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Summary:

A simple, but beautiful piece of plastic, the Griffin iCurve is the simplest, and yet one of the most effective methods of putting your Apple Powerbook (or any other laptop). But somehow this piece of plastic does so much more.

These days, desk space is as expensive a commodity. Many people have moved over to laptops, not because the laptop is more convenient, or even that they need the portable functionality, but because it simply takes up less space. The problem is that laptops really aren’t all that comfortable for long periods of time on a desk; the screen is too low and for the many the keyboard isn’t the right size or doesn’t have the right feel to make it comfortable.

It seems foolish to consider using an LCD display in place of the on in your laptop; especially since laptops (PowerBooks especially) have top of the range LCD panels in them already. Adding a keyboard is easier, but then you have the problem of siting your laptop so that the display is at a reasonable height. My wife uses a stack of thick books. Not the best solution, but it’s simple, and practical and has the benefit of infinite height adjustment just by choosing a different selection of dead trees.

The Griffin iCurve on the other hand is at a fixed height, but the height is perfect for most people to have the monitor at exactly the right height – just below eye level. Better still, it’s even more perfectly aligned so that most PowerBooks, iBooks and other laptops will be the same height as most LCD panels, including Apple’s own brushed aluminium options. Being high-up and with only two simple arms for supporting the laptops (with slip-resistant rubber) it also helps to keep most laptops very cool. Since putting my 17″ PowerBook on one, the fan has come on far less frequently, even when relatively heavily loaded.

The iCurve is, simply, a piece of plastic, but in addition to a more comfortable angle, better LCD height, easier access to the various ports on your laptop, it also gives you back the desk space you lost when the laptop arrived. When combined with a decent keyboard, it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking you are a desktop again but with a considerable smaller footprint and better access.

Best of all though, that desk space you lost and regained can be used for other things. I have two iCurves on my desk. One houses what can only be described as an iPod station, holding the cables (the legs and a Velcro strap are great for anchoring cables) and docks for my iPods, along with the bags I use for the cables, headphones and remotes. Until recently, the other iCurve held my paperwork (including all my paper notebooks) in a nice convenient stack. Right now, it’s holding my Mac Mini, giving me two powerful little computers in the space of the old laptop. At a stretch, I could fit two Minis under there, and believe me it’s tempting to do so.

If you’ve got a laptop, like using another keyboard, and find you are either using books or have a crick in your neck for staring down at your monitor, then get an iCurve. You’ll be amazed how much it improves your working environment.

  1. I’ve been using the Podium CoolPad for the same purpose.

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  2. Had an iCurve for a day or two, but didn’t like the fixed height. It sat up too tall compared to the display I had it next to, so I took it back. I ended up making one in my woodshop to fit the exact height that I needed.

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  3. I had the same problem, so I molded one out of pasta and coated it with epoxy in my kitchen/chemistry lab.

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  4. My iCurve was a week old when the heat of my Powerbook weakened the adhesive holding the slip-resistant rubber pads. I have never been able to get the pads to stay.

    Second quibble; mine iCurve is crooked! The arms are not bent at the same angle and the computer leans a bit.

    I’ve been considering the Kensington pod solution but the iCurve allows one to use the keyboard. That is a real plus.

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  5. Product is initally good, quality is horrid. My iCurve has deformed (over time, one of the supports has become lower than the other) and Griffin says they wont’ replace it (they’ve now lost a customer)

    To be avoided.

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  6. One must be very clear about those for whom this product was designed: people who prefer an auxiliary keyboard and find their laptop’s monitor now too low, too far away, or taking up too much desk space. (The latter are more important, for one otherwise needn’t bend one’s head more than a monk meditating.)

    This arrangement is attractive to touch typists who prefer a full-sized keyboard (though I’m accustomed to typing on portables), brings the monitor closer (which is important), gives you more desk space (of limited height), and it ventilates the bottom of Mac laptops (notorious for being susceptible to heat damage).

    You can no longer type on your laptop’s keyboard, though. Even if you had a short desk, so your laptop’s keyboard were now at a height where your elbows can rest on your chair’s armrests, and your wrists aren’t bent, the iCurves arms will flex as you type, causing it to bounce.

    You must use an auxiliary keyboard. Be sure you know whom the iCurve is for before buying it.

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  7. Can’t vouch for more recent versions, but my 2001 edition iCurve *just* cracked and broke on me after valiantly and beautifully serving first a white iBook and more recently a black MacBook over the course of 8 years. Now to find a replacement… :(

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