Lapworks Futura Laptop Desk & Desktop Stand Review

ajmatson - 2007-07-13 09:40:00 in Cooling, Mobile
Category: Cooling, Mobile
Reviewed by: ajmatson   
Reviewed on: July 31, 2007
LapWorks
LapWorks
Price: $29.95

Introduction:

Most people that have used laptops will tell you that one of the biggest drawbacks is the scorching heat that they produce. You're sitting there on a breezy day just surfing the web in a lawn chair, and while it might be comfortable outside your legs are hot enough to cook eggs. Or on the flip side, you are working at your desk with your laptop and have that uncomfortable slouch going on trying to type away on that compact computer. Wouldn't we all like to make our mobile computing experience more comfortable and less painful? Of course we would, and that is where the Futura from LapWorks comes in.

"LapWorks is a design and manufacturing company located in Rancho Cucamonga, California that specializes in products that make working with your notebook computer safer, easier, and more productive." They aim to provide valuable services and resources to help consumers better understand the correct posture when using laptop computers, and to avoid related injuries by instructing on the proper use of these components.

 

Closer Look:

The item came to me packed nice and tightly in a FedEx box, complete with bubble wrap. It is nice to see them take care in packaging their products, because to me that shows they care about their customers and are willing to take that extra step.

 

After we slide the stand out of the packaging we can get a better look at the contents. Included is the stand itself and a cardboard cover which has the instructions to the stand on the back. The instructions show how to set up the stand in the different positions and other posture correcting details for the user.

 

Now without further ado let's take a look at the stand itself. The stand is made from a tough ABS plastic material with rubber mounts spread along the surface to keep the laptop stable and prevent it from sliding off. You can also see the channels that are cut into the material to help keep air flowing instead of getting trapped while the laptop is on the stand. Here are the closed and top views of the cooler.

 

Here is the unit's underside and a close up of the support arm rest.

Closer Look:

Now that we have seen the stand in the open position let's take a look at it in the desktop position. This is the position for you to have the laptop at eye level. This allows the most amount of air flow to keep your laptop cool instead of flat on a desk and also helps the user by correcting their posture while not slouching.

 

Here are the forward looking and side view of the stand in the desk position.

 

The stand is adjustable from three to six inches with five increments so you can position the laptop at the right level for the user. This also allows you to adjust it to increase airflow if needed.The picture on the left is at maximum height and the one on the right one is at the lowest.

 

Now that we have had a look at the stand and the positions that it can be used in let's move on to setting it up for use.

 

Installation:

Even though it seems that there is nothing to setting up the cooler, the instructions that come with the stand are text only. To get a better understanding of how it works let's take a look at how to set it in the different positions with a computer so you can see how exactly how it goes. First we are going to look at the lap position. For this position just open the stand and extend it all the way so that it is flat out like in the first picture below and place it in your lap. Then place your laptop centered on the cooler where it feels the most comfortable to you and open it up for use.

 

Now to put the stand in the desktop position we just take the open position and flip it over. Fold the stand into the clamshell position and extend the support arm. With the support arm extended, finish folding the stand and guide the support arm in the to groove that gives you the desired height.

 

Again place the laptop in the center and open it up. This will give you the air flow you need and the adjustment to keep you in the correct posture to save on physical strain. For added comfort LapWorks recommends using an external mouse and keyboard.

Specifications:

 

Features:

 

Testing:

To put the stand through the test I took it to work with me, where I am on my laptop for about seven of the eight hours I am there. I set up the day into four testing parts. For the first quarter I used the laptop flat on a desk without the cooler. The second quarter was on my lap without the cooler. The third quarter was on the desk in the standing position. The final quarter was on my lap with the cooler. Throughout each test I monitored the CPU and Hard Drive temps while idle and at load using Everest 2.20 Home. To simulate the load I ran a DVD and Photoshop CS3 for 30 minutes while doing a virus sweep using AVG 7.5 Free edition.


Testing Setup:

 

For the first set of tests we have the stand set up in the desk position with the maximum amount of space between the two plates. This was done to have the best cooling space available to see just how low the temps will go with the most amount of airflow under and between the cooling plates. All temperatures are in degrees Celsius. Lower is better.

 

For the second round I had the laptop cooler fully extended into the flat lap position. In this position the cooler is designed to keep your lap cool from the heat of the computer and to give the user a stable platform to rest the computer on while working comfortably. In this position the airflow under the unit is more restricted and that is where the slots in the cooler come into effect to keep air moving.

 

Although the temps seemed to be fairly high for the internals, the cooler was able to get enough airflow over the laptop shell to keep it from radiating heat all over the desk and my lap. At one point on the desk the internal fan of the laptop was pushing out a lot of air where I could feel it on my hand about three inches away but the casing of the computer remained fairly cool. It did make about a 1 to 2 degree difference on the CPU and hard drive, but because my laptop does not have direct vents to the intake fan and only slots along the shell, it could not get maximum cooling. LapWorks claims a 10 to 20 percent drop in heat radiating from a laptop.

One issue I had with the stand was in the desktop position. It is not as sturdy and I would like when I have my laptop on it and am typing on the keyboard. As I switch from my left to right hand while typing, the computer wiggles. I tried this on several surfaces from a desk to a kitchen table to even a carpet while laying on the floor and the results were the same. In my particular case this was due to the support arm and the way it sits into the support groves as shown below.

 

If it was not as curved or made out of metal it might be sturdier.

Conclusion:

While the tests I ran it through showed only a small decrease in internal temperatures, the stand really reduced the overall heat I felt. Not only does the stand look eye catching with its futuristic design (and the ability to have different colors in the near future), it performed quite well also. It was surprisingly comfortable in my lap and it kept me from burning my legs on the bottom of the laptop, especially when wearing shorts. I like how lightweight the unit is, but I do think there should be some more sturdy plastics or aluminum to support it when in the desk stand position to prevent wobbling. It was much easier on my posture using this during my work day. I didn't feel like I was slouching to look at my computer display when it was in the stand position, and I was able to use my external mouse with it which made me feel less cramped at the end of the day. This stand performed like it is advertised to and really did make my experience a lot better and safer. For the price of the unit the benefits are tremendous. Not only will you extend the life of your computer but your physical health will better with the comfort it provides for long term use.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: