For the past couple of weeks, I've experienced a significant reduction in the weariness and stiffness I normally associate with spending many hours working on my laptop when seated at a desk. This relief has come thanks to a new aluminum desktop stand I've been using made by LapWorks, the same people who make the Laptop Desk I wrote about some time ago. Like the laptop desk, the new portable aluminum desktop stand solves two problems that plague those of us who use notebook PCs – heat and ergonomics.
Where the laptop desk is designed as a portable solution that can also be used on a desk, the new aluminum stand is a solution dedicated to working at your desk. It is portable and easily packed into a computer bag for shuttling between home and office or even when traveling. But unlike the Laptop Desk, which is constructed from high density plastics designed to shield your lap from the heat and "tippiness" issues inherent in balancing a notebook PC on your lap, the aluminum stand focuses on ergonomics first and foremost.
The aluminum stand provides six angles of tilt to provide a range of options for both direct typing and for elevating the notebook screen to eye level when used in conjunction with a separate keyboard and mouse. The base incorporates a 360-degree turntable which make swiveling the notebook easy. At my desk, I find the second level of inclination perfect for allowing me to keep my hands and wrists in a much more natural and comfortable position. As you can see from the product photo, the stand also provides cutouts to assist with cable routing.
I've experimented with the separate keyboard and mouse arrangement but frankly I am quite fond of the keyboards on both the MacBook and the Lenovo ThinkPad X60t Tablet PC and prefer them to the desktop keyboard I currently have on hand. The flexibility is very nice though as switching configurations takes seconds.
While ergonomic benefits are the primary benefit you'll get from using this stand, the cooling effect of the stand should not go unremarked. Both of my notebooks run considerably cooler on this stand and the heat reduction is nearly as good as what I achieve with a cooling plate with USB-powered fans. The big win, ergonomics notwithstanding, is that I don't have to put up with the drone of the fans in the cooling plate. And, as bot the MacBook and Lenovo X60t tend to get rather warm after a few hours of use, the heat reduction is most welcome.
According to the product page:
Aluminum dissipates heat quickly, keeping your laptop cooler. A thermal study conducted for LapWorks by the California Polytechnic University at Pomona concluded that the Aluminum Desktop Stand reduces heat build-up by up to 23% by virtue of its heat-absorbing aluminum as well as the incline which allows heat to escape. As an example, a laptop placed on the Aluminum Desktop Stand on the steep, 37° incline that raises the screen by 6 inches ran 27 degrees cooler (88 compared to 115 degrees at maximum temperature) than the same laptop set flat on a desk.
Through the end of May, the aluminum desktop stand is on sale for $59.95, a $10.00 savings on the standard price. The stand comes with a nice neoprene bag for transport which can be used as a mouse pad in your hotel room or other location as well. If you find yourself hunching over your notebook PC when working at your desk (or kitchen table), this might be just the ticket to take a lot of strain off your neck and shoulders.