Contour NoteRiser


posted 3/9/2004 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
Platforms: PC
So you’re sitting at home enjoying a nice cup of coffee while you’re checking out the latest review of Les Miserables on your laptop. As you take a puff from your cod pipe and beckon for your mastiff to fetch you your slippers your reach over to scroll the page and it happens; your wrist begins to cramp and you begin to feel the effects of that old friend named Carpel Tunnel. If only you could plug in a USB keyboard and find a way to elevate the screen so that it mimics a desktop setup. Why hasn’t anyone invented a way for me to have my own portable desktop system? And then it hits you, someone has found a way to make this a reality and it’s a damn fine one at that.

Contour Design’s NoteRiser is pretty simple yet highly effective. All you do is mount your laptop on to its base, adjust the unit to your desired height, plug in a USB keyboard and mouse and you’re all set. Best of all is that the device is pretty simple to setup and requires you only to secure some stickpads to the bottom of your laptop and to unhook a few of the moldings on the actual device itself. In fact you can easily figure out how to use the device by looking at the unit and using your noggin. There are really only three moving parts on the unit; one main part that folds out and acts as the device’s stand while the other two fold out to offer your laptop some extra support. The NoteRiser can be folded flat so that you can easily stow it away with your luggage or in a backpack. It’s also very light and weighs in at a very skim .84lbs.

Thanks to the included sticky pads you can be assured that your laptop will rest safely on the NoteRiser. Instead of opting for something with small holding power like Velcro the designers utilized a system of interlocking spikes that offers maximum support. To give you an idea of how well the pads hold I was able to hold the unit upside down and my Dell Inspiron didn’t budge an inch. After securing your laptop to the unit you’ll want to adjust the unit to the height of your choice. There are five different settings in all which range from nearly horizontal to nearly vertical. When used in conjunction with the pivot range of your laptop monitor you can easily find an angle and height that will be comfortable for extended use. Also, since the laptop surface never actually touches the unit you won’t have to worry about annoyances such as scratches or scruff marks.

Now that I’ve got a more desirable height I’ve been able to remove a lot of the neck strain that I had been experiencing in the past. I was able to adjust the height and viewing angle so that it effectively mimicked the perspective that I had on my normal 19-inch CRT monitor. Also, the USB keyboard allowed me to remove some of the strain that had been building on my wrists and the mouse added a bit more precision to my PhotoShop work. The device doesn’t really enhance the overall experience as it won’t make you a better typer or a better gamer, but it definitely makes the laptop more convenient for everyday use.

One of the major selling points is that the NoteRiser will make life more convenient for you by giving you the comfort of a PC with the ease of travel that a laptop brings. While this is technically true there are a few logistical problems that really plague this device. For one, it’s basically ineffective if you don’t have an external keyboard to plug-in. Like most of the other units of this type, you need a copious amount of space to use it. You need to take into account the base of the unit plus the length or height of your laptop as well. Cramped spaces, like fold-out trays on airplanes, won’t be able to accommodate the device alone. Also the unit carries a rather pricey $150 retail price tag so you might want to think long and hard before committing to this.

Aside from these drawbacks I highly recommend the Contour Riser to anyone who spends a copious amount of time on their laptop. Although it’s not an innovative breakthrough it’s definitely the best of breed as it offers the most functionality, but at an astronomical price tag. Just make sure that you realize that you’ll need a USB keyboard and mouse to use this device effectively or you’ll be in for a world of trouble.

It's a little pricey, but if you want to remove some of the eye and wrist strain that comes from extended use of the laptop you should consider the Contour NoteRiser. When it comes to laptop stands there's none out there that performs better.

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