Review: Lapvantage Dome

However, no one tells these people about ergonomics. No one tells them (October 3rd, 2002)

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Product Manufacturer: Lapvantage

Price: $79

The Good

  • Strong construction, rubber feet for better heat dissipation

The Bad

  • None

Computer users get told frequently that they only need to buy a laptop, and they can plug in a keyboard and use it as a desktop machine. However, no one tells these people about ergonomics. No one tells them that their neck will hurt because the keyboard is at the right height but the screen is too low.

Lapvantage / plasticsmiths, who make this device are great people, but they want the unit they sent me returned to them. This isn't uncommon, but it calls to mind a Clint Eastwood quote, from The Outlaw Josey Wales, where Clint comments, "Whenever I get to liking someone, they ain't around long," to which the Chief responds "I noticed when you get to disliking someone they ain't around for long neither."

So it is with the Lapvantage Dome Deluxe- I liked it, and it ain't gonna be around for long.

Design

Mac users love good design. And in the absence of original design, they like things influenced by good design. The Lapvantage Dome should remind you of the iMac Flat Panel computer. It hasn't got the articulated arm, but the clear acrylic platform on top of its fixed arm is nearly identical to the clear frame around the iMac LCD.

The Dome is a different texture than the iMac hemisphere, but it's a dead ringer for the Apple computer.

What's the point of it?

So, it makes a laptop sitting atop the Dome look like an iMac. But it isn't all about looks. The Dome raises the laptop up to eye level, making the screen easy to see without neck and back discomfort. Of course, now the keyboard is too high.

So, pretend it's a desktop machine, connect an Apple Pro Keyboard and Pro Mouse, and work comfortably. When it's time to go on the road, unplug and go. Your neck, back, and wrists will thank you.

What else can it do?

Well, the iMac screen rotates so you can see it comfortably. The Dome rotates on its base. The iMac neck raises up and down. The Dome neck adjusts with a screw knob on the back of the Dome.

The base sits on six rubber feet that keep it from moving on the table.

One of the biggest functional differences between the Dome and the original Lapvantage Ergo stand is that the new unit is height adjustable. The laptop platform, which is made from clear polished acrylic, and measures 13.5" (width) x 11.25" (depth) x .25" (thickness), is attached to a 4/5th size colored (white or black) sub-platform, with both components through-riveted to yet another, 1/3 size aluminum base platform, which is screwed securely to a heavy-duty, anodized aluminum angled support arm which intersects with and retracts into the domed base at a 45 degree angle.

The arm adjusts by 1 and 3/4 inches. The Dome seems very sturdy, and can handle very heavy objects, supposedly as much as 75 lbs. I didn't have 75 pounds to set on top of it, still, I stacked an old iMac CRT model on top of it, and those things weigh 40-some pounds. The Dome didn't even notice.

For people whose laptops make excessive heat, the Dome comes with two extra rubber feet, which you can stick to the back of the clear acrylic- this will prop up the laptop, letting more cool air circulate underneath. Normally propping a laptop up in back means the keyboard is at a bad angle for typing- but then, you aren't going to use the laptop keyboard anyway, because you've got the computer perched atop the Dome.

The Dome is a nice piece of work. It's simple- but then, simplicity is beautiful.

by Victor Marks


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