Today’s entry in our ever-increasing flow of MacBook accessories: Griffin’s ExpressCard/34 5:1 Card Reader ($30, also called the Expresscard 34 Card Reader), and Elevator Desktop Stand ($40). A few short words on both of these neat little items as we head into the weekend.
We’ve been waiting for something like the Card Reader since the MacBook Pro was introduced last year, as we’ve wanted a way to stop carrying around our larger USB 2.0-based memory card readers, but weren’t totally confident in the several no-name ExpressCard/34 readers that have been released to date. In our quick tests so far, Griffin’s Reader is what we’ve needed, delivering USB 2.0 speeds for access to SD Card, Memory Stick and Pro, MMC and xD Card media without requiring any drivers, and our memory cards come up instantly on our Mac’s desktop after insertion. Unlike our separate cabled card readers, popping a card out of Griffin’s Reader quickly results in the Mac’s “Device Removal” warning, which is typically a good sign – re-inserting the card after further use won’t result in corruption of the card’s updated contents.
Elevator’s totally different. It’s a notebook computer stand made from two aluminum posts and a clear plastic connector, designed to elevate your MacBook Pro (or most other machines) around 5.5 inches off a flat surface. See more details and pictures by clicking on the headline.
Assembling Elevator isn’t too difficult, but you might do it the wrong way at first, placing the clear plastic piece upwards at MacBook level rather than table level, and flipping the metal pieces upside down. Do it this way and Elevator will look nice, but won’t be stable. The clear part – with Griffin’s name inside – is intended to rest on the table, with large pads on the aluminum protecting the MacBook’s body, and smaller pads touching the table.
The MacBook sits on an angle that’s designed to be ergonomically beneficial, with the screen at a height approximating the “healthy” elevation for a standalone monitor. Above the flat surface, the airflow’s better, so it’s able to fully cool its body rather than overheating due to surface or skin contact. We’ll leave it up to you whether that’s worth the $40 price tag here, but the Mac Pro and MacBook Pro-matching metal is thick and nicely curved – our only wish was that this was more of a lap-ready design than a desk-ready one. We still see our MacBooks as “laptop” computers, but don’t want to singe our legs; perhaps Griffin has something coming to address that need, too.