Saturday, November 28, 2009

Review: My Place laptop desk in bed (with dimensions)

The My Place laptop desk is intended to raise your laptop out of your lap, while simultaneously providing an incline for the keyboard, which makes typing more comfortable, especially when reclining. It's perhaps the most affordable laptop bed desk; just $35 at amazon, and at the moment, $30 at Bed Bath and Beyond ($20 + tax, after the ubiquitous $10 off coupon).

I bought it with the hope of using it while laying in bed, as in the Laptop Laidback and other similar products you can only buy online for ~ $100. It's not well suited to that purpose however. The underside of the desk is quite close to the ground (both front and back), so you have to lay absolutely flat (you can't put more than a small pillow under your knees). Conversely, the surface where the laptop rests is relatively high, making it difficult to find a comfortable angle for typing, esp. if you want to lay flat instead of propping your back and head up with a couple pillows. Indeed, if you do set the angle sufficiently high (~45deg.), the entire platform becomes unstable because it's too front/top-heavy. Even worse, if you have a ThinkPad, or any other laptop with a curved front underside, the lip of the desk isn't really tall enough to keep the laptop from sliding off. To be fair, the desk wasn't really designed with lying flat in mind. But at least for me, that's the only in-bed position in which I'm pain-free, and therefor the only position I'm interested in using it in.

If you are willing to sit partially up while using the desk, it might be worth considering, however. If so, here are a quick set of pros and cons to consider.

  1. Folds into a very compact package, for easy transport.
  2. Though it's made of plastic, it's relatively stiff plastic, and relatively light. I wouldn't want to go hiking with it, but it's certainly easy to carry around the house, etc.
  3. The incline for the desk is adjustable across ~10 increments.
  4. The desk height can be doubled by unfolding the legs.
  1. The desk comes in two heights: too low (because of the poor clearance on the underside), and too high.
  2. The desk isn't very stable because the legs are not very far spread apart, front to back. I wouldn't use it on a soft surface, especially when the legs are unfolded for double-height.
  3. The distance between the lower clearance and the bottom edge of the laptop is 2.5" (see picture), trapping you under the laptop (indeed, on a hard surface, the "desk" actually puts pressure on my lap), while making the laptop itself too high up for ergonomic use (in my opinion).
  4. The mousepad can also be raised on an incline, but after a few degrees it starts to slide down, making that feature not so useful. And because 25% of the desk is taken up by the mousepad, the laptop necessarily must be offset to the left, which isn't very ergonomic for typing.
This post is part of a series summarizing the various laptop stands that can be used in bed.


wander said...

Really nice review you have there. I think I will have to try this one:)
I,m trying to write a little on back pain my self here:

Bagav said...

Great idea,ergonomics are important to reduce pressure on the back. I ama true believer in ergonomic chairs, but have not this before, I'll give it a try.
I found some good articles on also.

Laptop Stands said...

Tips to improve your work efficiency according to workstation environment.