I’ve been setting up a desktop workstation for my MacBook Pro for the past month or so, trying out various third-party docks to improve my desktop experience. After trying the Byte-Dock (review), and later the Henge Dock (review), I’ve now arrived at a new option, and one that I very much like – the Rain Design mStand ($43.74, Amazon).
The Rain Design mStand is a solid, stylish stand carved from a single block of aluminum. The mStand is designed to raise your MacBook to a healthy desktop viewing height, keep your MacBook cool, and help you manage your cables, all while serving as an attractive way to showcase and complement your Mac.
Straight out of the box, the first thing that I noticed about the mStand was its durability. Because the mStand is carved from a single chunk of aluminum, it instantly gives the impression of being durable. Between its satisfying heft and its apparent strength, the mStand quickly stands out as a titan in its category.
Fortunately, there’s a great deal of beauty behind all that brawn as well. The mStand’s design is both simple and classy. This stand is beautifully shaped and curved with no abrupt edges, is formed at the ideal angle for holding your MacBook, and is made from the same type of anodized aluminum used by Apple in their various products, making it the ideal companion for your MacBook and associated Apple gear.
Besides its A-class strength and stunning good looks, the mStand’s simple design is also extremely practical, featuring a cable organizer in back to keep tangles under control, and a recess at its base for stashing your keyboard when its not in use.
Despite the fact that it can’t quickly and automatically connect and disconnect all your devices like a full-fledged dock, the mStand does offer one major advantage that no dock I’ve seen can match – it allows you to use your MacBook as a second display.
It only takes an extra 5-10 seconds to connect or disconnect several cables, especially because the mStand keeps them all in one place. Personally, I’d gladly trade that 5-10 seconds to make more full use of my MacBook as a second display. What’s the point of having such a great display in your MacBook if you can’t use it?
Despite its many advantages, the mStand does have one main limitation. Because of its simple, solid aluminum design, the mStand can neither be raised and lowered nor smoothly rotated. But considering that the MStand is already at a fairly optimal height, and that its silicon pads allow for fairly easy rotation anyway, these are only minor gripes.
The mStand is an extremely solid product, especially for its meager $50 retail asking price. Besides being durable and extremely attractive, it also helps you organize your cables and provides a place to stash your notebook, besides allowing you to use your Mac as a second display.
Considering all of these factors, and the fact that it only takes marginally longer to add or remove a MacBook from the mStand versus a dock, and I can’t help but give the mStand my highest recommendation.
Rating & Conclusion
For its exceptional design, excellent value, and extreme overall usefulness, I award the mStand a rare five star rating. Bottom line: the mStand is one of the best designed (if not THE best designed) third-party accessories I’ve ever used for the Mac. Its low price is just the icing on the cake.
- Solid aluminum construction
- Built-in cable management
- Attractive design, matches the look of Apple products
- Allows you to use your MacBook as a second display
- Doubles as a heatsink, keeps your MacBook cool
- Improves posture by raising your MacBook to eye level
- A bit heavy
- Doesn’t swivel
- Not adjustable