We've had the NoteBall floating around the office for a couple of months now, but until now, nobody was game to review it. We have to confess that we pooh-poohed the idea that it could be effective, because it didn't look like it would work. We admit: we were wrong.
The idea behind the NoteBall notebook stands is simple - it turns your flat laptop into a three-corner propped version.
To use it, you pull the velcro dot from the NoteBall base, peel off the plastic and then attach the adhesive side of the soft velcro dot to your laptop. NoteBall claims this will withstand up to 93C without falling off.
More of a danger, unless you have a MacBook Pro with an i7 on-board, is that the Velcro dot will peel away from your laptop during normal wear and tear. If you don't normally carry your laptop in a sleep, we suspect you'll need to keep a couple of spare velcro dots handy.
We recommend sticking the velcro dot at the centre rear of your laptop. Too far forward, and the laptop will be propped way too high for comfortable use. We're still not sure that it will be comfortable for any laptop smaller than 13in or so.
On a 13in laptop, the NoteBall at it's lowest elevation puts the keyboard at an 18-degree angle. You can unwind the stem to increase that to a precipitious 22-degrees, but at the point, the NoteBall is much less securely attached the the laptop and its grip is less stable. (not to mention the discomfort for typing)
While even the 18-degree angle is a little much, typing is reasonably comfortable, and the NoteBall is surprisingly sturdy - exceeding our expectations.
There's a lot of space for airflow around the base of the laptop with the NoteBall in place, too. It doesn't, obviously, have any cooling, but if you normally use a desk, it's a simple way to keep your laptop cooler and comfortable for working on.
It's also portable. In fact, it's so conveniently portable - it's hard to imagine a notebook carrybag it won't fit into with ease - that we think it's worth the $25 cost for those times when you can't lug a standard notebook cooler around with you. At worst, you'll have to spend a few bucks on Velcro dots.
For the fashion-conscious, you can get it in six different colours, too.