I recently reviewed a laptop cooling stand, and Herb Ostroff, the CEO of Ergo-Tilt, contacted Julie to ask if we’d put his Ergo-Tilt laptop stand through the same tests. We agreed, and Herb quickly shipped out a couple of stands to me. The Ergo-Tilt stands are designed to keep your back, neck, and wrists relaxed by lifting your laptop up to improve the typing and viewing angles and to allow ventilation under the laptop to help keep it cool. Let’s see how it performed.
Ergo-Tilt is a Canadian company, but they ship internationally. To make things easy on us here in the US, they even have a US page with prices shown in American dollars. They are a socially responsible company. Ergo-Tilt stands are assembled in workshops for challenged individuals. They are all plastic with no metals, so the stands are easily recyclable. Even their packaging is made from recycled materials.
The Ergo-Tilt is a one-size-fits-all-laptops product. I measured it at about 13.6” X 12.10” X 0.75” when closed. I couldn’t fit it on my digital kitchen scale very easily, but the website says the stand weighs 8.9 oz. There’s a hinge at the back that opens to raise the back end of the stand to about 3 inches.
It is currently available in black, yellow, lime, and pink, although they also show a couple other colors in pictures on their website. I requested a yellow stand. I was surprised when I received both a yellow and a pink stand. The Ergo-Tilt URL is molded into the raised lip. There is a large paper label on the surface of the stand area and a small one centered on the raised lip area. The labels have the Ergo-Tilt logo and URL on them. The stands can be branded for any reseller by replacing these stickers with another logo.
The front of the stand has a raised lip to prevent the laptop from sliding off the stand. At first, I thought both the yellow and pink stands were exactly the same, but I quickly realized that the pink stand had a raised tab at each end of the raised lip. Info from Herb said they had recently added the tabs to their molds to prevent laptops with very rounded fronts from slipping over the raised lip.
My MacBook Pro worked well on the yellow stand without the retaining tabs. Of course, I tried out both stands with my laptop. I was a little afraid that the retaining tabs would dig into my wrists and make using the stand uncomfortable, but that wasn’t the case. The front of my laptop is tall enough that the tabs were below the level of the laptop’s wrist rest area.
I already mentioned that the Ergo-Tilt is one-size-fits-all-laptops. Because I have a 13” MacBook Pro, you can see that the stand is bigger than the laptop. It’s not very much wider, but it is about 2.25” deeper than needed for my laptop. That means the stand takes up much more real estate on my tiny laptop table than it should to fit my laptop.
The angle/height of the Ergo-Tilt stand isn’t adjustable. You unfold the leg at the back into a single position. I’ve mentioned my tiny laptop table (too?) many times. Not only is the tabletop small, but the stand is very low, too. Normal desks are usually about 29” tall, but my stand is only about 24” tall. Even being 5-foot-nothing, I find this table a bit low, so I was hoping the stand would make using the computer more comfortable. It does raise the screen enough that I don’t slouch as much to view the screen, so my back and neck feel a bit more comfortable. The stand, when sitting on the very low table, isn’t as comfortable for my wrists as I’d like, though. My wrists are too flexed, with the hands angled back toward my arms, when I’m using the very low table. However, I do plan to replace this table with a standard desk, so I decided I should also try the Ergo-Tilt on something with a standard height. My kitchen table is about the same height as a desk, so I tried the stand on it. With the higher table, I found the angle much more comfortable. My arm/wrist/hand was almost a straight line as I typed. Since having your wrists bent in weird angles while typing is the root cause of wrist pain and damage, having my wrists straight should help. Of course, I did mention that I’m only 5’ tall, so taller people using a standard desk may have the same problem I have on my low table.
I was a little concerned by the way the hinge flexes when pressure is applied to the laptop area. I don’t think there’s any way that the weight of any laptop I’ve seen would cause the hinge to flex too far and break, though. However, the Ergo-Tilt is covered by a 5-year warranty, so you’ll probably be covered if you do have a problem with the hinge.
The Ergo-Tilt stand is designed to fold up fairly flat so you can carry it in your laptop bag. I carry my laptop in the Cocoon Kips Bay bag for the 13” MacBook Pro, and the Ergo-Tilt is far too big to fit in my bag.
You’ll notice that the Ergo-Tilt is vented. Like many laptop stands, the Ergo-Tilt says it will help keep your laptop cooler. The stand doesn’t have any fans that require power from your laptop battery. It is a passive cooler that simply allows airflow under the laptop, and the vents are designed to allow the cooling air to reach the bottom of the laptop itself.
I put the cooling claims to the test using the same method I used before. I used the MagicanPaster app from the Mac App store to measure the CPU, battery, and disk temperatures to quantify the cooling function of the stand. I used the MagicanPaster app to see the internal temperatures of my laptop as I used it in normal conditions. I don’t use my laptop under carefully controlled testing facility conditions. I do use it in an air-conditioned room. I do a lot of surfing, photo editing, word-processing, emailing, and the like on my laptop. I am not a gamer. I started out with the laptop just sitting flat on my laptop table. I never took a temperature reading immediately after waking up the laptop. I would wait until I had been using the laptop for more than an hour before I took a temperature. After a few days of collecting temperatures with no stand, I placed the laptop on the yellow Ergo-Tilt stand and collected temperatures during use just as described for the no-stand period. You can see from the data (above, click for a larger view) that there is no clear evidence that the stand cools the laptop during use.
I also ran a flash test to see how the stand cooled while my laptop was being used at heavier load than normal. There were no golf games I could use like in my earlier test, so I used the Flash Stress Test at the Munsie Games website. The stress test exercises your computer by displaying a lot of images on your screen in a 30-second burst. I started by testing with no stand. I took a starting temperature reading, then I ran the test two times, immediately back-to-back, then re-checked the temperatures using MagicanPaster. I waited about 30 minutes (with the laptop in sleep mode) while the laptop cooled down, put it on the Ergo-Tilt stand, took a starting temperature, then ran the flash stress test just as before. Again, I don’t see any strong evidence that the stand keeps the laptop running cooler.
I found the Ergo-Tilt laptop stand elevated my laptop screen to a good viewing angle and kept my wrists at a comfortable, straight angle when I used it on a standard-height table. I didn’t find any cooling benefits, but you might find it more effective if you laptop tends to run hotter than mine does normally or if your laptop has cooling vents on its bottom. You should be able to fold up and take the Ergo-Stand along with you in your laptop bag, so you can type comfortably where ever you are.