Kensington may be known best for its patented lock-slot devices, which use a small slot built into the chassis of a laptop to secure the device with a cable lock. However, those small lock slots aren't found on every notebook, and as laptops get slimmer there's less and less real estate for installing a slot into the chassis.
For such cases, Kensington has the Locking Laptop Station 2.0 ($89.99), a sleek appliance that securely locks down any thin laptop 11 to 15 inches in size. Available with an optional standard Kensington cable lock ($119.99 with the lock included), the Locking Laptop Station 2.0 is a great way to secure a laptop that doesn't have a lock slot.
The locking station has three main components: a brushed aluminum base, two adjustable locking arms and an optional lock loop. The aluminum base won't scratch your pristine MacBook, thanks to rubber bumper pads that protect the lid and underside of your laptop when it's locked into place.
The base is made of solid metal and weighs a good 1.8 pounds, nearly as much as some of the lighter ultraportable laptops on the market. The build quality is solid, thanks to the single-piece cast-metal design, and the extending security arms are equally strong, with no significant play between the arm and the base. The whole thing locks with a Kensington lock loop.
The result is a pretty effective anchor for your laptop, but it's far less portable than a standard Kensington lock would be on its own.
The locking station is sturdily built, and with its bulk and the cable looped to a table, bench or other stationary object, you'll make it impractical for anyone to try walking off with your computer.
Setup & Use
Though marketed to MacBook users, the lock is brand-agnostic and will work with any laptop that can accommodate the station's adjustable security arms. This noninvasive approach lets you physically lock down your laptop without having to modify the chassis or otherwise change anything about the laptop.
The adjustable locking arms extend out from the base unit, with both arms telescoping from a compartment on the back of the base. The arms lock into place with two set screws, holding them in position to properly secure the laptop.
At the end of either arm is a bracket that hooks around the open laptop just above the hinge. At the end of the right arm is a swinging bracket that moves into position to hold the laptop in place, or swings open for removing the laptop.
This is then secured with a standard Kensington T-Bar lock, which keeps the bracket in position. The Kensington lock comes at the end of a carbon-steel cable, which can be looped around a table leg or anchored to another stationary object to effectively secure the laptop. The optional lock is a standard Kensington lock -- available with either a keyed lock or a combination lock -- and the Locking Station 2.0 can be used with any Kensington locks you already own.
In actually using the dock, I did find that it impinged my ability to easily reposition the laptop, and obviously it's not made to let you do things like use the laptop on your lap. This is strictly a tabletop experience.
My only quibble with the Locking Station is that the hooks at the end of each arm aren't adjustable, meaning that there's still a lot of play even when the laptop is properly secured. While everything seems to be effectively secure, the amount of play might tempt a would-be thief to try sliding the laptop out from under the secure hooks.
Our MacBook Pro 13 wouldn't slide out, but it's possible that a slimmer laptop, or one with more flex in the lid and screen, could be forced out without damaging the laptop too terribly.
Cost & Competition
The Kensington Laptop Locking Station 2.0 is far from the only locking solution on the market for Macbooks and other laptops, and these locks frequently sell for much less than Kensington's product.
That said, other locks don't have the noninvasive design offered by the Kensington. Competitors frequently attach to a Macbook or laptop using the screws that hold the chassis together, or attach with industrial-strength adhesives.
There are potential problems with these approaches. Anything that screws into place can be defeated in the same way, letting a screwdriver-equipped thief make off with your laptop with little fuss.
These approaches also tend to be specific to individual brands and models, since they are designed to accommodate the contours and screws of specific devices. As a result, there is no good option that works across multiple brands and designs.
The adhesive option may be more secure and more flexible, but sticking a lock to the chassis of your laptop with what amounts to super-glue may damage the laptop if it's ever removed.
The Kensington Laptop Locking Station 2.0 is an easy-to-use security solution for most of the laptops on the market, offering stout construction, an adjustable noninvasive design and cross-brand compatibility that most other lock solutions can't offer.
While you can opt for product-specific options that are sleeker and less expensive, such as the Maclocks Blade or the KGear MacBook Pro Universal Lock Bracket, these alternatives have their own drawbacks and will work with only one device.
If your laptop doesn't have a lock slot already installed, the Kensington Laptop Locking Station 2.0 is a great choice, particularly for anyone needing to secure different laptops at different times.
Image Credit: Kensington