Review: The Roost Stand


I've struggled with RSI for more than 15 years. I've tried splints, injections, nerve stipulation therapy without success. When I was a Freshman in college the doctor recommended surgery to both hands At 18 years old, I was nervous. Carpal Tunnel surgery was pretty common even at that time, but no one could really tell me it would solve my problem or how long the fix would last.

Instead of surgery I was connected with an Ergonomist and learned about changes I could make to my environment to ease my symptoms. Simple things like adjusting the height of my chair, keyboard and monitor helped tremendously. I also picked up a specialized keyboard and mouse and started a strengthening program at the gym. While I still have pain from time to time, it's nothing like it once was and I'm living a normal life with all my parts intact.

When I do experience pain, I can usually attribute to bad behavior on my part, mostly poor posture. While it's easy to be good at home or at the office where I am able to customize my setup, working on the go with a notebook is still problematic. By their very design, the integrated keyboard, trackpad and screen of a notebook computer is not very ergonomic and I find extended work periods with my head down and crunched over the keyboard lead to problems.

This brings me to the Roost. The Roost is a notebook stand that is designed to be portable. It's unlike anything I've ever seen in that it will raise your notebook to a comfortable eye level, hold your computer in place securely for hours but then can be folded up to about the size of a travel umbrella and tucked back into your bag.

The few other "travel" notebook stands I've seen tend to be limited to tilting your notebook up an inch or two at best. While this may help raise the keyboard to a more comfortable typing angle, it still requires you to crank your neck downward and hunch over. The Roost is the only portable notebook stand I've seen that will raise your computer to a proper eye-level and thus keep your neck and back in line.

The Roost is made of Carbon Fiber, weights 5 oz and the developer claims it can hold up to 200 lbs. (I didn't try.) It holds your notebook securely by attaching through the hinge and is compatible with most laptops larger than 13" that have a hinge and they offer a fit guide to verify. It can be a little tricky to attach your notebook the first time you try (the developer made a video explaining) but once you have the hang of it it's easy to mount and dismount your notebook from the Roost.

Once on the stand, I found I was able to bump and jiggle the stand and even tilt it from side to side and my 13" MacBook Air stayed securely in place. However you must remember not to close the lid while it is on the Roost or it will disengage the clip mechanism and cause your notebook to slide off. The developer warned me about this but I forgot at once point and my MacBook Air came off. Thankfully I was able to catch it without incident.

The very design of the Roost makes it difficult (though not impossible) to use the notebook without an external keyboard and mouse. Keep this in mind before ordering. The design premise of the Roost was to raise the laptop to a comfortable and ergonomically correct angle for viewing, doing this naturally puts the keyboard and trackpad at a nearly unusable level. You'll need to travel with a separate keyboard and mouse, which if you wanted to be ergonomically correct, is the appropriate way to do things anyway. (As a side note, I just picked up the Logitech K760 Wireless Solar Keyboard and have been very happy with that purchase.)

The Roost is the most ergonomically correct and functional portable notebook stand I've ever used and is certainly the most innovative. Previously I avoided taking my MacBook Air out for long work sessions due to discomfort, I'm now much more likely to do so by tucking the Roost and a bluetooth keyboard and mouse in my bag. It suddenly makes my portable computer much more portable.