has been contacted by TwelveSouth which alleges that the stand reviewed here is a copy of their Parcslope product. We're investigating.
Sure, you still take your laptop out on the road with you, and of course you're writing on it in meetings, coffee shops, airports and anywhere you can hold you knees out roughly horizontally. Yet just as we call them laptops while rarely daring to leave them on top of our laps for very long, so these most portable of computers is often left plugged in at one single place. MacBooks have replaced Macs for many, and when you are using them as your sole machine, it does help to have something like the Kit Aluminium Notebook Stand, which is currently only available in the UK.
It isn't essential. You've gone long enough just popping your MacBook down on a desk and working away just fine. True, that gorgeously ergonomic keyboard is slightly thrown by being on a desk that's higher than you're used to. True, you are hunching those shoulders over a bit much while you stare down at the screen below your head height. Still, there's always yoga.
Ergonomics aside, you are going to carry on using the laptop wherever you can -- because that's how you work, and that's what they're for -- but when you can do something to make them easier to use, you make them easier to use for extended periods. This stand is a single solid piece of aluminium with a rubber cushioned lip at the front, and ledge at the back. You just rest your MacBook on the lip, and it sits on the ledge, holding the machine at a decent angle for viewing.
We're torn over whether it's a great angle for writing. Perhaps because we're currently also adoring the exceptionally low-slung new Apple Magic Keyboard, the idea of holding out hands up at this angle to use the MacBook on a stand seems steep. Yet at the very least, it's workable for as long as typing on your lap used to be, and it does present the screen at a much better height for your neck.
However, where this is really worth getting is when you either have a problem with the MacBook, or you are using it as a true desktop replacement, where you plug other devices into it. So for instance, we tried it with a very road-worn MacBook Pro, whose keyboard has many faulty keys. We popped it up onto this stand, and put that same Apple Magic Keyboard in front of it. Paired them together, and this stand felt like it revived the old MacBook. If we'd just used the Magic Keyboard sitting in front of the MacBook on the level, it would've felt awkwardly far from the screen, and we'd be reaching over the keyboard to the trackpad a lot.
We could instead plug in an old wired mouse, or pair up the new Magic Trackpad, too. While we didn't go so far as to chain hard drives to the MacBook and run an external monitor from it, we could. In that case, you could close your MacBook lid and still use it as a computer -- but if you're going to do that, you don't need a stand to hold it on. You won't even be looking at the MacBook until the next time you go to move it, so anywhere on the desk within range of the wired and Bluetooth connectors is fine.
So we couldn't claim that the stand is essential, or life-changing, but it's very useful -- and we found an unexpected extra use during testing. It's rated as being for "most notebooks and laptops including Apple, Sony and Asus," but we popped our iPad Air on it too. It's slightly too shallow an angle to make that a brilliant extra tool for working on, but alongside our regular Mac it was particularly handy to have that second screen to refer to.
Kit Aluminium Notebook Stand is 240mm (9.45 inches) by 210mm (8.27 inches) x 65mm (2.56 inches), and at time of writing is available from the official site or Amazon UK for £30 (approximately $46).
Who is Kit Aluminium Notebook Stand for:
It's useful if you're going to be regularly using your MacBook in one place, at one desk. It's particularly useful if you want to raise the screen to a better level, and plug in extras like hard drives, scanners, printers and the like.
Who is Kit Aluminium Notebook Stand not for:
If the entire reason you bought a MacBook was because you're never in one place long enough to let your coffee get cold, this is handy, but it's another thing to carry in that stripped-down luggage of yours.
-- William Gallagher (@WGallagher
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