I was supposed to get a Roost to review last year after the successful Kickstarter went into production. I didn’t, but we fixed that at the beginning of this summer, and think God we did – this stand will change the way you use your MacBook.
The Roost is a crazy collapsible scaffold that unfolds from nothing to become a sturdy stand the holds the MacBook at eye-level. Assuming you combine it with regular breaks, and set your keyboard at the right height, you will never have to experience neck, arm or back pain ever again.
A quick aside: Notebook computers are ergonomic time bombs. The only good thing about the clamshell design is that it makes it easy to carry and deploy. Even if you put it on a desk instead of on your lap, you’ll be staring down at the screen, hunched over the machine like a sack of potatoes slumped against a wall. Use this setup for more than a few hours and say goodbye to health.
The Roost is an amazing bit of kit. It transforms from a 30cm (13-inch) bundle of carbon fiber and aluminum sticks into a super-strong stand that elevates your MacBook, putting the top of the screen 50cm (19.75 inches) above the desktop. It also orients the screen at the right angle, and because the MacBook’s clamshell is held fully open, you can even tap the keyboard in an emergency (like if you forgot to switch on the Bluetooth to connect a proper keyboard and trackpad).
The most amazing part is that it weighs just 183 grams (6.5 ounces), but can support up to 60kg (132 pounds).
There’s one model of Roost, and it can be adjusted to fit your particular MacBook. Don’t worry about that though, as it comes pre-configured when you order it. The adjustment is just there in case you swap machines, and so that the same gadget can be sold to everyone. And pay attention to the instructions when you open it, as it doesn’t work how you think…
It’s easy enough to open the stand and click the safety latches into place, but once that’s done you don’t just drop the computer on top. Instead, you hang it from the stand. How? There are two plastic tabs at the top of the rear sticks, and you poke these through the slim gap between the open MacBook’s screen and body, right where it hinges open. This seems weird at first, but as soon as you use it you’ll see how well it works.
In use, the difference is amazing. The screen is up at eye level, as God intended when he invented the desktop monitor. I’m using the Roost with a 13-inch MacBook Air, a clicky Filco Minila Bluetooth keyboard (review coming soon) and a Magic Trackpad. How well does this work? Very. I got lazy the other morning and started to use the MacBook alone on the too-high dining room table at a friend’s place. My forearms started to hurt almost straight away, so I deployed the Roost (it takes seconds) and the pain soon disappeared.
I can’t recommend this stand enough. Other notebook stands lift the computer up enough to stow a keyboard underneath, but until you use the elevated Roost you won’t know how pointless they are. The Roost is the only one that gets the screen up to the proper height, and it’s also one of the sturdiest, and definitely the most portable of them all.
Just remember not to close the computer’s lid while it’s up there on the stand, because it’ll drop as soon as it lets go of the little plastic tabs.
Now, if I’m taking my MacBook with me, the Roost comes too It’s so small and light when folded that you really don’t notice it in your bag. And if I don’t want the big clicky keyboard, the Apple’s own `bluetooth number does the trick. Now all I need is a more portable multitouch trackpad to take along with it.
|Roost by Roost ($75 list)The good: The best stand I’ve used. The only stand that raises the MacBook to the correct height. Sturdy, ultra-lightThe bad: Nothing
The verdict: If you use a MacBook for anything more than a few minutes at a time, you need this stand.
Buy from Roost