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iHome iStand Notebook Media Bundle for Mac
Pros: Stylish. Sturdy. Protect your Mac from spills. Easy set up. iPod Dock built in to stand with speakers. Touch sensitive controls. Original quick access keys.
Cons: Requires USB port to use mouse and keyboard. Expensive.
Do you have a Macbook but canít get it to the right screen height when you use it on your desk? Or do you own an Apple Screen and want to use your MacBookís screen as well? In either case the iHome iStand Notebook Media Bundle for Mac will solve your problem. This stand incorporates an iPod dock and speakers, and the bundle includes a unique keyboard and mouse. The iHome iStand Notebook Media Bundle for Mac will be the home base for your MacBook, turning your laptop into an ideal desktop setup.
The iStand is unique because it is partly made out of aluminum to match the new MacBooks, and it has its own speaker that connects to the wall. You can adjust the height and tilt of the screen by pushing on the side. My favorite position is all the way up because it makes my screen exactly vertical, and matches the viewing angles of the other Apple products on my desk like the Apple screen and iMac.
There is an iPod dock in the middle of the stand that lets you plug in your iPhone and play music on the speakers. It also lets you sync your iPhone with your computer if you choose to use up a USB port. To turn the volume up or down on the speakers all you have to do is slide your finger across the plastic. It feels like youíre using a touch screen speaker system. Unfortunately the speakers do cause a little interference with the iPhone. To stop this you have to turn on Airplane mode on your iPhone. There are two USB ports on the side of the the stand so that you still have the original number of USB ports available. One USB port is used for the keyboard and mouse, and the other is for syncing your iPhone with your computer. I strongly suggest getting the iStand for your office if you have an Apple screen.
The bundle comes with a wireless keyboard. Itís very thin, and made out of aluminum and white plastic on the bottom. There are two clips on the bottom that you can flip to make the keyboard lie flat or tilt at an angle. To use the keyboard with your computer you have to plug a USB connector into your computer. This is too bad, because although the keyboard is wireless, it still takes up a USB port. The keys on the keyboard are different from the keys on the MacBook. They are beveled, and there is no spacing between them. Some of the keys are a little bigger, some smaller and there are a few additional keys such as a second control, a function key, home, page up, page down, and end. It takes a little time to adapt to using both keyboards. Thereís also a number pad on the side for crunching numbers. What I really like are the extra keys at the top. These keys enable fast switching between applications. For example, there are keys for iTunes, Mail, iChat, Safari, iCal, and Front Row. There are also 15 function keys, more than the Apple laptop but less than the Apple keyboard. Overall, this keyboard can help or hinder your typing, depending on how you use a keyboard.
The mouse that comes with the iHome Media Bundle is pretty standard. It has two buttons (right and left buttons) and is about half the size of the Apple mouse. It is blue, black and white. Thereís a scroll wheel in the middle of the mouse. But unlike the Apple mouse, it does not have the side buttons that can be configured to open Expose. To use this mouse you have to have the USB connector installed in one of your USB ports, but your keyboard and mouse can share the same USB connector.
The iHome iStand Notebook Media Bundle for Mac is a great product and would make the perfect Christmas gift for someone on your list. It does come at a pretty hefty price point at $300, but I think it is totally worth it. It deserves a rating of 90/100.