There was a review of the original Logitech Alto Laptop Stand here on ZDNet UK just over a year ago. Basically everything that was said in that review still applies to this newer model, so I will confine myself to mentioning the differences, and some personal opinion and speculation. (Gasp! Personal opinion from Jamie? Yes!)
The major difference, obviously, is that this Alto has a cordless keyboard. That's a big difference - I wouldn't even consider the original Alto, because I thought it was too inflexible. I find this one to be just right in that regard - the keyboard is good quality, as I have come to expect from Logtiech keybaords, and being cordless solves the big problem with my cluttered desk(s).
From what I see in the original review, the other difference is that this one includes the power supply, rather than selling it separately, although I don't know if it was really always separate.
As I seem to always have both laptops running on my desk now, but I keep telling myself this is a "temporary" situation, I don't want to set up the port replicator and associated paraphernalia for the test laptop. I also wanted to raise the laptop display to a comfortable height for viewing, so the Alto Cordless seemed to be just what I needed. Overall I am pleased with it, and it is accomplishing what I bought it for. But the drawbacks are significant, as mentioned in the original review.
As mentioned in the original review, the laptop rests on its front edge in the stand, which renders any front-side connections or ports unusable. If the laptop has a latch-release button on the front edge, that is likely to be blocked as well, so you have to remember to release the lid before you set it in place on the Alto.
Of course, you also have to connect/disconnect the laptop power, network (if you are using a wired connection), and the USB for the Alto itself. This is a bit tedious, but if you don't want to do that, then you probably need to be using a docking station or port replicator bar rather than an Alto. I find it curious, and unfortunate, that there are only 3 USB ports on the Alto; there's a lot of real estate around the edge of the thing, and I don't think it would take a lot of effort or cost to add several more USB ports.
In fact, it might be good to wrap up this mini-review with my dream about what Logitech could really make for the next generation Alto.
- Add at least another 3 or 4 USB ports
- Add a cordless mouse to go with the cordless keyboard
- Add integrated speakers - either reasonably small ones, along the lines of the wonderful V-20 speakers, or else integrate something like the Logitech Audio Hub into a thicker base of the Alto.
- Add an adjustable lift-bar to the surface that the laptop sits on, so those with smaller laptops can still get the screen up to a usable height. This is going to become more important as the mini-laptop generation (Eee PC and such) becomes more popular.
- Add some cable-clips to the back edge, so that the cables I still have to connect to the laptop don't fall on the floor behind my desk every time I disconnect them.
Unfortunately, doing all that would probably make the price of the next Alto astronomical. I already had to pay a very pricey 189 Swiss Francs for this one! Hopefully that is Swiss market silliness, though, and it is not so expensive elsewhere.