Twelve South HiRise for MacBook Review

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At present my only computer is a 15″ MacBook Pro with Retina display. I love it.

Similarly, Elana’s only computer is an 11″ MacBook air. She loves it.

When Elana works on her MBA, she always does so with the computer sitting atop the Rain Design mStand for MacBook I reviewed back in December of 2010. After a full two years of use, it still looks brand new. (Read the review.) Elana loves the fact that the stand lets her raise the screen closer to eye level. And, thanks to a keyboard and mouse, she effectively has a desktop that can be thrown in her bag when she leaves for the day.

I, on the other hand, use my laptop as… a laptop. I place it on the desk or kitchen island and… type. I flirted briefly with the BulletTrain Express Keyboard Platform Judie reviewed some time back but found that it raised the keyboard a bit too much for my comfort. After a short while my hands would begin hurting more than usual. (Read the review.)

From an ergonomic standpoint, leaving my laptop on the kitchen island and working on it for hours was far from ideal. And while I could have used the mStand, I found that, at least for me, its one fixed height and angle wasn’t quite right.

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Things changed when a review sample of Twelve South’s new HiRise for MacBook arrived last week. The HiRise is an adjustable platform that works with any MacBook. It is sleek, refined and, most importantly, it is adjustable. I placed my MBP on it, connected an Apple keyboard and MagicMouse, and suddenly discovered that Elana was right all along; having my notebook on the island itself meant I was always looking down and stressing my neck. Now I’m not.

Let’s take a look.

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From Twelve South:

HiRise for MacBook is a beautifully designed, height-adjustable stand that elevates your laptop to a comfortable desktop. HiRise does what fixed stands can’t do. It lets you set your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air from a few inches, up to a half foot off your desk, which makes it perfect for MacBooks and users of all sizes. You’ll see HiRise as more of an upgrade than an accessory.

The convenience of a laptop with the comfort of a desktop: Made exclusively for MacBook, HiRise elevates your laptop up off your desk, reducing neck strain and creating a more comfortable work setting. Perch your MacBook Pro or Air on HiRise and pair with your favorite wireless keyboard and mouse to create an ultra comfortable, super convenient workstation.

What goes up must come down: When it comes to laptop stands, one height does not fit all. You’ll see what we mean the first time you use HiRise for MacBook. This sleek, brushed metal stand has a spring-loaded stem that lets you easily raise or lower the height to the viewing position most comfortable for you. If you connect your MacBook to an external monitor, you can use HiRise to align the two for the ultimate dual-display setup. Ready to give HiRise a high-five?

One stand for all MacBooks: Whether you’re rocking an 11-inch MacBook Air or a 15-inch MacBook Pro, this height-adjustable stand delivers desktop comfort. HiRise has v-shaped arms that are lined with a soft silicone that grips the base of your Mac. The arms also allow maximum airflow around your laptop. On the bottom of the heavy, metal stand, you’ll find teflon rails that allow you to spin HiRise from side to side without leaving marks on the surface of your desk.

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Let’s talk a bit about the packaging and build-quality. Twelve South is one of those companies that seems to take as much pride in their packaging as Apple. The HiRise came in a heavy presentation box that, when opened, presented the computer stand as if it were a fine piece of art.

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The stand comes as one piece. That means you can pull it out and begin using it immediately. You will, however, want to play with the height adjustment to find the right position that offers the most comfort. (The stand can lift the computer as much as 6 inches.)

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The adjustment is accomplished by using the thumb screw in the back. The screw allows for quick changes but, once locked into place, it secures the stand at that particular height.

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The ability to adjust the stand to a variety of different heights had an added benefit — it means you can align your MacBook with an external display. Talk about gaining extra screen real estate!

And there is another advantage of raising your notebook computer up off a flat surface. I destroyed my 13″ MacBook air when I dumped 14oz of Crystal Light into it. (Fortunately Apple was kind enough to rebuild it and did so without charging me.) More recently Judie, who seems to have not learned the lesson from my example, also had liquid dumped into her MacBook Pro. (It was, fortunately, fine.) The HiRise lifts of the laptop and makes it less likely that a cup, if knocked over, will pour its contents into the device. That’s a good thing. Trust me.

The mStand holds a notebook in place with a slight lip at the bottom that effectively “catches” the front of the notebook. The HiRise has no such lip.

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Instead, the HiRise’s arms are topped with a non-slip material that “catches” the computer and holds it firmly in place. That matters for a few reasons.

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First, it means the HiRise all but disappears once the computer is placed on top of it. That allows for full, undisrupted, access to the notebook.

Second, it means the HiRise can work with any and all MacBooks. It worked fine with Elana’s 11″ Air, but it does just as well with my 15″ MBP. That’s a good thing since this stand is MINE!!!! Unless Elana really wants it …

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The non-slip material grips it so well that, once a computer is placed on it the computer isn’t going anywhere.

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The HiRise is elegant. It looks great. It feels solid. But that’s not what matters. No, what matters is the fact that, once I placed my MBP on it and connected a full-size keyboard and mouse to it, the stand disappeared; my neck strains did too!

So while Twelve South notes the HiRise “elevates the MacBook for improved airflow, cooling and quieter performance”, I’m more focused on what it does for me. And for me this is another Twelve South home run. It is yet another review sample that will see ongoing use in the months to come.

Learn more and order yours here on the company website.

MSRP: $69.99

What I Like: Sturdy; Looks Great; Adjustable; Easy to change the height; Non-slip surface grips your laptop securely; Disappears when in use

What Needs Improvement: Bulky and not easily mobile; Some may hesitate when seeing the $70 price tag

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.

2 Comments on "Twelve South HiRise for MacBook Review"

  1. Hi, great review thank you. Do you prefer the HiRise over the mStand? I’ve just purchased the mStand 360, what’s the HiRise like when typing using the notebooks keyboard?


    • Thanks!

      My wife LOVES the mStand and won’t be giving it up. I, on the other hand, prefer the HiRise. The lack of a front lip and the ability to adjust the height make it the clear winner for me. I have not, however, actually typed on the laptop keyboard or used the trackpad while it is sitting on the stand. One of my wrists is fused so I can’t bend it upward to reach the keyboard when it is raised above the table surface. Sorry I can’t be more help.

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