At first glance, and really, every glance thereafter, the Laptop Desk 2.0 from LapWorks doesn’t appear to be much of anything; basically, it’s two pieces of corrugated plastic attached in the center by a couple hinges. But that simplicity goes quite a long way towards protecting your lap from the heat of your notebook, while it’s also capable of acting as an ergonomic stand. The company’s heat reduction claims are modest for the device, however, it also acts as insulation from the bottom of your notebook lowering your chances of getting “hot legs.”
It’ll add a little weight and bulk to your travels at 1.4 pounds and 0.6-inches thick, but if you frequently find yourself without a desk or table to work on, you won’t mind making room for it in your laptop bag. It’s even worth the $30 investment if your notebook doesn’t leave your home because of it can be used multiple ways.
For example, I tend to work on my couch. The Laptop Desk adds stability and just enough protection to keep me from becoming sterile from the more-than-generous heat output of my 15-inch PowerBook G4. I do use it folded in half though, so it gives me two layers of heavy-gauge plastic for protection. Plus there’s a non-slip rubber surface to keep the notebook in place. The fun doesn’t stop there, though.
Used open the Laptop Desk provides a good, well, desk for your laptop. With larger, heavier notebooks like this 17-inch HP Pavilion dv9000, there’s not much room left to sides of the notebook. But I really like the Laptop Desk for 15-inch or smaller systems as it gives you room at the sides for mousing. (LapWorks sells a $9.95 add-on mousing surface for even more room.)
Finally, a look at the underside/inside reveals a small panel of plastic on one of the ends that flips up and notches on the opposite end. Fold the Laptop Desk in half and flip up the panel so that it catches into one of the notches and you’ve got a height adjustable notebook stand. This makes it great not only for typing more comfortably at a table or desk, but you can use it to raise the height of your screen if you want to use it with a full-size keyboard.
The ventilation channels built into the surface allow hot air to be moved away from the bottom of the notebook through convection. There’s nothing to physically push or pull the air away, however, so don’t expect your computer to suddenly be frigid because of the channels. Again, LapWorks cooling claims are pretty modest, which I respect.
The company recently refreshed the LaptopDesk with the Futura model. The design is basically the same but they opened the air channels for better cooling and added some grippy risers that minimize the amount of laptop actually touching the pad, in turn minimizing heat transfer from notebook to lap. The Futura is also a little slimmer and lighter weight with slightly flashier looks.