Kensington Adjustable Laptop Stand and Universal Docking Station Review

by Reads (33,911)

If you’ve ever wanted to transform your laptop PC into a desktop computer when you’re working at home or the office then the Kensington Adjustable Laptop Stand and Universal Docking Station with Video and Ethernet might be exactly what you need. This two-part solution lets you quickly connect your laptop to a desktop keyboard, mouse, and even external monitors without the need to connect half a dozen cables every time. For the average user who works with a travel-friendly laptop at work or home this means you can quickly raise your laptop to a more comfortable viewing position and start your work day with a single USB cable.

Sounds perfect, right? Let’s take a closer look and find out.


The Adjustable Laptop Stand features a laptop support platform that is designed to hold virtually any laptop or netbook and includes smart cable management to reduce cable clutter. In addition, the laptop stand is designed to accommodate the Kensington sd120, sd300v, or sd400v docking stations for a all-in-one desktop docking solution.

The Kensington Adjustable Laptop Stand is part of Kensington’s “SmartFit System” and is designed to raise your laptop screen to the perfect height for you. This perfect fit is accomplished by use of a SmartFit sizing chart included in the box with the laptop stand. The chart has a series of differently sized hands printed in different colors. Simply place your hand on the chart, determine which color is the closest match to the size of your hand, then connect the laptop support platform to the stand by using the slot with the matching color.

In all honesty, it takes more time to read those instructions listed above than it does to actually size up your hand and connect the parts of the Adjustable Laptop Stand. That said, one thing the instructions fail to mention is that if you plan to use one of the Kensington Docking Stations (such as the sd400v) you should insert the docking station into the base of the stand before connecting the laptop support platform.

You know what they say about men with big hands …
we need to raise the height of our laptop monitors.

Kensington Adjustable Laptop Stand Specifications:

  • Supports netbooks and laptops from 10″ to 17″
  • Adjustable height range: 3.0″ to 7.0″ from desktop
  • Metal construction with foam base pad to protect desktop surface
  • Includes a “soft landing pad” to hold USB devices while charging
  • Footprint: 12.5″ (L) x 10″ (W) x 7″ (H) on desktop
  • Price: $49.99

Kensington sd400v Universal Docking Station with Video and Ethernet Specifications:

  • Operating Systems Compatibility: PC including Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit editions), Windows Vista sp1 (32-bit and 64-bit editions), Windows XP (sp2, sp3, including Tablet PC editions).
  • Auto install supported for all PC running Windows 7 and Windows Vista.
  • Peripheral connectivity: Front Audio ports (Audio in/out), Back Speaker port (Audio out), 5 “always on” USB 2.0 ports, 10/100 Ethernet, DVI or VGA (with included DVI to VGA adapter), security cable slot on side panel.
  • Package contents: USB docking station sd400v, USB cable, 2.5Amp wall power adapter, DVI to VGA adapter, quick start guide.
  • Price: $129.99 MSRP (approximately $80-$90 at most retailers)

Build and Design

Although we’re talking about two products here, both the Adjustable Laptop Stand and the sd400v docking station are designed to work together to deliver a complete laptop-to-desktop solution. The big feature for the laptop stand is of course the adjustable height settings to bring your laptop screen to eye level and reduce neck pain and eyestrain that usually occur when you’re looking down at a laptop screen.

The slim, metal construction keeps things simple and minimizes the use of desk space but I must confess that the laptop stand feels a little “front heavy” when you put a 17-inch laptop on the highest height adjustment. The laptop stand never gave the impression that it would fall forward … but I would feel better if there was a little extra weight in the back for heavy 17-inch laptops.

Speaking of the back of the laptop stand, this is where you get some added help in organizing your workspace. The stand has built-in cable management to reduce the clutter of cables (particularly the power adapter cable) and there is a convenient “landing pad” with a soft foam surface directly under the laptop platform which can be used to hold your smartphone or other small USB devices while charging.

Of course, there’s also a space for the Kensington sd120, sd300v, or sd400v docking stations. The design of the Kensington USB docking stations hasn’t changed much over the years. It’s basically just a skinny black box with ports on both sides. There isn’t much to the design of the sd400v. The front LED indicator lights up green to indicate the docking station is working correctly. There are two audio jacks and one USB port on one side and all the other ports are on the back of the docking station. Interestingly, the laptop stand is designed to hold the docking station sideways so the front and back ports become left and right side ports. On that note, you can position the docking station in either a left or right orientation so you can have the most ports on whatever side you like.

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