Not long ago I reviewed a simple black plastic swiveling laptop stand which really impressed me because it made using my Toshiba Satellite more ergonomic?as it was kept?cool. My only real complaints against that economical (<$10) solution was that it wobbled a bit, and the front retaining lip blocked the Toshiba’s SD card slot. I no longer have the Toshy, it’s been replaced by my much loved Fuji T4215, but wouldn’t you know it? The Fuji also has an SD slot, as well as jacks for the microphone and earphones located on the front lower edge. I eventually found it too aggravating to keep slipping my laptop in and out of that particular desktop stand, so my Fuji has been sitting flat on my desk – which has not exactly been an ideal situation considering that I’ve caught myself hunching a bit when seated in front of it…and yes, the T4215 can sure crank out some heat!
So today I am going to show you a product that has solved my problems, and that has earned a permanent spot on my desktop as well as in my gear bag when I am traveling. I’m talking about the LapWorks Aluminum Desktop Stand, a collapsible, portable, and ingeniously designed bit metal origami that may just be the best designed laptop desk that I have ever reviewed. Intrigued? Let’s take a look…
I’m not sure if the plain paper package my stand arrived in is the actual retail packaging or not, but here’s what my box looked like.
Inside is a clear plastic sleeve which contains instructions…
…the LapWorks Aluminum Desktop Stand in it’s neoprene storage case (which can also double as a mouse pad)…
…and four rubber pads to be used for creating “a secure and no-slip surface on the Aluminum Desktop Stand for your notebook computer. This last step is set aside so you can position the rubber pads to best suit your specific needs.” These little pads are not only there for their non-slip properties, they will also create an air space between the laptop’s bottom and the stand, which will aid in more efficient cooling.
This is the Aluminum Desktop Stand. It looks so simple and unassuming, doesn’t it? Just wait…
Measuring a scrawny 12″ wide x 9.5″ deep x 0.5″ thick when closed, and weighing just one pound five ounces, it is easily packable and will slide into almost any laptop bag without being a space hog.
The underside has a 8.5″ diameter black plastic, low profile swivel base which will allow the laptop to be rotated on the base 360 degrees. This is very handy in presentations or when you have someone sharing the desk with you, and they want to see what you’ve been working on. You can just swivel it over and show them. 🙂
An 11.75″ piano hinge on the stand’s spine opens to reveal two swinging bases that have been cut out of the a single flap connected by a second aluminum piano hinge.
On the base, a third piano hinge secures a U-shaped doodad that flips up and through the two oblong holes on the top panel… to create a clever non-slip base that will hold the bottom of your laptop. On the end of each 1.6″ long flat “peg” is a black rubber gasket which provides a non-slip break to keep the laptop from sliding off the pegs. The pegs stick out a generous 1.5″ from the stand’s base, which will allow even the weirdest shaped laptop bottom to fit securely.
There are six height settings to choose from, three of which are made for using an external keyboard. They involve the longer leg flap, which can be placed in one of the three retaining brackets built into the base, the maximum attainable angle is a 45?.
The other three heights are achieved by using the shorter leg in one of the three retaining brackets; these heights are specifically for raising the laptop’s keyboard and screen to a more ergonomic height.
And the best part?
All of the laptop’s sides and back are completely unobstructed when it’s on this stand…
…including the lower front panel, which holds my often used SD card reader and the T4215’s (underwhelming)??speakers. Even the (seldom used) microphone and headphone jacks can be easily accessed, it’s just a matter of adjusting how the laptop is perched. 🙂
Typing on the Desktop Stand when it’s in it’s lowest position is my favorite; I notice that my shoulders aren’t as hunched, a fact that I am sure my massage therapist will appreciate. Of course better ergonomics are only part of the stand’s benefits, the other major one is improved cooling – which is very important when dealing with these heat producing laptops! Although my non-scientific?testing brought me to the conclusion that my laptop was keeping much cooler by being in?its raised position with air flowing beneath (versus sitting flat on a wooden desk while belching out steam), there is a much more precise Thermal Study which was conducted by the California Polytechnic University of Pomona, which “concluded that the Aluminum Desktop Stand reduced heat build-up by up to 23% by virtue of its heat-absorbing aluminum as well as the incline which allows heat to escape.”
These extra pictures are for reader Rajkumar, who?posted a comment asking how the stand would work with a Tablet PC in tablet mode. The tallest setting, at 45?, is almost slanted enough to comfortably use view while using an external keyboard, but it does angle back a bit more than I would like.
As you can see here, there is no problem with stability – the T4215 is held securely on the two pegs.
Using the stand?may actually work for you when giving presentations and?when standing and?working from the tablet, but the viewing angle seems just a little off when trying to sit in front of it and type from an external keyboard.
A possible solution would be to prop the tablet up a bit by placing something between it and the stand, but since the deivce isn’t specifically marketed as a tablet stand, I certianly can’t be too disappointed that it won’t quite work (without possible modifications)?in that capacity.
So there you have it: ingenious design, portable size, better ergonomic design, and much better heat diffusion…what more do you need? This is a stand that I can easily recommend to anyone with up to a 17″ screen laptop. The fact that it looks so good, and perfectly matches my Fuji (and I would daresay up to 90% of the other laptops on the market), is just a side benefit. Give LapWorks a gold star, this one deserves it!
The LapWorks Aluminum Desktop Stand is available directly from the manufacturer’s website.
What I Like: Ingenious design; lightweight and collapsible – totally portable; adjusts to six different levels; allows air to circulate under the laptop and heat to disperse
What Needs Improvement: Nothing – the Aluminum Desktop Stand gets a gold star!