If you've been shopping around for a desk or stand for your notebook computer and are feeling a little overwhelmed, you're not alone. It's a confusing market and you can easily make a wrong decision and then go through the hassle of returning the product and waiting for your credit to come through.
Before you go looking, make sure you know what your requirements are. Ask yourself how you're going to use your notebook and where you're going to use it. Will you be screen sharing with friends? Will you be using your notebook on your lap, at your desk or a little of both.
Will your notebook desk be traveling with you? Or will it be used exclusively at your desk? These are questions you need to answer in advance before you go looking.
Our aim is to help you better understand the universe of Lap Desks and Desk Stands so you can become a well informed consumer and make better buying decisions about these products as they apply to your own particular needs.
As we see it there are five basic categories of Lap Desks and Desktop Stands to consider when you're shopping around:
2.Desktop Typing Stands
3.Desktop Replacement Stands
5.Pedestal Desk Stand
Each category is explained below in further detail and are defined generically without giving preference to any particular product or brand.
The First Category is LAP DESKS (LD)
Lap Desks are flat rigid platforms that span the lap completely allowing the users legs to relax in a naturally comfortable position. This is more important for men because they usually sit with their legs further apart requiring a full, lap spanning LD measuring 20" to 21" long. There are two basic kinds of Lap Desks, stationary and portable. Stationary LD are bulkier and usually padded for long term use in an office or home environment. Portable LD are thinner, light weight and built for mobility. A portable LD should also have some no-slip surfaces or rubber bumpers to prevent slipping. For mobile use, a LD should be thin and lightweight so as not to add to the thickness or heft of the computer bag. The LD should allow for ventilation under the notebook so it has the ability to breathe. Finally, a portable LD should NOT incline the notebook's keyboard because it will force the user to bend their wrists upward which will certainly cause or at least contribute to Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.
The Second Category is DESKTOP TYPING STANDS (DTS)
Desktop Typing Stands are used on a desk top or table top to incline the keyboard and for elevating the screen height closer to eye level to create the best ergonomic typing position possible. An ideal DTS will also have multiple incline positions to select from rather than one fixed position. DTS's with a fixed incline force your body to adjust to it rather than the other way around. DTS's can also have useful features like USB-powered fans, 4-port USB hubs and some even swivel 360°. Some DTS fold flat for storage while those in a fixed shape are too thick and bulky to carry in a computer bag. A DTS should also provide no-slip surfaces or rubber bumpers to prevent slipping and to serve as separators between the notebook and the surface of the DTS. The DTS does not have to be larger than the footprint of the notebook providing that it has rubber bumpers to separate the bottom of the notebook from the surface of the DTS for cooling and ventilation.
The Third Category is DESKTOP REPLACEMENT STANDS (DRS)
Desktop Replacement Stands incline the notebook in a 40° to 45° angle and elevate the viewing screen to the proper viewing height which is at or just below eye level. This incline makes it impossible for direct typing so a separate keyboard and mouse are required for data entry. DRS have become the next generation of "Docking Station" since the notebook is quickly replacing the desktop computer. The old style docking station is expensive and outdated and a DRS with useful features like USB-powered fans, 4-port USB hubs and a 360° swivel have become their modern replacement. As above, no-slip surfaces or rubber bumpers are essential for gripping and for separating the notebook from the surface of the DRS. Most DRS have a support shelf that the notebook sits on to hold it in place. Make sure that the DRS you select has a support shelf wide enough to provide a stable platform for your notebook. The DRS should also have a wide enough base so it is stable and not wobbly.
The Fourth Category is OFF-THE-LAP STANDS (OTLS)
Off-The-Lap Stands are free standing platforms with a set of adjustable articulating or multiple-hinged legs that can be positioned into dozens if not hundreds of heights and incline positions. These OTLS are ideal for supporting a notebook in a mid-air position on a sofa or easy chair. OTLS are well suited for the bed-ridden but can be used as bed trays. They are also excellent when used on the floor where the user can set the leg adjustments so that the notebook is positioned at a comfortable typing and viewing level. These OTLS are more complicated to set-up but once the mechanics are mastered, they can become a valuable and most versatile notebook companion.
And the Firth Category is PEDESTAL DESK STANDS (PDS)
Pedestal Desk Stands is the final category and are typified by a flat platform with a single pedestal leg or a tripod leg support. Many of these designs have telescoping legs that can fold flat and some attach to a wheeled travel case. This form factor is the least popular of all the desk stands listed above but does have a practical application if you have a need for its type.
There are other miscellaneous types of desk stand but their numbers are so few we're not going to mention them here. The five categories mentioned above represent 98% of all notebook desks and stands on the market today.
As you can see from the above descriptions, these five basic categories of desk stands can serve to reduce the health hazards for both you and your notebook. They can also enhance the user experience and allow you to be more productive. We hope this summary has helped you better understand these products so you can become a well informed consumer and make better decisions about notebook desks and stand as they apply to your own particular needs and lifestyle. Good luck.
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