Microsoft billed the Surface Pro 2017 as the "most versatile laptop" ever with its tablet, laptop, and studio modes. But one thing it didn't offer was a desktop mode.
Now Surface Pro users can add a portable desktop mode to the picture with the foldable, carbon-fiber Surface Stand, designed by UK civil engineer and product developer Rory Flanagan, who's pitching it as an ergonomic answer to long hours staring down at a laptop.
The Surface Stand is a premium accessory for the Surface Pro and will be available to backers for $125 on crowdfunding site Indiegogo this week. The stand can be used with the Surface Pro 2017 model, Surface Pro 4, Surface Pro 3, and Surface Go.
The main benefit of the foldable Surface Stand is that it can raise a Surface Pro to eye level, encouraging the user to look straight ahead rather than down towards the device when it's in laptop mode.
The stand obviously won't stop anyone from slouching, but it could encourage users to work with a better posture. Generally, it could be more comfortable to look at the screen when working for long stretches.
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The stand is designed for mobility and can be folded away to become a 0.25-inch (6mm) thick rectangular plate. When folded it measures 8.5in x 8.25in x 0.25in (215mm x 210mm x 6mm).
Using carbon fiber, Flanagan has ended up with a product weighing 0.7lb (311gm), meaning Surface Pro owners seeking a mobile desktop experience would need to carry a total weight of about 1.1kg, excluding the keyboard and mouse.
In desktop mode the stand unravels into a tall and slim structure, with the Surface Pro held in place via grips secured to the device's kickstand.
That's why the Surface Stand doesn't work with the more widely sold iPad Pro, and that's fine with Flanagan, who told ZDNet he wanted to make a "niche" exclusively for Surface Pro and Surface Go users.
Desktop mode was designed primarily for use with a keyboard. Flanagan said it would "wobble slightly" if the screen was touched in this mode, and this shove test suggests it should be resilient to accidental knocks and bumps.
The shove test suggests the stand should resist accidental knocks. Source: Rory Flanagan/YouTube
Besides, tablet mode would be a better option when using touch. The stand locks into a triangle structure with an apex that wedges between the Surface Pro and its kickstand.
Finally, there's also a portrait mode for using with a pen, which adds another fixed mode that isn't available without the stand.
Microsoft is tipped to be overhauling the design of the forthcoming Surface Pro 6, so it remains to be seen whether the Surface Stand will work with it.
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