(last updated on January 27, 2016)
UPDATE 2016: I got a V2 of the Roost Stand, and have retired the model shown here. Here’s a review of the new Roost Stand V2
I am a huge fan of having my screens at the proper height so I don’t get neck strain. While I use monitor stands from Ergotron for all my desktop monitors, I had never found anything equivalent for modern laptops…until now! Enter the Roost Stand, an ultra-portable American-made laptop stand that was designed just for that reason!
During my last trip, I developed a bad neck strain from hunching over my old MacBook Pro 17 for too many hours in a row. The Roost Stand is the first laptop stand I’ve come across that is not only easy to pack, but rises high enough to put the laptop screen at right at eye level. And amazingly, it’s both sturdy AND light. By comparison, my old XT stand falls way short. Before I ordered the Roost, Cooler Master’s JAS PRO seemed pretty good as it is both stylish and simple. Compared to the Roost, though, the JAS PRO takes up way too much desk space due to the angled rear foot, and it is still 4″ lower.
It feels a little weird to deploy this stand at Starbucks, since it raises the laptop so high. It is definitely a conversation starter, though! Many of the neck-strained masses have come up to me to inquire about it.
The Roost is constructed out of laser-cut pieces of flat plastic that are riveted together. It seemed very finicky at first, especially compared to the JAS PRO stand, but once I learned how to unfold it there’s been no problem. It’s one of the nicer examples of something that can be made from laser cut materials and off-the-shelf parts; DIYers will appreciate the way it is constructed. It is very light, but also very rigid and strong due to the cross-braced construction style. Although I haven’t tested it, the Roost apparently can withstand over a hundred pounds of load!
Instead of laying on top of the Roost, the laptop is actually suspended by it from the hinge. There is a thin plastic guide tab that fits between the laptop screen and the laptop’s main body, and it keeps the weight bearing down on the end of the long support arm. the weight rests on the A thin plastic tab fits between the gap of the laptop body and the hinged screen. It works well with current Macbooks, but laptops with a different hinge design may not fit.
It’s pretty damn cool. Works great with my Logitech K811 Bluetooth keyboard (purchased separately).
What you get
For your $75, you get the stand and also a microfiber carrying bag that doubles as a screen cleaning cloth.
At the time I ordered, colors other than silver were available for $5 more so I picked yellow. For another $20, you could get a carrying case that not only holds the Roost, but also an Apple Bluetooth keyboard and a track pad. I just ordered it, because it makes it easier to switch between my various gear bags.
Check it out at The Roost Stand. Awesome, awesome product so far. I am hopeful that it holds up under the stress of travel.
UPDATE September 14, 2014: This stand continues to bring me joy after 7 months of use while traveling across the country and working in coffee shops in my home town. It is particularly nice when working remotely, combined with my Logitech K811 keyboard and mouse. Having the keyboard is pretty essential. The keyboard+stand carrying tray (no longer available) worked out very well; I can hold everything together so it slips into my bag nicely. I did have to add an additional keyboard sleeve to control the keyboard/mouse stowage for another $9, but it is still great overall. I’ll try to get a picture of it.