Belkin CushTop

May 11, 2008

Earlier this month I wrote about my quest for a new laptop stand, and commented on the stand I had recently purchased, the Allsop Cool Channel Platform. I also referenced the iLap, which I had been using for years, despite some fairly serious flaws.

While the Allsop was OK, I very quickly resigned myself to continuing the hunt for a better solution. Just a few days after publishing that piece, I came across the Belkin CushTop, and while I had seen it many times before, it always struck me as a bit too bulky and cumbersome, but this time I decided to give it a shot, and I'm really glad I did.

There's no getting around the fact that it's a little large, but I'm here to tell you that it works very well besides. In fact, I liked it so much, that after just one night's use I picked up another so that I could have one at my girlfriend's place when I was over there.

I was worried that the fabric covering the CushTop would not be sticky enough to keep the MacBook Air from sliding around on its four rubber feet, but the Air actually sticks to it really well, which allows you to work in a lot of different positions; in other words, you don't have to sit perfectly still with the stand flat against your thighs, but rather have some real freedom to move around a bit.

Part of its large volume has to be attributed to its slightly unusual height, but that it's so tall is actually good for a couple of reasons. The first is that the heat from the bottom of the laptop is that much further away from your body; this, coupled with the inch-plus hole in the middle of the CushTop, means that you feel no heat from the notebook. Very nice.

The other advantage of the increased height is that the screen is moved closer to your plane of sight (i.e., you don't have to bend your neck as much), and with protracted use this can make a huge difference. As a corollary, the keyboard is also raised a significant amount (when compared to other stands, which usually raise the back of the laptop much more than the front); while some people might not like the extra height, I actually prefer it — I can generally type faster and for longer periods of time when the keyboard is raised a few inches above my lap.

After using the CushTop for a few days, I'm no longer actively searching for a new laptop stand (that's right, all of you can breathe a heavy sigh of relief, and sleep well knowing the hunt is over — my gift to you).

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