Date: Monday, September 30th, 2002, 06:25
We love our Apple laptops for their portability, but for many of us they’re also our primary machine at our desks. Wouldn’t it be great if a laptop could match the ergonomics of a desktop? I’ve been testing the Lapvantage Dome for just over a week now, and nothing would convince me to go back to my old way of working. This is the ultimate desk accessory for anyone with a mobile machine as their primary machine.
The design inspiration for the Lapvantage dome is clear: the base apes the dome and monitor arm design of the newest iMacs. The primary advantage is height. Sitting a laptop directly on your desk can make you bend your neck to see it, which is dangerous ergonomically. The Lapvantage quotes a study that suggests placing your screen at or just below eye level. I personally found it much easier on my neck and eyes to have the additional height, and best of all, this allowed me to put my PowerBook G4’s screen level with my second monitor, making a dual monitor configuration much more practical. And, of course, with a stand it’s finally possible to add a better quality full-size keyboard with a complete numeric keyboard. I added my personal favorite, the Snow-colored Apple Pro Keyboard. (Lapvantage has a store full of suggested accessories which takes advantage of Amazon’s new free shipping policy.) The added height even helped untangle the mess of cords coming out of the back of my ‘Book.
The Lapvantage is the first stand I’ve seen that is concerned about not only your health, but your laptop’s health, too. Many stands place the base of the laptop at extreme angles — some even mount the base almost vertically. This is extremely dangerous to internal components. Apple recommends against operating the PowerBook G4 at an angle greater than 10 degrees from level. Greater angles can cause wear and tear on the platter of the hard drive, for example, causing early failure. (Not good!) The Lapvantage Dome keeps the machine quite level, and it includes good-sized rubber feet to allow ample ventilation beneath the machine for cooling (something else Apple techs warn about, particularly in the case of the G4). I’ve seen a lot of other designs, and the Lapvantage seems to be the optimal design.
I can’t overstate the beauty of the Lapvantage’s construction, either. The plexiglass base is absolutely gorgeous, and everything feels very solid. If I have any complaint about the design at all, it’s that the base seems to be underutilized in the design. The dome is large enough that it feels like you should be able to use it as storage, or, better yet, have Lapvantage add a model with an integrated USB hub. It’s not hard to imagine a “pro” model of the stand adding more features. Since I already own two USB hubs which tuck nicely behind the stand, though, this is a minor complaint.
There’s no question in my mind: save your money, cure your desktop envy and keep your ‘Book as your primary machine with the Lapvantage Dome. My only problem is now I don’t want to have to leave my desk! The basic dome is US$49.95; a deluxe $79.95 model (which I tested) adds the plexiglass top, adjustable height, and swiveling capability. Both are available direct.