Though Japan’s Power Support is best known around iLounge for its iPod accessories, we’ve been checking out (and mostly loving) the company’s Mac laptop and desktop accessories for years. Like the best Mac third-party developers, Power Support relies heavily upon cut and sculpted metal for its products, which makes them a better aesthetic match for high-end Macs, and users with bigger wallets.
Today, we’ve been playing with two new and notable MacBook/MacBook Pro items, one of which is already available in the United States, and the other one’s coming soon. First is the highly useful but currently Japan-only Notebook Holder – not its final name – shown above. Then there’s the Tilt Tray, now available in the United States, and shown below. Why are these so interesting? Answers and pictures can be found by clicking on Read More.
Why would we possibly be excited about an aluminum holder for our MacBooks? The answer to this is simple: it looks great alongside Apple’s less expensive Cinema Displays. This little item, currently sold overseas under the semi-translated Japanese name Notebook PC Bachi Holder, comes in a box with a bunch of foam pads. You attach the pads to the bottom of the stand for stability, and the inside of the stand to keep your MacBook scratch-free. If necessary – it wasn’t for the MacBook Pro shown above – you then loosen the screws on the bottom, adjust the sides to accommodate the width of your laptop, and re-tighten the screws.
Voila. The stand holds your MacBook in a position that consumes comparatively little space on a desk, ideal for connecting something like the 23” Cinema Display we picked up today. In this orientation, we have full access to the MacBook’s card slot, audio, and a USB port, with the DVI, second USB, and FireWire ports all in the back for connection to the monitor. The Apple logo gets to stand out, along with most of the unit’s aluminum body. Obviously, use with lower-end MacBooks will reveal their plastic but otherwise similar features.
Power Support’s Notebook Holder should be coming to the U.S. in the near future, but if you’re jonesing for one now, look to the company’s Japanese site or importers. They sell in Japan for 3,680 Yen, or around $31.
Tilt Tray is a different animal altogether. It’s sold in separate sizes for the MacBook ($50) and MacBook Pro ($55), and basically does two things: it dissipates heat and tilts your MacBook on a slight angle for typing. When I read the name in Japanese on Power Support’s Japanese web site, I thought the name was Chill Tray, to emphasize the cooling effect, but the tilting part is apparently what the company’s focusing on.
Like the Notebook Holder, you’ll need to do a little assembly when you take Tilt Tray out of the box. A suede-like anti-scratch protector is already installed on all four inner sides of the Tray, along with four sets of Velcro-like “Magic Tape” stickers. But you’ll have to install ten included circular pads yourself to aid in heat dissipation, a process that takes a few minutes and mightn’t be totally obvious to those who can’t figure out the pictures on the Japanese-language instruction sheet.
Once the process is done, putting your MacBook in the tray is really simple. If you want to attach the Magic Tape to your computer so that the Tray stays attached all the time, you can; otherwise, it’ll come off whenever you pick up the MacBook. It adds little weight or size to the MacBook’s profile, and doesn’t interfere with the ports, as shown here.
But is it really necessary? You make the call. If you’re using the MacBook on a desk and want a bit more heat dissipation, it might be worth the $50-55 to you, especially if you’re using a Core Duo MacBook/Pro rather than the cooler Core 2 Duo units. For our purposes, it’s a bit less exciting than the Notebook Holder, and we wish the pads were pre-installed prior to purchase, but it’s still nicely made and worthy of Backstage attention.