Aviiq Laptop Computer Stands
Two light weight compact solutions to
working on your laptop
The AViiQ Portable
Laptop Stand (top) and AViiQ Portable Quick Stand (bottom)
are two clever and lightweight ways of levering a laptop off
a desk or other surface.
Life on the road, without a
laptop or some other type of portable computing device, is a
terrifying thought that few of us would wish to confront.
But as useful as our laptops,
notebooks and even tablets are, they embody some massive
convenience and functional compromises. Devices such as
AViiQ's stands endeavour to address some of these compromises
without introducing additional trade-offs such as too much extra
weight or space in our baggage.
Do they succeed? Should you
rush out to get an AViiQ stand? Read on to find out.
Two Similar Solutions to Two
AViiQ have introduced a
couple of portable stands for laptops and notebooks, allowing
them to be angled to what they say is a more ergonomic angle for
typing, and also raising most of the underneath of the computer
away from whatever surface it would otherwise have been on.
Both devices are incredibly
lightweight and pack down to a negligible size. One lists
for $40, the other for either $60 or $80, depending on its finish
As such, they seem to offer
functionality at a reasonable price and without requiring
weight/space sacrifices for travelers.
But how important is the
functionality they offer and how effective are their solutions?
The importance of heat control
Electronics don't like to get
hot. The hotter that electronics become, the quicker they
age and the sooner they fail. That's why we have fans inside computers and other
devices to start with.
But fans rely on there being
unblocked ventilation holes in the device, and fans - when
operating - speed up the drain on your battery. Devices will
run cooler and with the fans operating less of the time if there
is space underneath them for heat to radiate out from the device
and for air to circulate freely.
If you have a $2000 laptop and
can get a 5% extension in its reliable working life due to better
heat management, that is sort of the same as saving $100 on the
price (and delaying the usual hassle of configuring a new
computer, too). And if heat control gives you a few more
minutes of battery life away from a wall plug due to requiring the
fans to run for less time, that's even more
The manufacturer of these two
stands - AViiQ - is more optimistic about the benefits of heat
control than we are. They claim that using one of their stands can
extend the life of your laptop by three years, and might extend
the life of a laptop battery from two years (normal) to three
years (using an AViiQ stand).
That's a slightly more
aggressive claim than we'd feel comfortable making, but we're not in the business
of selling AViiQ stands. :) We've asked AViiQ three
times to explain/support that claim and they've not replied
(although we have received answers to other questions from them)
so perhaps you should treat their claim with a
pound ton of salt.
The importance of keyboard
I'm probably in a minority
here, because I view keyboard ergonomics as an essential element
of employee health and productivity. For myself, I have a
computer work surface at the proper height (ie lower than most
desks), a top of the line ergonomic chair, and a good Microsoft
But I'm also a very fast
typist and I spend a lot of
every day at the keyboard, so fully optimizing such things is
essential to me.
On the other hand, I see a lot
of people with woefully un-optimized work environments, but they
don't seem to notice or care.
And even those people who are
keen to have optimum ergonomics have to abandon a lot of such
benefits when they travel away from their controlled office or
home environment. Almost without exception all hotels have
terrible combinations of desk and chair heights, poor lighting,
and so on.
Now for the difficult part
about keyboard ergonomics. Some things are kind of obvious
and intuitive. The keyboard should be directly in front of
you, close to you, and on a firm stable base. Your arms
should be able to reach the keyboard without having to bend up at
the elbow - flat or slightly down is okay, up is bad.
Your wrist should go out more
or less straight from the ends of your arms.
Beyond that, there start to be
some confused ambiguities, which is where the difficulties come
AViiQ maintain that good
ergonomics suggests a 12° upward slope on a keyboard, but I've seen
fairly authoritative sources that seem to advocate more of a
negative slope down rather than a positive slope up (for example,
this page from Cornell's Ergonomics website).
Again, I've asked AViiQ to
back up their claim with some facts/research to support it.
And, again, three requests have been met with total silence
(notwithstanding their answering 'easier' questions quickly).
So you might view this as a reason to be skeptical of their 12°
claim. And, in any case, it seems their two devices give a
greater than 12° incline anyway, so go figure.
OSHA have one of the most
definitive and complete collections of
workstation guidelines from an ergonomic perspective.
The bottom line is sort of
whatever works for you and isn't grossly at odds with most
conventional ergonomic thinking probably is okay.
Here are the two AViiQ products
described in some more detail. Oh - and in case you wondered
what is with the strange company name and ridiculous spelling; the
company's PR agency advises :
combination of Aviation and IQ = all products are inspired from
personal struggles of traveling and not finding accessories that
fit the travel lifestyle
AViiQ Portable Quick Stand
The AViiQ Portable Quick Stand
comes nicely packaged in a cardboard packet with a shelf hanger
top. It lists for $39.99.
Inside the outer packet is a
cardboard sleeve, and inside the sleeve is the Portable Quick
Stand, a card indicating the device has a three year warranty, and
a folded over card that explains the features/benefits of the
The stand itself is simple and
lightweight. It has four pieces of what seem to be aluminium
sheet all joined together at the edges by rubberized nonslip
plastic connectors. Two of the sheets are the same size and
the other two are half size pieces. When all four pieces are
opened up, the four pieces form a triangle (as pictured above), and then, for
carrying, they fold flat together.
The rubberized plastic edge
pieces provide the nonslip surface both for the laptop to rest on
the stand, and for the stand to rest on a desk or other surface.
They are available in a choice of five different colors - black,
grey, green, blue and fuschia; in all cases the aluminium type
sheet is in regular silvery metal color and seems to be covered
with a thin layer of vinyl plastic. This material is 'Hylite' rather than simple aluminium - there is a layer
of polypropylene plastic sandwiched between two very thin pieces
of aluminium, which means it weighs a third less than would aluminium by
itself, while also being more flexible.
The stand weighs a mere 3.5
ounces. Strangely, the manufacturer claims it as 5.5 ounces,
but I checked with two separate scales and both showed it to be a
mere 3.5 oz, so there'd never be a problem with weight when
traveling with it.
In terms of size, when folded
flat, the stand measures 3.25" x 11" and is 0.33" thick.
When opened up to form a triangle, each side measures 11" x 2.3",
and the triangle is about 2.05" high. It is clearly as
light on its space requirements as it is on its weight
requirements, making it potentially a good traveling companion.
To use the Portable Quick
Stand, you simply unfold it and then place a laptop or notebook on
it, with the far away side (ie where the hinge to the screen is)
lifted up onto the apex of the Quick Stand triangle. This gives two benefits - a
tilt to the screen and plenty of underneath space to help keep the
To work best, it helps to have
the stand on a stable reasonably flat surface.
I tried the unit out with four
different devices - an iPad, a notebook, a lightweight notebook
and a full sized notebook.
The stand was too big for the
iPad. The distance between where each of the rubberized
sides are was greater than the flat distance of the back of the
iPad. The rubberized sides come in an inch from each end of
the stand, so there are 9" with no rubber surface in the middle of
the stand - in other words, devices need to be at least 9.5" or
more wide to rest on the rubber sides of the stand. While,
in portrait mode, an iPad is 9.5" wide, itscontoured
back means there is less than 8.5" of flat surface.
A notebook measuring 11" wide
at its widest point was tried next. This worked well, but
perhaps the angle of incline ended up being a bit steep. If
I got my high school geometry correct, the keyboard was sloping at
about a 16.5° or an 18.5° angle, depending on where on the
notebook the apex of the triangle was located.
The notebook was reasonably
securely held by the stand, even though the notebook weighed 3 lb
Using the lighter weight (3 lb
12.5 oz) and medium sized laptop predictably provided results more
or less in the middle between the notebook and the full size
laptop, and there was starting to be a noticeable 'wobble' while I
was banging away at the keys during testing. Okay, so maybe
I should learn to be a gentler typist and lightly stroke the keys?
Using my full-size laptop, the
13.5" width was not a problem at all for the stand, and due to the
greater depth of the laptop, the keyboard slope reduced down to
about 14.5°, a more moderate amount, although still considerably
more than the 12° that AViiQ claims is ideal and provided by their
To my surprise, the weight of the
laptop - 5lb 4oz - didn't make the stand more unstable.
Instead, it seemed to firm it up and give it greater rigidity, and
the heavy big laptop was a better 'fit' than any of the other
smaller and lighter devices.
One of the things with all the
computer devices was that their own 'front' feet tended to be lifted clear
of the surface, meaning that all the stability came only from the
rear of the stand. If there were nonslip rubber feet still
reaching the surface on the front of the laptop/notebook, I
suspect they would not 'wobble' as much during energetic typing.
Coming back to the angle of
incline that the stand gives to the device that is mounted on it,
the literature with the stand claims it provides a 12° angle.
But this would require a length of just under 10" between where
the laptop sits on the stand and where it rests on the table
surface - considerably more than on any of the four devices I
tested. I guess if you have a 17" screen on your laptop you
might get close to this, but for the rest of us, we'll have
something more than 12°.
Is this extra amount of
incline important? Maybe. A Microsoft ergonomic
keyboard has more like a 9.5° incline, and keytops that are
designed for such an incline. So to face potentially twice
the incline and keytops that are designed for a zero degree
incline is clearly less than optimum.
So my feeling is that this
stand offers minimal or no ergonomic benefits, but does greatly
help a laptop stay cool.
But would I pay $40 'just' for
the ability to keep my laptop cool, and would I accept a kinda
strange steep pitch to the keyboard as an acceptable part of the
No, I'm sorry, but I wouldn't.
In the past I've simply put a book or something to lift up the
back of the laptop, allowing for a much less steep incline to the
keyboard and still plenty of air space underneath for the fans to
do their work.
For sure, this is a very
elegantly designed and presented product, and a clever idea.
But their 12° pitch claim is just plain wrong, because most
devices end up having an appreciably steeper pitch to the point
where it starts to feel unusual and awkward.
There is one other use for the
stand as well. On some occasions, it does make good sense to
have a reverse tilt on a laptop/keyboard - for example, if you are
standing up and looking down at the keyboard. By simply
placing this 'wedge' unit under the front instead of the back of
the laptop, you have an instant reverse tilt.
Now for the final bit of good
news. There might be another application where it makes sense.
If you've got your laptop on your knee - or even on the bed - then
this could become a very useful device, with these two
applications typically being ones where the underside of the
computer is blocked so that no air can flow at all, and it is even
possible to get uncomfortable hot legs too. One can only
guess how hot the electronics inside the laptop are getting.
So using an AViiQ Portable
Quick Stand would certainly help in this respect.
AViiQ Portable Laptop Stand
Billed as the 'world's
thinnest portable laptop stand' and a 2010 Innovations winner at
CES, this also comes attractively packaged in a cardboard box.
It lists for more than the other product - it is $59.99 (in a plain aluminium finish) or $79.99 (in a
choice of four different colors).
Inside the outer box is a
clever inner box with a magnetic closure. Opening it up
reveals the stand in a folded up configuration, plus a sheet of
instructions, a micro-fiber carry pouch and two replacement
nonslip rubber feet.
The stand actually requires six
but my glass is definitely half full by seeing the provision of
two spare feet - much better than none at all, although I'm now
curious as to why even two were provided. Do they wear out?
Do they fall off and get lost? For sure, the two spare feet
are destined to be lost before too long!
The stand weighs a mere 5.3
ounces, and with its carry bag it becomes a still featherweight
5.8 oz. When folded for carrying, the stand measures 12.7" x
2.5" x 0.33". As with its product-mate, this is a
tiny size and negligible weight, allowing us to consider adding it
to our travel bags if it makes good sense.
This stand is also made out of
the same Hylite material as the other stand, and this stand also
makes use of the ability for Hylite to fold (by cutting a channel
in the Hylite and removing the aluminium layers, leaving only the
As was the case with the
smaller stand, an iPad failed to fit the dimensions of this larger
stand and its support feet, even though in theory the closer
spacing of the feet on this stand (7.4" apart) promised a readier
Placing the lightweight laptop
on the stand showed the stand to provide perfect support, with no
apparent wobble at all, no matter how vigorously I typed.
The notebook also worked well.
Lastly, the heavy full-size
laptop. It too worked perfectly, and showed no signs of
overpowering the 5.5 oz of the stand with its own 5.25 lbs of
So full marks to this stand as
a stable typing platform. But what about as a way of
preventing heat buildup?
While there is a thin sheet of
the Hylite material closely underneath the bottom of the laptop,
this doesn't really stop heat from leaving the device, for two
reasons. First, the material is moderately heat conductive.
Second, there is still a gap - two feet at the rear of the stand
lift the laptop up and off the Hylite sheet.
So plus marks for heat
As for the ergonomics, that is
anyone's guess, because AViiQ have refused to elaborate or justify
their claim about the ergonomic benefit of a tilt being added to a
So - Should You Buy Either (or
Both devices pack up into
similar sizes and have similar weights, so the only differences
between them relate to price and functionality.
Price-wise, neither unit is
cheap. At $40 for the portable stand or either $60 or $80
for the laptop stand, you're paying a tangible amount of money
(don't even start to equate this to the cost per pound for such
amazingly lightweight things).
I'm unconvinced as to the
ergonomic benefits of either stand, because it is far from clear
to me that tilting a computer keyboard up as steeply as these
units do is either necessary or good.
But I do like their ability to
raise a laptop up off a desk or couch cushion or bed covering,
allowing for heat to more readily dissipate.
Most of the time, with most
laptops or notebooks, the more expensive laptop stand gives a
better mount in terms of sturdy support.
The device, due to its
appealing 'gift' style packaging and clever modern high tech
design is a great choice as an upmarket or 'executive' gift for someone, and there's every
good chance the lucky recipient has not already got one, and if
they travel regularly, they may indeed benefit from it.
But as for one for yourself?
That's for you to decide. You'll probably find it useful and
helpful if you buy it, and if you have a spare $60 - $80 rattling
around in your pocket, maybe you should indeed get one.
I'm going to travel with the
$60 unit for a while on the basis that it can't hurt and might
help. In particular, it gives me more options in trying to
optimize the usually very uncomfortable desk/chair options in most
hotel rooms - although generally the problem is with the chair
being too low or the desk being too high, in which case adding
extra height to the keyboard is probably not a good thing.
See also our
review of the Aviator Laptop
stand for a different approach to such devices.
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24 Feb 2012, last update
28 Nov 2012
You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.