When my family attended the 2011 Linux Fest, I needed to find a way to use my laptop for long stretches of time without looking down to read the screen. The solution, of course, was a laptop stand. I’d used one before, but it was a cheap and clunky model I used around the house. For the trip, I needed something portable and affordable. What I settled on was an iPad/laptop stand, similar to The Cricket but much more affordable.
My favorite thing about the stand is it’s portability. It folds up and fits into a small cloth bag that can be easily stored in a purse or backpack. When needed, pushing on the round button at the top allows the user to unfold the device. When completely open, it has one back leg, and two front legs that split and extend to hold the laptop. The back leg can be adjusted, allowing the laptop screen to be displayed at different heights. Considering the price, it’s remarkably sturdy.
During the conference, the kickstand performed beautifully. Set up was a breeze, and the product was both sturdy and functional – not to mention just a bit cute. I don’t hesitate to recommend this product.
In my quest for new and more ergonomic ways to write with my laptop, I’ve come across The Airflow Lapdesk. Since writing in bed is something I’ve desperately missed since my neck and arm pain started, finding this at the local Barnes and Noble seemed like serendipity. Whether or not this works as a viable way to write in bed without excruciating pain remains to be seen over time.
Since early 2011 I’ve had chronic neck and arm pain, most likely due to poor posture, especially when I do activities that involve looking down and using my hands – such as knitting (which I’ve given up) and typing on my laptop (which I haven’t). I mention this simply because the pain lessons when I work ergonomically, which makes it a great gauge for how ergonomic a product is.
What initially attracted me to this product was the way the desk can tilt up to raise the laptop screen. The most ergonomic position to type in, at least for me, seems to be with my arms bent at a 90 degree angle for typing and the screen positioned so that I can look straight ahead. When I look down, that puts stress on my neck, resulting in pain if I stay in that position for longer than a few minutes. And while there are tricks to working with a laptop without having to look down, this lapdesk doesn’t quite cut it. The screen is higher, yes, but not high enough. Still, I can keep my head positioned properly and just look down slightly (like someone wearing bifocals).
Another nice feature is the built-in fan for keeping the laptop from overheating. Though my computer’s gotten hot in the past, it’s never overheated. However, the fan is quiet and it does keep my lap nice and cool. The cushion on the bottom is attached with velcro, making it removable for easy cleaning. The detachable mouse platform can be attached for use on the left or right side, and also stored inside the desk itself when not in use.
So, after testing this product, what is my recommendation? After using the desk for a couple hours, I experience a little tenderness in my neck, but that varies with how I position myself. When using a Bed Rest Pillow along with the desk, my arms rest at a slightly downward angle from 90 degrees and the screen is a bit too low but manageable (as long as I keep my head positioned properly). It’s possible to sit at a comfortable angle and write much more ergonomically than just sitting in bed typing on a conventional lapdesk. And while the price is a bit high, the versatility of being able to write in a semi-reclining position makes the cost worthwhile.