I spend an inordinate amount of time every day in front of my overlord master, my laptop. When I started suffering from a series of headaches recently, I knew something was amiss. I rarely get headaches, and when I do, they naturally go away within a day. Not this time around though. Eventually, I visited the doctor and her diagnosis was simple: stop hunching over at your desk like a blind penguin.
I decided it was time to buy into the laptop stand craze. I always thought that the target audience were people who wanted to use their laptops as a second monitor alongside their desktops. While this is a predominant case for most users, there are some people who use laptop stands to fix their posture while at their desk. Hey, that sounds like me!
Finally purchased a laptop stand (mStand) along with Apple keyboard and trackpad. My posture will thank me for it.
— Tony Hue (@tonykhue) March 30, 2013
The mStand is made completely of aluminum and has a very solid finish. In fact, it has a unibody design, just like Apple laptops which the company markets as the primary laptops their stand is designed for.
The surface of the stand is smooth and polished, almost like it was an extension of a Macbook. When positioned on your desk, it looks like a sideways “U” with its top inclined about twenty degrees. Rubber pads also adorn the corners atop the stand, preventing scratches to your laptop.
There is also a circular opening at the rear intended for organizing your cables. I didn’t even realize that was its purpose until Joseph asked me about it during our most recent podcast. Since I already use a Quirky Cordies to manage my cables, I don’t really see an advantage using this alternative.
But, what about the ergonomics??
You might’ve seen one of these diagrams from articles about ergonomic design. They say you need the top of your computer screen the match the height of your line of sight, with your elbows sitting at ninety-degree angles. That guy you see on the left photo? Yeah, that was me.
With the mStand, it raises the height of your laptop approximately six inches. Unfortunately for you super tall folks out there, you won’t be able to adjust the height of the stand. Time to take out those old, dusty SAT books in your attic and put them to good use finally!
Sitting for the first time at my desk with my laptop resting on the mStand, I didn’t have the inclination to hunch forward and crane my neck to look at the screen. The screen also felt closer although the distance hadn’t changed much.
While my neck is certainly enjoying the new setup, I can’t say the same for my wrists. Since I don’t have one of those pull-out drawers or lap desks, I place my keyboard and trackpad on my desk. As a result, my elbows tend to be positioned at an angle less than ninety degrees. Since my wrists sit on the edge of the table when I type, I do feel a bit of discomfort after a prolonged period at my desk.
If I had a before and after shot of myself sitting at my desk, I’m pretty sure it would be pretty identical to the diagram.
Don’t forgot the keyboard and mouse
If you decide to purchase a laptop stand, you would need to have a keyboard and mouse to go along with it. Otherwise, your arms are going to feel like lead after ten minutes trying to type with your arms raised in the air.
I’ve been using the Apple keyboard at work for over a year now and it’s easily the best keyboard I’ve ever used.
The choice for my mouse was somewhat more difficult. I’m a huge fan of the trackpad on the MacBook Pro. Gestures are so easy to master and intuitive that using a mouse became a thing of the past for me. I didn’t want to depart from the trackpad though, but fortunately, I didn’t have to. So, I ended up getting the Magic Trackpad which also has bluetooth capability like the keyboard and is 80% larger in surface area than the trackpad on MacBooks.
A neat thing about the mStand is that when you’re done using your laptop, you can simply place your keyboard and mouse in the open space under your laptop. Charging your phone? Just tuck it under your mStand!
Stop hunching over like a T-Rex trying to tie its shoes and fix your posture once and for all. Although Rain Design says that the stand is designed primarily for Apple laptops, you can fit any laptop with a maximum depth of 10.4″.
The mStand currently retails for $45 on Amazon. There is also another newer model called the mStand 360 which, you guessed it, lets you swivel your stand in a circular motion. That version is a bit pricier and will set you back $60.