A laptop stand may not be the most obvious computing accessory on your must-have list, but having the right stand can make your laptop much more usable, especially in office situations. Take a look at your desktop PC's keyboard. It probably has two tiny legs in the back, lifting the back of the keyboard and creating an ergonomically friendly angle for typing. Now look at your laptop--the keyboard just lies flat. Try working like this for an extended period of time, and wrist and arm pain may result.
Putting your laptop on an elevated stand not only provides for a better keyboard angle, it can also raise the screen higher, to more closely approximate your desktop monitor (and provide better air circulation, keeping your laptop cooler). On the down side, using a laptop stand pretty much means you'll have to plug in an external USB mouse, as using the touch pad can be awkward at an elevated angle.
If your setup calls for a laptop stand, we've seen few as flexible as the LapWorks Aluminum Desktop Stand, a $59 device that looks sharp, feels sturdy, and even better, packs flat to fit in your laptop bag. Measuring 12 inches wide by 9.6 inches deep by a little less than half an inch thick when folded, the stand has six levels of height adjustment, raising the back of your laptop from 3.5 inches all the way to 7 inches.
While seemingly custom-made for 15-inch laptops, a 17-model we tried also fit, although it was a little less stable when typing. The stand also includes a built-in rotating base--basically a very thin lazy Susan wheel that offers 360 degrees of rotation--excellent for giving laptop-based presentations.