Griffin Elevator notebook stand
By virtue of their all-in-one design, few laptops offer an appropriate ergonomic setup for extended work. So as more of us buy laptops for use as our primary computers, accessory companies have developed a slew of products designed to make laptops workable for extended periods of time. One such product, the $40 Griffin Elevator laptop stand, does exactly what you'd expect: elevates your laptop to bring the screen closer to eye level, with the added benefit of clearing out some space on your desk and letting air circulate beneath your laptop to keep it cool. Unfortunately, the Elevator's fixed height and its tendency to wobble limit its usefulness as an ergonomic tool. But one need only look to its color scheme to discover the real selling point of the Griffin Elevator: the silver metal and clear plastic stand would look quite elegant displaying a MacBook Pro at the side of your desk while you worked with both an external keyboard and external monitor. If that's what you're looking for in a laptop stand, the Griffin Elevator would be a great choice. For everyone else, though, we recommend buying a stand that's adjustable, even if it's made of cheaper materials.
When we first opened the box of the Griffin Elevator, we were a bit confused. There were just two metal arms and a piece of clear plastic inside. We've bought enough stuff from IKEA to be concerned: where were the screws and the complex assembly instructions? Putting the stand together, though, proved intuitive; just slide one metal arm into the slots on each side of the plastic stability bar and you're in business.
Though it looks slight, the stand is actually pretty sturdy. Nonskid pads on the top keep laptops from sliding around on the stand, while nonskid pads on the bottom keep the stand from sliding around on a desk. Even though the stand holds the laptop at a slight downward slope, it never seemed likely that the laptop would slide off, no matter how large the system (we used it to prop up the 12-inch, 13.3-inch, and 15.4-inch laptops that we had on hand). However, we did notice that the supports were prone to wobbling whenever we bumped the desk (which was often) or even if we just typed with a heavy hand. We tried the stand on several different desks and tables, and still it wobbled. While the effect was negligible for our 12-inch ultraportable, heavier laptops experienced more pronounced movement, to the extent that the annoying jiggling of the 15.4-inch system outweighed the benefit of the stand.
We were also frustrated by the stand's fixed height. The Griffin Elevator lifts laptops 5.5 inches off the desk surface, which in our case still wasn't enough to bring the display to an ergonomic level. Less expensive laptop stands from Fellowes and Targus, though not as attractive as the Elevator, offer at least a little adjustability, making them a better choice for users who want a proper ergonomic setup.
On the plus side, the Elevator did seem to keep our laptop cooler than when it was sitting on the surface of the desk, making it a decent choice for users who want a cooling stand that raises the laptop higher than the typical laptop desk.