Rain Design mStand 360 review: giving the rise to your MacBook with strength and style
The post-PC world in which we live isn’t really devoid of PCs of course. The sorry Wintel box is on the endangered list but every personal device that computes is a PC, whether phone, tablet or laptop.
And it’s laptops that are now the heavy lifters, carried from home to office and back and used as de-facto replacements for the desktop PC.
In this role the notebook is typically hooked up to outboard keyboard, mouse and an external monitor, its own display pressed into service as a second screen alongside the main desktop display.
It’s vital that the laptop should then be perched correctly above the desk if you’re to avoid neckache, at the very least. Fulfilling that job are many laptop stands, built to raise the laptop and support it safely. Some like the Rain Design mStand 360 here will even proffer the laptop’s own keyboard and trackpad by tilting the whole notebook gently downwards towards you.
Rain Design mStand 360, now with the power to turn heads
In the case of recent MacBooks with their generous multi-touch trackpads, this makes it a doddle to reach out and touch with OS X gestures such as three- and four-finger swipes.
Filling the laptop stand role with great aplomb is this new version of the Rain Design mStand. Unashamedly Apple-inspired to blend with some of the finest notebooks in the business, the mStand is a solid aluminium U-shaped stand that echoes the appearance of the Apple Cinema Display foot, now the Apple Thunderbolt Display, and that of recent iMacs.
It’s a solid chunk of folded metal, weighing nearly 1.4kg, and measuring a uniform 4mm thick. That’s only half the thickness of the iMac pillar, although the mStand has a lot less mass to support. And the 4mm gauge does look right.
An upturned lip at the front prevents your laptop from sliding down – that, and the four small rubber pads on the top surface of the mStand.
These are 2mm thick, separating a MacBook from the hard stand, so we’d beg to differ on one feature that Rain Design highlights: ‘aluminum [sic] panel cools laptop by acting as heat sink’. Those rubber pads ensure there’s no metal-metal contact, so little or no heat will get sunk this way.
However the inclined tilt does mean that convection currents are more likely, increasing airflow along the underside, which can't be a bad thing.
The Rain Design mStand 360 adds one distinct feature from the original, and that’s of course the swivel stand. This is a lazy-susan affair, a round plate on the bottom with eight small steel balls locked around the circumference to serve as a stable bearing.
In practice, it works wonderfully, with no play or wobble or apparent, yet enabling the whole stand-plus-notebook ensemble to be effortlessly rotated whenever required. The usual instance could be to swivel your laptop around a few degrees to share what’s on-screen with a colleague.
Build quality of the Rain Design mStand 360 is first class, notwithstanding some wrinkling in the metalwork around the large cutout hole at the rear.
Like the iMac and Cinema Display, this aperture – here 53 mm across and plastic-rimmed – enables cables to be snuck through to tidy desktop cable looms.
The Rain Design mStand 360 is a simple product, superbly executed, and potentially invaluable to anyone that regularly uses their MacBook – or any other laptop – with outboard peripherals on the desk. This inspired piece of aluminium deserves gold.