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Sep 092011
 
Workstation side profile

On my laptop desk: a keyboard, mouse, a DJ laptop stand, and my laptop

I work long hours on my laptop, and by the time I log out, I usually have a good ol’ backache. That’s no mystery—laptops are really not ergonomic, and that’s the reason why they’re not supposed to be used for hours and hours straight. But I’m not some rich kid who can buy a separate PC just to have a more ergonomic set up. I knew I was ruining my posture, and while I didn’t have the money for the most obvious solution, I had to be resourceful and find an alternative.

The problem with a laptop is that there’s really no way to make it ergonomic on its own. Your arms must be L-shaped while typing, and your eyes must look forward into the screen. That’s impossible when the screen and the keyboard are attached to each other. To make things worse, I often use an office desk of the usual height, which means the keyboard is too high for my arms and the screen is too low for my eyes. I unconsciously end up frozen in a hunched position, which I’ve little doubt is too reminiscent of Quasimodo.

The typical laptop lift/stand won

I thought of two ways of solving the problem: 1) setting the laptop at the right arm height and then pumping out the video on a separate monitor that’s at eye level, or 2) lifting up the laptop screen at screen at eye level, and then using a separate keyboard at arm height. Since I didn’t have the space for a new monitor, I scrapped the first option out. I’ve seen set ups that involved using a laptop lift/stand, so I thought that might work, but then I realized that my laptop doesn’t open up wide enough for these stands. My laptop’s screen would end up facing downwards.

laptop desk, keyboard, DJ laptop stand, and laptop

My home workstation: laptop desk, keyboard, DJ laptop stand, and laptop

Luckily, after months of searching, I found the solution: use a DJ laptop stand and a laptop table. The DJ laptop stand will lift my laptop high without demanding that it open as much as the usual stand would, and the laptop table will hold both the stand+laptop and an extra keyboard. Thank God for that DJ laptop stand. I’m no DJ so I don’t really know what they use these stands for, but I sure am glad that they’re there.

So here’s the full list of components:

Computer chair

Got it from Festival Mall for P1k+. There are better ones out there, but I’m on a budget.

Laptop desk

It was on sale at Handyman for P400, so I grabbed it immediately. But I think prices are ordinarily around P500. Be warned: a lot of laptop desks that are for sale are for your bed, especially the ones at CD-R King. They’re not what you want if you’re setting up a real workstation. Before you buy, make sure that the laptop desk is the right height for someone seated.

Keyboard

Mine is a very expensive Apple Aluminum Bluetooth Keyboard. It retails for around P5k. I had my reasons for buying it, but most people would be fine with an ordinary USB keyboard. There are some that sell for P200 at CD-R King.

DJ laptop stand

The one I got doesn’t seem to be commercially available here in the Philippines. I bought it from this guy here, who shipped it in from abroad. This model is very sturdy and heavy, and it works great for a semi-permanent set up. If you’re a mobile worker and you want to bring it around, you can get a Stanton Uber Stand, but that’s more than three times the price of mine.

Mouse

You don’t expect to use the trackpad much in this setup. I already had a wireless mouse which a friend gave me as a gift, so I was good to go. But if you don’t have a mouse yet, CDR-King sells a whole slew of USB optical mice for only P150.

A few more photos:

View from the top

View from the top

Box for the DJ laptop stand

Box for the DJ laptop stand

DJ laptop stand

DJ laptop stand

About Joy Antonio

Joy Antonio is a marketing communications entrepreneur, but she's more famous for helping people with their computer problems. She likes reading mystery novels, playing table tennis, and singing her lungs out in karaoke.
Read other posts by Joy Antonio.

  2 Responses to “My fight against backaches: a more comfortable laptop workstation”

  1. My job also requires me to sit in front of the PC for hours on end. To preserve my eyes, knees, and back, what works for me is standing up and walking around a bit every hour or so. Those breaks of a few minutes each (taught to me by my orthopedic surgeon) have helped me to get rid of the knee aches and backaches that I used to get :)

  2. The information which has been provided in this blog is simply interesting and it is really great that you’ve highlighted the main issue which most of users face during the operating laptop while working on laptop stand. I have also faced the backaches most of time.

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