Help, I need a new laptop stand

May 01, 2008

For the past four years I've been using an iLap to keep my laptop away from, you know, my lap, but a few weeks ago I decided to pick up an Allsop Cool Channel Platform. I had been looking for a new stand for a while, and just happened to notice the Allsop model while waiting in line to return the BlueAnt Z9.

While there was nothing particularly wrong with the iLap, I was getting a bit bored with it (yeah, I know, I know, it's a laptop stand), and I've found the front pad, which connects to the stand by velcro, pretty annoying all along (something I kind of touched on in my original iLap piece). The whole setup never felt very solid, yet for whatever reason I stuck with it for years.

As far as the Allsop platform goes, it's generally alright, but definitely suffers from some problems, especially if you are using a MacBook Air.

My favorite feature of the stand, and indeed the main reason I bought it, is the "lip" in the front, intended to keep your notebook from slipping off the platform.1 This feature allows you much more freedom to place the laptop in various positions on your lap, stomach, etc., and knowing that it can't slip off the front is pretty liberating. The problem though is that the platform just isn't rigid enough; it bends very easily. In fact, with just the lightweight Air resting on it, and it on a slightly less than perfectly flat surface (e.g., your lap a lot of the time), it will bend. This desire to bend, coupled with the Air's super-low profile, means that the front of the Air often finds itself on top of the lip, instead of behind it, which obviously completely defeats its purpose.

I've also had a problem with heat dissipation, even though Allsop says the platform "uses a non-slip woven surface with engineered channels for passive air circulation to help keep your notebook computer cool." With the Air, the heat vents are located on the bottom of the notebook, near the back where it starts to curve. Because the platform is slightly cushioned, and because the Air's feet are very short, the entire bottom of the Air tends to touch the surface of the platform, which inhibits the heat's dispersion. My Air tends to run 10-15 degrees hotter when on the platform (as opposed to a table). So, while it does keep the heat away from your lap, it actually causes the Air to become hotter than it otherwise would.

Long story short, I need a new laptop stand. Any recommendations?

  1. The iLap effectively has a lip (i.e., the front pad extends above the top of the metal), but given the annoying velcro fastener and that the front pad is easily disturbed even when it is on a perfectly flat surface, the lip just isn't very sound.   

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