College students and professors will be headed to campus this year in what we all hope is a more normal school year. While students will need certain things like bed sheets, coffee makers, microwave ovens, and other things for their dorm room, nothing is more important than a laptop they can use for class and everything else they’ll need to do online.
If you’ve ever used a laptop for your primary computer, you may have noticed they can be a pain in the neck. And a pain in the back as you’re forced to look downward at the screen and keyboard.
A relatively new consumer gadget is gaining new fans who frequently use laptops for hours every day. Laptop stands raise the keyboard and screen combo to a more comfortable height. I found one on Amazon for about $15 and just got it in the mail. The stand is made of metal and folds up small so it won’t take up much room at all in my laptop bag. Unfolding it, the arms have a padded place where the front edge of the laptop rests and two legs that adjust to different heights and angles. The result is a laptop screen that’s at eye level.
If you’ve ever watched someone’s Zoom video stream where you’re looking up their nostrils as they look down at the camera, you’d rather not repeat that look yourself. There are many laptop stands to choose from and I cannot attest that one is better than the other. The most important thing to consider is how sturdy it is because you don’t want your laptop to come crashing down on whatever it is resting on.
Using a laptop stand does present a couple of challenges though. If you use the laptop stand for more than just Zoom meetings, you’ll want to think about adding a Bluetooth wireless keyboard. Since the laptop is on a stand, the keyboard and trackpad are at an uncomfortable angle for typing and moving the mouse around the screen.
I picked up a Logitech Bluetooth keyboard that’s thin and relatively small while still providing a comfortable place to type. This particular keyboard will connect to multiple devices at the same time. Say you’re working on the laptop and receive a text message on your phone. You can tap a button to switch from the laptop to the phone and switch again to a third device such as an iPad. I didn’t think I’d use this feature but find it to be helpful when responding to messages on my phone.
Even if your laptop is not on a stand, you may still want to use a computer mouse (not everyone loves the trackpad). A wireless Bluetooth mouse is helpful to anyone who’d rather use their laptop as their primary desktop computer. Some come with a USB dongle that’s required to plug into an available port on the laptop while others connect only through Bluetooth directly to the laptop, phone or tablet.
If you do end up using a laptop stand I think you’ll find a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse are necessary.
Best of all though, these will all fit inside a packed backpack without taking up too much room.
I should also mention that Back To School time is a great time of year for anyone to pick up gadgets like these for remote work.