, 2000, XP, or Mac OS 9.0 and higher to be compatible with the Cradle's USB ports.

All of the notebook's rear and side ports and drives can be used at any time while the notebook is in the cradle.

The Xbrand 360 degree Height Adjustable Laptop Cradle with the USB hub costs $119.95. A model without USB ports is available for $69.95. For more information, visit www.ambir.com.

RELATEDLINKS

"Ultralights push the limits" [FCW.com, Nov. 8, 2004]

"A desktop for ultralights" [Nov. 10, 2004]

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