Review: Contour Design NoteRiser

by on January 29, 2004

We looked at the RoadTools CoolPad Traveler. We also tested the MacMice GBreeze. Recently, we got the chance to review a different – and substantially more expensive – style of laptop stand.

Contour Design, maker of various mice, iPod-related products, and other Mac accessories, offer a unique laptop stand called the NoteRiser. The NoteRiser is made of aluminum and plastic, and padded at any locations that would come in contact with a laptop computer. The NoteRiser is designed around the idea that modern laptops have become powerful enough to replace a desktop computer, and that users will want to use an external keyboard and mouse with such a desktop replacement at their “home base.”

Contour NoteRiser
Contour NoteRiser

Contour NoteRiser
Contour NoteRiser Folded

Priced at $129.95, this German-made stand is designed to hold a laptop so that the screen is nearly vertical, much like standalone LCD monitors are. By raising the screen a few inches and holding the laptop open at a wider angle, the NoteRiser allows the laptop screen to be brought closer to the user than would be possible while using the laptop’s built-in keyboard.

What’s the purpose of the NoteRiser? Ergonomics. Many users suffer eyestrain from squinting at a screen that’s too far away, or suffer great physical discomfort from holding their heads in awkward positions to look at a screen that’s too low on the desk. The NoteRiser is designed primarily to cure the inherent ergonomic disadvantages of a laptop computer, with heat dissipation a secondary concern at best.

The NoteRiser has 5 different height levels (utilizing base angles of 20 to 55 degrees), should be no trouble, whether your laptop opens to a full 180 degrees like most laptops, or as little as 120 degrees, like the iBook. There is also a document holder, although it doesn’t compare to a true easel-style document holder.

Placement

Since the NoteRiser folds to less than a quarter of an inch thick, and weighs less than a pound, it is quite handy when traveling. Laptops can either be placed directly on the stand, or for more peace of mind, Click Strips can be used to anchor a laptop to the base.

In Our Use

Typing on the NoteRiser is possible, albeit quite uncomfortable, especially since it is intended to be used with an external keyboard and mouse. The only concern we have is that the plastic hinges could become fragile over time. If the stand is left on a desk almost all the time, this should not be a worry…

Complaints

We thought the NoteRiser was on the pricey side. For the money spent on the NoteRiser, one could get a few other laptop stands, a keyboard, and a mouse. Also, users of laptops with front-load optical drives will find the NoteRiser useless, as it blocks the slot for the drive.

The One-Sentence Verdict™

The NoteRiser is a clever design, but for many laptop users, it can be annoying and overpriced.

The Facts

2/5Product: NoteRiser
Company: Contour Design
Platform: Any Laptop
Price: $129.95

This post has been filed in 'Book Accessories and Reviews