At first glance, the Bluelounge SpaceStation is a dock-of-all-trades: It has four USB 2.0 ports, a cable management system, a page holder, a business card slot, and an ergonomic wedge for notebooks. Unfortunately, while we like the minimalist design, we wish taking advantage of its organizational features were a little easier.
Make Some Room
At over two feet wide and 4.3 inches deep, the SpaceStation requires a good chunk of, well, space. We had to clear our desk before we could even get started. Available in all black or white with a black top, it has a rubber surface with smooth sides. We like the futuristic look, but it's cheaply made: We had barely taken it out of the box when we noticed the rubber peeling off.
On the underbelly, you'll find six pairs of cable management pins, four USB ports, and a short, built-in USB cable. The SpaceStation also comes with an AC adapter to supply the ports with power. Lining the edges of the SpaceStation are grooves into which you can place notes and business cards to read at a glance.
Awkward Port Access
The four USB ports are meant to replace an external hub. When you plug in, say, your iPod's proprietary cable, wind it around the cable management pins, and leave a short tail hanging out, you can rest your iPod on the rubber surface, tangle-free. The problem is that accessing these ports means tilting the SpaceStation forward to expose its underside. This is a pain when your notebook--and your other USB-powered gadgets--are resting on top of it. We wish the USB ports were built into the sides as they are on notebooks, even though more cables would be exposed.
We felt comfortable typing when we rested the back of our notebook atop the 1.8-inch-thick platform, but we didn't prefer this to our normal typing experience. In addition, the SpaceStation claims to cool notebooks since the raised surface allows air to pass underneath. Not so. Halfway through playing a two-hour movie on ourFujitsu LifeBook P8010, we rested it on the ledge; after half an hour we didn't notice any difference in the notebook's temperature.
Although the SpaceStation does a good job hiding USB cables, the benefit of having a more organized workspace is mitigated by the dock's girth and hidden USB ports, which are a pain to access. Moreover, we would hope that a peripheral this expensive would be better made.