When All This Happened and I realized that I would be toiling from home for the foreseeable future, I received an email newsletter from The Wirecutter recommending gear that would be useful for working from home. Talk about great timing!
Within a few days of working in this new always toiling-from-home environment, I recognized that looking down at my laptop for hours on end would be an ergonomic disaster waiting to happen. I should probably get a laptop stand to raise the display.
The Wirecutter’s top pick was the Rain Design iLevel 2 laptop stand. There were other, cheaper options, but I figured spending an extra $20 would be worth it considering the hundreds of hours I would spend working on my laptop at home. In the Age of the Virus, I wouldn’t be working at coffee shops and brewery taprooms any time soon.
Let’s get it from Amazon!
As we know, The Wirecutter makes money from referring customers to Amazon and other online retailers. (By the way, I do the same thing with this website. So please shop liberally!) Their recommendation for the iLevel 2 refers you to buy it from Amazon. Of course, the Wirecutter’s commission is fair for all the testing they did. “Fine. Let’s get it from Amazon,” I thought.
Apparently, everyone else had the same idea: “order everything from Amazon!” As has been well-documented, Amazon deliveries are taking a long time. The iLevel wouldn’t arrive until late April.
And as of this post’s publication, it doesn’t even show up on Amazon. Eeek! Maybe you can find it, and if you do, I might get a commission if you buy through this link.
However, I was able to find the iLevel from Rain Design’s website. It would arrive in a week from their East Bay headquarters via free–UPS Ground shipping.
After receiving the package, I disinfected the contents because that’s the age we live in now. I installed the sanitized laptop stand, and started working. Almost immediately, I noticed that my MacBook Pro would bounce with each keystroke. It would spring up-and-down when I typed a number or anything in the home row. This wasn’t going to work.
I looked at the Feature photo on Rain Design’s website and noticed that the iLevel is pictured with a keyboard and a mouse.
Fortunately, I usually use a mouse with my MacBook Pro when I’m at home, so I had one handy. I also had a Bluetooth keyboard that came with an iMac I bought in 2009. At some point, I upgraded the keyboard to one with a numeric keypad for the iMac—and I kept the wireless keyboard to use with my pre-Pro iPads.
My MacBook Pro was now effectively a portable desktop computer. It’s also cool that the iLevel’s aluminum body perfectly matches my MacBook Pro. [Chef’s Kiss!]
The New Normal
I’ve used this setup for two full weeks, and it’s been great. I don’t have any physical discomfort from working hours on end at the same desk, although I do take frequent bathroom breaks because I drink a lot of water—both flat and fizzy. That was the primary reason for getting the laptop stand in the first place.
The other cool benefit is that the stand’s height is adjustable. In the Age of the Virus and all the videoconferences—Zoom, Meet, Teams, you name it—it really helps for me to raise and lower the laptop’s front-facing camera to find a flattering angle for my mug.
One thing I am considering replacing is my keyboard. It feels a little stiff, as if I have to tap extra hard for each keystroke. Part of this might be because I just had the top case replaced on my 2015 MacBook Pro, and the built-in keyboard is new and feels pleasantly responsive.
But as far as the laptop stand, it’s been great. I’m just not sure if my iLevel is the same as the iLevel 2 that The Wirecutter tested.