Company: Conotour Design
When I first received this device, I had to ask myself “Why do I need this?” The idea seemed a bit strange to me. You buy a laptop computer, and then you use this device to basically turn it into a fancy desktop computer, which means I have to add an additional external keyboard and mouse? I did not get it, if I wanted a desktop computer, I would have bought one. And then I bought and started using my 17” PowerBook, and the benefits of such a device started to become more obvious.
For one thing, today’s laptop computers run very hot. My PowerBook’s internal temperature can reach easily over 125 degreed Fahrenheit during normal operation. And when this happens, the keyboard and palm rests also become very hot, almost too hot to continue working. Sitting flat on the desk, the machine tends to get very little air circulation around the unit, so I thought getting it off a flat surface might help. In addition, while I bought this PowerBook to use while I travel, I do find myself using it at a desk a lot more often than while traveling. And if you are like me and this IS your main machine, then this device makes even more sense for you. I spend a good deal of time sitting at a desk and working on my laptop, placing me in one of the worst ergonomic positions one can sit to work. So I decided to try the NoteRiser out.
The unit comes packed very flat, and can be flattened again for carrying in a suitcase or briefcase to use in multiple locations. At 11.8” wide, 10.63”deep, and only .16” thick, and at less than 1 pound, it will not be a burden to carry either. To use, you simply lift and lock two front tabs which act as forward, PADDED computer rests (the front edge of the computer sits against them), and then raise the angle of the base by moving the “adjustment tongue” to set the tilt angle between 20 and 55 degrees.
That’s it! Simply place your laptop on top against the pads, plug in your keyboard and mouse, adjust and your screen now sits at a more comfortable and correct viewing angle, distance, and height. The NoteRiser not only places your screen at the correct location, but also allows you to place the external keyboard at a more correct ergonomic position as well, so overall you reduce neck, back, shoulder, arm, wrist and eye strain while using your computer at a desk. That alone is a good thing.
And for me, the computer dropped about 5 degrees sitting raised up like this so that air could circulate about it. The NoteRiser is made of an ultra thin and lightweight metal that should also bleed off some of the excess heat too. And once I got use to using an external keyboard, I found the higher screen position to be much more easy on the eyes.
This device can also be “integrated ”to the laptop. While these additional parts were not included with my trial unit, these additional strips allow you to attach the NoteRiser in a quasi-permanent way to the bottom of the laptop. I was not able to test this method, but would probably not do this on my machine anyway as the battery access door is on the bottom and this type of install would make access to the battery impossible.
While this unit does work with my 17” PowerBook, it was not ideal. First off, one of the little front rest pad sits inconveniently in front of the slot loading DVD drive, making the drive useless without lifting up the computer each time. Secondly, the 17” has a very cool back-lit keyboard which is no longer used in this configuration…what a waste. And while I did not feel as if it would fall, the extra weight and width of this large PowerBook computer did make the unit seem a bit unstable sitting on the stand. A 12” and 15” PowerBook should have no stability problem, but drive access to front loading drives will be a problem.
While the NoteRiser has 5 soft pads on the bottom as to not damage the desk surface (especially when installed permanently, when raised, the back “foot”, which raises the computer has no such soft padding on it. This means a rounded, but still sharp, metallic edge is now holding up the entire weight of your computer on your desk surface. In my case, this DID scratch the wood surface of my table. Given the padding everywhere else on this device, this was a stupid oversight that just damaged my desk. Lastly, using the laptop while sitting on this device is not easy or recommended, and an external keyboard and mouse is a must.
My only other issue is with the price, which I felt was a bit steep for such a simple, small device. While this is a great concept, and putting a price on a proper ergonomic set-up is difficult, I felt the $130 price, given that I must also buy an external mouse and keyboard, was about twice what it should cost, but you will have to be the judge of that.
More information can be found at http://www.contourdesign.com