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Summary:

Laptop computers are awfully useful, but they’re not easy to use ergonomically. The new LapDawg Pug is a portable table that’s designed to help us use laptops more comfortably.

Laptop computers are awfully useful, but they’re not easy to use ergonomically. The new LapDawg Pug is a portable table that’s designed to help us use laptops more comfortably.

The top surface of the Pug includes felt-covered mouse pads on each side, and a cup holder. In the center is a platform on which a laptop can be placed; it can be set to three different angles. In this platform, there are two fold-up tabs to hold the laptop in place, and a surprisingly powerful but quiet USB-powered fan to dissipate heat from the laptop.

The Pug can be used in several configurations. With the legs folded flat, it’s essentially a two-inch thick shelf. The legs can be extended halfway, to make it into a tray about 11-1/2 inches tall. With the legs fully extended, it becomes a table about 20 inches tall — about the height of a coffee table.

After working with the unit that LapDawg sent me to try, I’m guessing that most people will find the Pug most useful with its legs in the middle position. Configured that way, the Pug should be comfortable for most people to use while sitting on a couch. I also experimented with using the Pug while propped up in bed, and it was quite comfortable. I try not to bring my work to bed, though!

The Pug is made of lightweight plastic; LapDawg says it weighs 4.5 pounds. But at 24.5 x 13 x 2 inches, it’s really too big to put in one’s luggage, though it could be easily packed in a car.

The Pug feels sturdy and well-constructed. My only complaints are minor: the leg joints require enough force to click into place that I was afraid that I was applying too much pressure. Also, the USB cable supplied with the Pug is very short, and you’ll probably need an extension cable if your laptop happens to have its USB ports on the left.

The Pug is available from LapDawg’s website for US$59.00, plus a whopping $22.65 for ground shipping to the U.S. It’s available with free shipping in Canada, since the company is headquartered in Toronto.

LapDawg also makes the X4, which is a simpler, but more flexible (and more expensive) tray. I haven’t tried it, but Charles Moore wrote about it, and other similar products, a few months ago.

The LapDawg Pug is a well-designed and well-built product; it comes with a lifetime guarantee. But although LapDawg offers 30-day returns, I recommend that you consider how you plan to use it before you buy. Some people may prefer to sacrifice the larger size of the Pug, plus its mouse pads and cup holder, for the increased flexibility of the X4, or one of the other options Charles recommended.

How do you balance your laptop?

  1. Well-designed? This thing is FUGLY.

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  2. Ann Onnymous Friday, April 30, 2010

    The Pug people say, ‘thanks for the review.’ I bet Mr. Hamilton won’t even remember he has the thing next week.

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  3. @Josh – agreed. I know form follows function, but it should at least be pleasing to the eye.

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  4. Agreed, the form is ugly. But more importantly, angling the laptop as the table does is not ergonomic. So, form + function = fail.

    This is where most products aimed at angling keyboards fail: they angle the top row of keys higher than the front, causing the typist to angle their wrists in an uncomfortable position with potentially damaging effects on the carpal tunnel nerves.

    –cz

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