- Review Price: £111.00
Back in March I stumbled across something weird. I wasn’t really sure how to describe it and two months later I’m not doing much better. It’s a kind of laptop rest/mobile table/hospital food tray with pizzazz.
It is at times like these (when a trained journalist struggles for a grasp of basic English) that a picture is worth a thousand words, so hopefully casting your gaze up and down is giving you some idea of what I’m prattling on about? Besides which, the idea is really very simple: the surfACE (witty capitalisation) is designed to keep your scolding hot laptop off your delicate pink thighs, create a better viewing angle and provide space for a mouse and even a drink.
Now I haven’t tried the drink (mainly because I don’t trust myself not to forget it and leap up for some random reason), but the surfACE performs the other facets remarkably well. I say “remarkably” because this is such a simple idea it’s easy to mess up.
For a start the construction material has to be incredibly strong, yet also light. It needs to be scratch and heat resistant and cradle your laptop like a precious newborn. edgeBLUR achieves this by using acrylic (we have clear but it also comes in white) which is a high class, if expensive, way of getting round these challenges.
The same can be said of the machine drilled aluminium cylinders which provide the surfACE with its adjustable height and shape and how they work is so clever I can’t believe it’s not more common.
If you look closely you can see the legs and two laptop support columns are split into segments. These segments come in four variants. The standard cylinders (of which there are 30) that screw into one another to add length, two rubber topped cylinders (that come into direct contact with the laptop), six smooth bottoms and four flat stylised tops (they look like they would fit a giant flat screwdriver).
This approach works very well. The deep threads inside the cylinders produce a satisfying grind as they tighten and a “chumph” as they lock (think of the noise a luxury car door makes when it closes). No tools are required for construction and adjustments can be made in seconds.
This last piece of information is particularly important, because like those cheesy jumpers from the 80s the surfACE is reversible.
Unlike cheesy jumpers from the 80s (whose sole purpose seemed to be to transfer body sweat from the inside to the outside of your clothes) this is a good idea. The basic premise is that when sitting on a couch or bed you want that hospital tray-style arrangement, but in a chair with arms this is useless so the surfACE flips over to hang its weight from the side rests and hovers over your legs (see the example above, complete with nice reversible jumper). Making this adjustment is simple: just unscrew the two rubber topped, laptop supporting columns, turn the surfACE over and screw them back in.
They say that the best designs are the simple ones and this was fast becoming my experience with the surfACE. Let me give you another example: you’ll notice its top is drilled with holes. Not only does this mean you can screw in the aluminium columns anywhere and create some really customised designs to suit your own needs (try a tripod design or check out the crazy shot below from edgeBLUR’s website) but they also double up as air vents, letting the heat disperse naturally from around the laptop.
This latter point has the quadruple benefit of (1.) Keeping the laptop cooler so (2.) the fan comes on less, (3.) the battery then lasts longer and (4.) there is less noise emission. The increase in battery life isn’t massive (I got about 20 minutes more on average with my 350 minute double battery fitted laptop), but the reduction in decibels was more than welcome.
It was also nice to become reacquainted with my mouse. Since a laptop has largely taken over from the desktop as my main workhorse I’d not used a mouse in a while and I had forgotten what a joy they are compared to a touchpad. I can be a bit of a gamer too so the advantages for me were obvious.
Now up to this point this is a pretty glowing review and I have to admit the surfACE itself is fabulous, but there’s a but and it’s a big one. Acrylic, aluminium, thoughtful design… I bet you can guess already? Yes, it’s the price and it’s horrendous.
£110.62 including VAT and free delivery (it would have to be!) and this is after edgeBLUR has setup its own UK delivery distribution centre since we covered it in March. Consequently, I am forced to divide potential customers into two categories: those who NEED it and those who would LIKE it.
Like an expensive car stereo system for a long distance commuter or a £350 graphics card for a hardcore gamer, if you will make use of the surfACE everyday for a decent period of time I say sprint out and get one. Your thighs with thank you in ways you couldn’t imagine and abandoning the touchpad will result in similar rewards from your wrist. The surfACE is simply one of the best designed computer peripherals I have seen.
For the rest of you, I guess you can make up your own minds, but I can think of many better ways to spend £110.62 than exchanging it for something that is going to gather dust in a cupboard.
This is the Aston Martin of laptop stands, suggesting every positive and negative connotation this analogy conjures. Riyad recently had a similar experience with Apple’s 30in Cinema Display and like him I can’t not recommend this product as it does its job too well. I now own a surfACE myself and I couldn’t live without it, if you could, I advise you don’t join me.
Edgeblur has dropped the price of the surfACE significantly. The clear acrylic model (seen here) now retails for $119, with the translucent white varient coming in at $115. At those prices you should definitely check em out.