My Favorite Laptop Stand is Now 2.0!

My Favorite Laptop Stand is Now 2.0!

Roost Version 2 - Image courtesy of The Roost Stand Today is the launch of James Olander’s Version 2.0 of The Roost Stand on Kickstarter! I am very excited, both about the product and James’ manufacturing adventure!

I really love my old Roost Stand, which makes it possible for me to work anywhere from my laptop. Most stands take the approach of improving the height by just a few inches, which is not enough to properly raise the top of the laptop screen to eye level. The Roost Stand was the first stand I’ve come across that does the job in a portable, lightweight package. This stand keeps me from getting backaches when working at the coffeeshop, and it’s a nice conversation starter too. Dozens of people have asked me about it at the airports and coffee shops when I’m on the road.

Comparing Old with New

The Roost Laptop Stand 1.0

The Roost Stand Version 1.0 (the original)

As a designer, I also really like the construction of the original Roost, which was a clever folding mechanism designed around what inventor James Olander could do with a laser cutter and a lot of riveting; he describes it as “hobbyist manufacturing”. It’s immensely strong, foldable, and has a striking appearance. That’s my Roost Stand above at my friend Sid’s photo studio in the picture above, where we record our podcast. No neck strain! It does require an external keyboard.

As good as the original stand is, there are some areas where it falls short. As the kickstarter video explains, the original design works only with clamshell laptop designs, isn’t height-adjustable, and prevents the laptop lid from closing while on the stand. While none of these issues affected me, I know it is a problem for others. For example, my cousin can’t use the original Roost because he is in the habit of closing the laptop when he’s done working, and if you force it you will probably distort the hinge mechanism…bad news. Also, from a manufacturing perspective, hand-riveting a bunch of laser cut parts is difficult to scale. I think the original design is ingenious, but it has its limits.

At a certain point, it’s necessary to go to another manufacturing process, which is just what Olander did.


Roost Version 2 - Image courtesy of The Roost Stand

The New Roost Stand 2.0

These images are all taken from the Roost Stand’s press release page. You can see the change to “precision injection molding”, which gets away from the flat cut pieces of 1.0 and its (as Olander says) “off-the-shelf” parts. The new design works with all laptops, and is now height adjustable. It still folds compactly and slides into your bag.

Roost Stand 2.0Roost Stand 2.0Roost Stand 2.0

Of particular interest to me is the change in the way the laptop is held secure on the stand. In the old version, it was two slits of plastic that fit in the space between the lid and laptop body, and it was surprisingly stable due to the rigidity of the overall design. In the new version, the laptop is held at the front lip of the laptop body with some kind of flexing self-adjusting grip that applies pressure to hold everything in place. This apparently makes the laptop stable, so it is not going to fall out of the stand if it’s jostled. I’m intrigued!

Because I love bags, I’m also excited about the new Roost Keyboard Mouse (RKM) Case. It’s a zip-up foam-lined bag that can carry your Roost, wireless keyboard (a necessity when using the Roost) and a mouse. My everyday carry includes the older version of the RKM, augmented with a neoprene keyboard sleeve to keep everything more snugly in place. The new design looks like it will be an improvement.

GO CHECK IT OUT

It’s rare that I get so excited about a product to the point I shamelessly shill for it, but The Roost Stand presses all my happy buttons:

  • It was designed by someone who needed it, in this case inventor James Olander need to recover from injury.
  • It was conceived, created, and manufactured in the United States rather than sent to the lowest bidder overseas.
  • It solves a problem that no one else wanted to solve, or failed to see needed solving.
  • It takes into account the rigors of practical daily use.
  • It makes excellent use of the strengths of the material and technology. Kudos!

There is a lot more information on the Kickstarter Page, including a nice video and plenty of more pictures. I wish James all the best; the improvements in version 2.0 require a huge manufacturing leap in terms of cost because of the expense of having molds made (tens of thousands of dollars per part mold, and the stand has several parts). That he’s having it done in the United States rather than China warms my heart as well, because I like to see more manufacturing done locally; I produce all my paper products in the US as well using local companies.

So, if you’re looking for a new laptop stand, you have until July 2015 to back this kickstarter. Good luck, James!!!

UPDATE JUNE 9, 2015: The Roost Kickstarter has added a “leaderboard” challenge to the campaign, so I’m now using that link (http://roo.st/daveseah) to qualify for a “limited edition” version of the stand. You can sign up for the challenge yourself if you’ve backed the Roost 2.0, so share the love!

14 Comments

  1. Joe Lencioni 4 years ago

    Thanks for the analysis Dave! I’ve been using this laptop stand (http://amzn.to/1RnNnIT) for a while now. It has been pretty good, and I really like how adjustable it is. However, it is definitely bulkier than it needs to be so the Roost 2.0 is intriguing to me. I backed it this morning. I hope that the quality you saw in the 1.0 is maintained or improved in the 2.0.

  2. Scott 4 years ago

    Dave, you should be on the Roost marketing team. I’m now an official backer of the stand due to your enthusiasm. :)

  3. Author
    Dave Seah 4 years ago

    Hey Scott, Heh, that’s great! I have many nice-looking but ultimately-useless laptop stands littering my house, so the Roost Stand was a real treat to discover…enthusiasm followed! Most ergonomic gear is kind of clunky in the design and materials department, so the Roost is also a treat for me in that regard. Knowing a few other people who have gone from hobby manufacturing to injection molding and how risky it is, I also find it inspiring and wish them the best. Woot woot!

  4. Author
    Dave Seah 4 years ago

    Joe: Awesome! By coincidence, I was just looking at that stand you linked after reading about the Super Gorone Desk, though I was thinking of it as a “use laptop in bed” solution. The design of the Japanese desk’s retention mechanism is the reverse of most of the similar stands I’ve seen on Amazon, but at nearly $200 to import I have sort of given up on it.

  5. Johnny 4 years ago

    Hey Dave, what are your thoughts on the aesthetic design of the 2.0?

    I have the 1.0 and LOVE it. The functionality, beauty, weight, foldable, and have gotten a ton of compliments on the way it looks.

    I’m glad the new model is more mass market scalable, but I don’t see myself needing any of the new features, and the design, especially with the round buttons that look like wheels isn’t as appealing.

    That being said, I ordered a 2.0 anyways as I love the company so much.

    • Author
      Dave Seah 4 years ago

      Hey Johnny! I really liked the aesthetics of the 1.0 design, especially that its origins as a lasercut design were visible. That it was so well engineered from off-the-shelf parts really tickled me. It feels very technical. The 2.0 design looks fine, though I know what you mean about those round elements. There also appears to be a slight translucency in the white plastic, though I maybe imagining it or the photos have been processed that way…it reminds me a bit of a toothbrush plastic not seeing it in person. The overall effect is that it’s a little bit more consumer-styled instead of being raw engineering like the 1.0 version. I’m trusting the company to deliver a good product, and like you I like the company and its origin story enough that I am buying a 2.0 plus a new RKM case though my existing Roost works just fine; I feel the need to have one just because of the design evolution. Plus, it will be good to be able to recommend the product based on actually owning one. I really need to put together my gallery of terrible laptop stands to show the difference.

  6. Tao Ni 4 years ago

    Great article Dave! I just pre-ordered too. Unfortunately have to wait until October… :)

    Also, check out cool products on http://www.sproutup.co (a young startup I co-founded earlier this year). And if you have any suggestions/ideas feel free to leave on the Roost page: http://www.sproutup.co/product/roost-laptop-stand/bar. We are building a community of tech enthusiasts and influencers!

  7. Katrina 4 years ago

    THANK YOU FOR SHARING THIS! This is exactly what I’ve been looking for! (and it’s designed beautifully, oh man).

  8. Eolake Stobblehouse 4 years ago

    Hi guys, Good article, Dave. I supported version one too, but only in words. And I’ve had discussions with various aspects of design and so on with James. But I don’t use a laptop all that often (iPad more), so I didn’t buy version one, though I admired it. But I have put in for a version Two. Apart from wanting to help it into existence, I am not sure why… maybe I actually like the new design better! Though complex can be great, I think the new simpler design appeals to me more somehow. The first one looked kind of klunky and fragile, even though I’d seen in the videos that it was anything but! (And I can see that appeal of that design too.) I’d love one for tablets, but as fewer people write on tablets, the high start price makes this perhaps less likely.

  9. Eolake Stobblehouse 4 years ago

    … Even though most of my gadget posts goes on my second blog: http://eReaderJoy.com

    … I put the Roost post on my more visited mainstream blog: http:eolake.blogspot.com for the exposure. http://eolake.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/roost-laptop-stand-free-yourself-from.html

  10. Eolake Stobblehouse 4 years ago

    About four years ago, due partly to wrong posture and mouse use (I use a big trackball now), and probably screen height, I had a bad neck “crash”. The theory is a pinched and inflamed nerve. There was so much pain in my shoulders and arm that I couldn’t even lie down flat to sleep! And I could not use a computer! (I could, but it worsened the condition.) A friend helped me update my commercial web site for a couple of weeks, bless him. It took me three months to fully recover! My physiotherapist said she called people with my condition her “heart-sink” patients, because her heart sinks when she sees one!

  11. yoby 4 years ago

    sure i liked the roost but i dont liked the roost 2.0

  12. KJ 4 years ago

    Based on your review and awesome pictures I preordered mine today. Have you been using the Roost 2 in the field? How does it compare to when you first reviewed it?

    • Gary 4 years ago

      @KJ: I’ve been using the Roost 1.0 since launch and pre-ordered the Roost 2.0. After a couple of weeks using the latter, my thoughts are that it is indeed more usable than the previous version, but not without some minor niggles of it’s own.

      The arrangement of the mounting hooks on the original meant having to stand up to visually align them with the laptop hinge – a process that only takes a couple of seconds and that I got used to, but the new model allows me to grab all my stuff out of my bag and set it up without needing to leave my seat; a small, but appreciable advantage.

      While the new version does allow you to close the laptop while on the stand, sticklers for detail will be pained to discover that you can’t completely shut the lid due to the front hooks. This doesn’t affect the sleep functionality on my MBP, however.

      The height adjustment on the 2.0 isn’t a big deal for me as the default (tallest) setting is the one that generally suits me best; I’ve had little reason to use that feature, but it’s nice to have as an option if I’m ever in a different environment that requires it. Also worth noting: you can only adjust the height downwards while the laptop is mounted on the stand

      Aesthetically, I really feel the 2.0 is a step backwards. While it still feels perfectly stable, it looks a little bit cheap and plain in comparison to the carbon-fibre components of my 1.0. Also, the rubberised hooks have a tendency to collect dust, which doesn’t help with the overall attractiveness. The new rip-stop carry case is definitely an all-round improvement on the old fabric one, though.

      In the end, while I originally intended to sell on my original Roost after receiving the newer model, I think I’m going to hold on to it after all…