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Lap Desks

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the someone-help-me dept.

Portables 276

I have a 15" laptop and have used a number of lap desks over the years, and none have satisfied me. I don't really need a mouse pad space (trackpad) but it wouldn't hurt to have a mouse space available for gaming. I sit in a very large chair so using the armrests isn't an option. I'm just curious what experience you all have with various lap desks. Any particular favorites? I've seen shelves that you can slide over your chair, to glorified pieces of plywood, but what have you turned up?

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276 comments

Well... (5, Funny)

JK_the_Slacker (1175625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350803)

...if you're hoping that a lap desk will "satisfy" you, then I'm afraid that you need to get out more.

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351109)

I don't know, if he gets some power and lube wired into it, and other appropriate attachments, it could make his browsing and gaming experiences a lot more explosive

Work on a laptop? (5, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350829)

If you really want to work on a laptop, put it on a real desk and connect a screen and keyboard to it. Laptops are not ergonomical. They're only handy for when you're on the move.

Re:Work on a laptop? (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351445)

Sounds like you've got the wrong laptop. The Macbook Pro I'm typing this on serves as my primary computer day-to-day without any external hardware.

Re:Work on a laptop? (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351769)

I have one of those too. It has a nice keyboard but the fact that the screen is connected to the keyboard makes for uncomfortable typing. I wouldn't use it as my main computer to work on but for the rest I'm very very happy with it.

Re:Work on a laptop? (4, Informative)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351949)

Depends on whether you have a real "laptop" or one of those 'luggable' "portable desktop replacements."

I have a 15" ThinkPad and it's definitely a find-a-table sort of deal. Although it has a nice keyboard and TrackPoint, it's so heavy that I'm constantly fighting to keep it from sliding away if it's on my lap, and it gets quite hot (and it has an exhaust vent that's easy to block if it's not on a table). My SO's Dell (some sort of monstrous thing, maybe a 17"?) is even worse. They both have a lot of sharp corners and hard edges.

But on the other end, I have a 12" iBook, an old G3 model, that works fine on my lap. It gets warm but not uncomfortably hot, the trackpad is positioned so that you can move back and forth from it to the keyboard without a lot of problems, it's light and doesn't slide much, and there's no hot-air exhaust to worry about blocking. It's not quite "curl up with a book" small and light, but it's pretty close. Also, even though it's 5 years old, the battery still runs for hours longer than the ThinkPad or the Dell.

I have no idea whether the current 12" Apple laptops are as "lappable" as my old one, but you could do worse than to pick up an old G3. It would probably run Ubuntu quite handily.

Anything bigger than 12", IMO, is too big for real 'laptop' use.

Simple = best (5, Informative)

toleraen (831634) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350891)

The "lap desk" I use is basically just a chunk of smooth wood with sort of a bean-bag pillow attached to the bottom. $10 from my local college marketing class. Works perfectly, doesn't get too hot, etc.

Re:Simple = best (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350965)

A breakfast in bed tray works well, at least when using a laptop on a bed. Not so great in a chair -- ok on a couch.

Re:Simple = best (2, Informative)

rwven (663186) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351129)

I actually bought some TV trays from Walmart a while back. I removed the legs from one and use the top surface as a lapdesk. No padding or anything like that. It's big enough for my 15" MBP, time machine HDD, and mouse.

Re:Simple = best (3, Informative)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351279)

I do something similar. I collapse the legs on one of my TV trays and it turns in to a lap desk (end of the legs touch the floor and are parallel with my legs if your wondering). Then when I have to go do something I uncollapse the tray and stand it up. When in normal TV tray mode you can still use the laptop normally by just leaning in. It's the best solution for couch laptop use I have found.

Simple is best (1)

Cesium12 (1065628) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350913)

I just use a piece of wood on the armrests, which can be longer or shorter depending on the width of the chair. And there's room for a mouse on the side.

Plexiglass and padded plastic (3, Interesting)

Parmelia (59132) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350931)

I used to have a small hinged piece of plexiglass that I used because it was easy to tuck into my laptop bag and have with me all the time. It was enough to keep both me and the laptop from getting too hot. Best paired with jeans, though -- it wasn't *quite* enough for the hot days of summer when I wanted to have the laptop on bare legs.

I've seen ones with fans that plug in to USB, but to be honest, the extra fan noise kinda drives me crazy when it's that close to my ears.

What I'm using right now is a little padded lap desk like they occasionally sell packaged with crossword puzzle books and such. Plastic on top, pillow underneath, works well enough *and* it's fine even if I'm wearing a short skirt or shorts and need to keep the hot laptop off my legs. I've noticed they sell these specifically for laptops nowadays, but so far I haven't seen one that's small enough for me. I'm not that big, and neither is my laptop!

Re:Plexiglass and padded plastic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21351863)

Did anyone else reading the parent get to the word "skirt" and go OMG A GURRL?

Worthless without a cooling fan... (4, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350937)

I've been using primarily laptops for about 2 years, and none of them are suited for desktop replacement, because of the massive heat generated. I've been through 3 laptops in 9 months that had physical failures due to heat. I started a site to rant on about the hinge crack on my HP dv9000 [notebookhingecrack.com] model, and have received a few hundred search hits in a month or two.

I replaced that unit with a higher end Gateway, and now that one is generating too much heat. My previous model, a Toshiba, had the same problem. My Lenova, same problem.

Now I am searching on a decent desktop unit. All my computer life I always built my own, but I'm tired of it. I just want a powerful system that works for me without hardware issues. Software I can deal with, but it does seem that none of the manufacturers have any idea how to build a long term solution (and by long term, I mean just 12-18 months of use).

I built a lap-desk a year ago with cooling fans (not plywood, either), and it was functional, but still not perfect. I'd love to see Fellows or another ergonomically-inclined designer produce something useful, but I think the "art" and look-and-feel get in the way of making something truly functional.

My dream lap-desk? A Herman Miller designed desk for my Aeron chair. That would be just perfection, I believe.

Re:Worthless without a cooling fan... (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351149)

I might suggest not buying laptops from Best Buy and buying business notebooks instead of consumer oriented ones. Better choices [hp.com]

I have a nc8430 which is now discontinued but it is workstation class and doesn't generate too much heat. Yes it can get uncomfortable if I leave it on my laptop for six hours with the charger plugged in but if I'm off battery power all is well. It has held up rather well and it gets beat on pretty bad.

Others have suggested it though and I don't disagree, if you need a powerful workstation a desktop is a better and more ergonomic solution. I have to travel a lot and need the horsepower on the road so I'm rather stuck but it works out rather nicely for me. Pretty soon I'll have a tablet and my workstation notebook that will be used for the heavy lifting at my temporary desk setups while I use the tablet when I'm walking about the site since the place is saturated with wifi it's quite easy for me.

My next addition to my current laptop is this multi-monitor adapter, [sewelldirect.com] so I'll have pretty much everything I need in a very small and very portable package.

Re:Worthless without a cooling fan... (5, Informative)

Piedramente (1063240) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351227)

I'd check your laptop fans and make sure they are operation and not clogged.

I had a serious heat issue with a gateway until I opened it up and used compressed air to blast away some serious dust. What came out looked akin to dryer lint. No wonder that thing was getting hot.

The cleaning helped tremendously, but I had to do it fairly often. I consider issues such as this design flaws.

Re:Worthless without a cooling fan... (2, Informative)

confused_demon (1161841) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351393)

I second the idea of blowing the dust out of your laptop. I have an asus W3V, and after about a year it started to have serious overheating issues. After trying a bunch of different software setup things (drivers, resolution, etc.), I was about to give up and buy another computer when I decided to give it one last shot, and just blow all the dust out of it. After opening up the panels at the bottom, taking out the keyboard, and blasting air into it (got big chunks of dust that were probably at one time dust bunnies), it now works fine and no longer has any heating issues. Your problem with laptops overheating might be that you just live in a dusty area. As a side note, it took me a few years to break my wife of putting her laptop down ontop of a blanket to protect the coffee table. That cretainly contributed to overheating issues for her.

Re:Worthless without a cooling fan... (1)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351555)

My Sony VAIO had that problem. The fan vent on the underside was a bit clogged with dust, and it was obstructed by being on a flat surface (eg. table), even with the tabs folded out. The solution so far is to make sure there is at least a 2" clearance space around the fan vents on the underside.

Surely it wouldn't be that difficult to arrange the air cooling so that the vents are on the sides rather than underneath?

Re:Worthless without a cooling fan... (2, Informative)

ATL_gadget_grrl (1122351) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351663)

My MacBookPro is vented toward the back. That's a nice touch. The only problem I have found with the MBP is that its complete lack of feet makes use of laptop "desks" with fans useless because there's no air intake for circ. Picking up a package of stick-on furniture feet and putting them on the laptop desk solved the problem. Antec makes a pretty good desk with fan.

Re:Worthless without a cooling fan... (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351983)

I think you get this sort of problem with pretty much every computer which doesn't have filters, it just kicks in sooner with laptops. I'm amazed that even desktops don't have much in the way of removable dust filters. I suppose it's partly planned obsolescence. I actually look up service manuals for my prospective laptop purchases to see how easy it is to clean them out now.

Re:Worthless without a cooling fan... (1)

bkr1_2k (237627) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351593)

Seriously, from that many failed brands I'd suggest it's your method of use that has a problem, not the hardware.

I've had about 6 different laptops (several simultaneously) over the last 10 years, the latest one I've had for about 3 years, and I have no problems with it heating up ever.

My current computer is an iBook, but I've had IBMs Dells, and HPs.

Anthro's Adjustable Laptop Cart (4, Informative)

Fear the Clam (230933) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350961)

It's not technically a lap desk, but I've been using one of these [anthro.com] for a few years now.

It's sturdy enough to hold a 19" CRT, keyboard, and mouse, adjusts easily, and has wheels so you can just roll it wherever you want. Yeah, it's expensive, but it's worth it.

Lose some weight (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21350975)

Maybe you will fit at a *normal* desk, and don't need to construct the desk around you. Next question please

I have some for you (-1, Redundant)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351303)

Next question please

Why didn't you end that sentence fragment with a period?

Why did you use "don't" when "won't" would have been more fitting?

How did you have enough brains to say "lose" instead of "loose" like all the other loosers(sic) who post such useless diatribes?

Did you think your post was funny?

Do you think this post is funny?

Are you afraid to use a real account, or just too lazy?

That ought to be enough questions for a while. Let me know when you need more. I'm not from the government, but I'm still here to help.

Card table (3, Funny)

simong (32944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350979)

I have a pair of folding card style tables that cost me £12 and have provided sterling service for several years. They are better with small laptops though - anything bigger than 14.4" leaves no space on the surface and makes it's difficult to see the TV over the top. I live alone.

I just got one... (2, Insightful)

AceyMan (199978) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350981)

I just got a Lapinator. It's ight, thin, and is actually designed to serve as a heat barrier. (It uses a trademarked 3M product). It comes in "standard" and "wide" and has an optional outboard mousing platform. A web search using your favorite engine should find their page right away.

I'm about to drive cross-country and I'll be using it with my Thinkpad T60 while my better half does the lion's share of the driving, so it will be getting a workout.

Just set the laptop computer directly on your lap. (5, Funny)

mmell (832646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351009)

That's what I do - especially now that my wife and I are done making/raising kids!

Lapinator (4, Informative)

rallyracer (700284) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351011)

I have used the lapinator for the last 2 years. It is comfortable and dissipates heat well. www.lapinator.com

Re:Lapinator (1)

violet78 (1189059) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351327)

I vote for the Lapinator, too. No heat buildup, and my laptop doesn't slide off. Not great for hours and hours of work, but wonderful for checking email from the couch. The "mousepad" attachment is removable for those times you don't want it, but it's also a bit flimsy.

Bad ergonomics (1)

turnipsatemybaby (648996) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351019)

I can't imagine how sore your back is going to be in a few years if this is how you prefer to use a computer. You will be very hard pressed to find an ideal solution because you are trying to use the laptop in a way it was never intended.

If you want to spend long hours on your machine, then you need to use a proper desk, plain and simple. Your neck and back will thank you.

Re:Bad ergonomics (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351527)

I have an electric recliner (keep an eye out for these, as medical equipment they are very well built and can be recovered by an upholstery shop) with a small pillow as a lumbar pad, and use a Logitech Marble Mouse, swapping sides to avoid RSI.

The neck and back are very well supported in the recumbent position. Per the advice in other posts I'm getting a tray with a pillow on the bottom to solve the roasted nuts issue...

TV Dinner Table (1)

justfred (63412) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351035)

I've done this with a "TV Dinner Table" - a small, single person wooden folding table. Remove the legs, and bob's your uncle. If necessary, add a pillow underneath, or attach other stuff to the top. Costs around $10 at BBB.

Not really a lap desk, but... (1)

Radio Bill (1174017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351045)

So long as you're using it from a chair, and not in bed, I like those TV tables that used to be advertised on UHF. The legs are L shaped, with the vertical being a telescoping pair of tubes with sprung pins pushing out through holes in the tubes to lock it at any of several heights, or at right angles short as part of folding flat for storage. I'm a big guy, and I find the heights adequate. The table top can be placed at three different angles, the middle one being horizontal. I tried the tipped toward me angle to see if it made typing more comfortable, but I find flat is best. With my Satellite M45-S165 there is adequate room for a mouse. I got it at a Brooks for $30, though I've seen one for $20 recently (don't know if it's identical). I wouldn't want to try to fit it in a laptop bag or backpack, but it's no problem to transport in my Honda Insight.

posture? (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351055)

How can you work like that? Your neck will be bothering you soon. Get a proper desk and put the display at a decent height so that you are looking straight ahead as you work. Otherwise plan on a life filled with chiropractic visits and neck pain.

Re:posture? (2, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351251)

I'd actually been considering something like this to play a game while I bathe. Do you think I'm addicted?

On the plus side, I think in the bath the screen would be in a fairly ergonomic position :p Now I just need a waterproof USB keyboard..

Re:posture? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351305)

He can compensate by spending the latter half of his life with his screen projected onto the ceiling so that he always has to tilt his head back to see it? I should really try setting something like that up to watch movies in bed :P

Re:posture? (3, Interesting)

ptomblin (1378) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351547)

Funny you should mention neck pain. I've been using laptops in my lap for over 5 years now, and never had a bit of pain. But I recently got reading glasses, and now my neck is killing me when I use a laptop for extended periods of time. Not sure if it's because of the contortions I have to do to see the screen through the reading part of the bifocals, or if both are because of my age, but it sucks.

I even had to prop my work monitor (24" Silicon Graphics CRT - VERY HEAVY) up on top of two ORA X11 reference books to keep from having to bend my head down.

Cookie sheet (3, Informative)

SleptThroughClass (1127287) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351063)

Institutional cookie sheet. Large heat-dissipating aluminum tray with raised edges. Enough extra room for a compact mouse or other stuff.

I ride bareback (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21351093)

I just put the laptop straight on my legs. Sure, it's a little hot (Macbook Pro), but real men don't complain.

Why, yes, my wife and I are having trouble conceiving... why do you ask?

Use wood. (1)

taskiss (94652) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351097)

For my 17" MBP I use a 1' X 2' pine board, oiled finish (do NOT use any poly or shellac, it'll pull the foot pads off your laptop). This gives just enough space for a mousepad next to the laptop.

LapDawg (1)

LaTete (695822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351105)

I've been looking for laptop desk myself and recently ran across THIS [lapdawg.com]. Thinkgeek appears to carry the exact same product for about $20 less [thinkgeek.com] It's a bit expensive but it would seem to meet my needs perfectly. Has anyone out there purchased one of these before?

Re:LapDawg (3, Informative)

HiredGuns (1136783) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351825)

I have....it's DEFINITELY worth it. I bought it from LapDawg and found they have pretty good customer service. The price includes shipping which is why the product seems a bit more expensive. The product itself is quite unique. It can transform into 5 different table modes they claim. They have a pretty good gallery of the product on the right nav. Here's a pic of my fav position http://www.lapdawg.com/gallery/laptop-stand/pages/laptop-stand-mid-6.html [lapdawg.com] It takes some getting used to, but it's really quite useful once you get the hang of it. HG

Lap desks are for the weak (3, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351107)

I just put my laptop directly on my lap. It's really quite amazing, I can surf the web outside in 30 degree weather and still feel toasty warm. It's like my own personal heater.

On a completely unrelated note, my doctor recently told me that I can no longer have children.

Re:Lap desks are for the weak (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351929)

In 30 degrees it's no problem being too cold anyway. Comfort zone is 21 to 23 degrees... Celsius...

Lap Desk (1)

wildcatherder (1187531) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351113)

I had a similar problem. Desktop usage required switching eyeglasses frequently as I have become farsighted.

I bought a Logitech MX3200 Wireless Keyboard and Cordless Trackman Wheel trackball. My laptop sits on a small table 6 feet away (max range for the wireless keyboard/trackball). I have the video output plugged into a 30" TV (of course, any smaller digital TV is fine) I sit in the recliner with the keyboard on my lap and the trackball on the armrest (a bean bag can stabilize the trackball if it keeps falling off).

I doubt you would be happy with even a custom-built lapdesk. The last thing you need is another piece of furniture in the way while trying to exit a recliner. Beanbag base lapdesks rock too much and mouse and trackball are nearly impossible to handle.

My setup solved serious neck problems and improved my productivity by literally 500%.
I actually mounted a second smaller TV on the wall above the 30" screen for "background" TV viewing. It is high enough in my field of vision that it "disappears" whenever I get into the "flow" of my work.

The only complaints I get are from my cats who were used to more laptime.

heat (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351139)

Nowadays they're more like penis warmers than anything else. Keep that heat and RF away from your 'nads, dude!

Big reading pillow (1)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351151)

I have a tray with a pillow attached to it (these are sold as reading pillows or something). Theres nothing more comfortable than this when you sit in a lounge chair, in bed or elsewhere because the pillow allows you to adjust the angle and stays in place at the same time providing a flat surface for your laptop. It's ~16 inches long and ~13 inches wide so ample space to fit a laptop. It has a rounded frame about a 1/8" on all sides and the disc tray still opens nicely. You can probably make one of these yourself out of some plywood, a piece of fabric and some styrofoam pellets. One that will be big enough to fit computer and mouse on it. You might want to try that. They come at about 10-15 bucks but I don't know where to get them because mine was a gift.

Sketch Board (1)

MMInterface (1039102) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351161)

I don't remember what they are really called but all the art students carry them around. Its basically a really big clipboard. I use it with a 17 inch laptop and a mouse to play games without getting off my bed. Works great.

Angle is important (3, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351181)

I like the ones attached to the side of hospital beds for eating on. It's kinda hard to sneak one out unnoticed[1], especially since you need to do it from someone else's hospital room (so it's harder to trace to you).

Two mods are required: Adding facility to tilt[2] (instead of just swivel) and adding a padded wristrest (for ergonomics as well as to keep your laptop from sliding onto your lap).

[1] Or, if you're lucky, find one at a surplus store.
[2] Easy enough to add a locking hinge.

I have no idea if something similar is available commercially for cheap. But it can't be too hard to RYO using the swivel & tilt arms used to mount TVs... as long as you have a sturdy chair to mount the frame to.

living room furniture != office furniture (1)

AdamThor (995520) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351183)

My lap is too small, too low, and too close to me to ever support a worthwhile work surface. I have always figured that the "lap desk" sort of item was forever doomed to be a poor substitute for an actual desk. If you really want to sit in a lazy boy to work, I think you'd have to DIY some extra large wheeled furniture style option to roll in over it. But since the situation presumes a very large chair, that might not be practical either.

I think everything that isn't an actual desk and work chair is going to be a compromise. You may find some favorites, but I don't think a satisfactory answer is possible. I've a table beside my sofa for my media machine, but it sucks for anything other than light use.

Laptop desks (2, Informative)

orcusomega (948569) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351233)

Well, I do a lot of traveling, so I picked up one of these [skymall.com] and it is a lifesaver. It folds up and stores in the laptop bag, and if you do not fold down the legs, it would work in your lap.

Personally, I prefer one that is free-standing, but this works for both solutions - and has enough space for laptop + notepad + mouse + other junk. And, if you travel as much as I do, it make long waits at the airport\train station\wherver a lot easier to be effective. I have a few velcro tabs on it to hold backpack drives, antennas, etc - huge help (for me at least)

Bob

Mounts my friend (1)

Hansgrin (1189057) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351243)

First comment ever! w00t! I use a swing-arm mount with my laptop, and an external KB & mouse. It gets the screen right where I want it, and is great for clearing the desk for schoolwork and such.

TableMate II (1)

DiamondGFX (992781) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351263)

My wife and I have been using Tablemate II's (you can get them at Bed Bath and Beyond stores, definitely; not sure where else) for a long time now for our laptops. Their height/angle is decently adjustable and I've had pretty good luck with it with my 15" Macbook Pro. It leaves enough room for the laptop itself and a mousepad with a little bit of room for maneuvering the mouse. The best thing about them, though, is the fact that they're only about $20-25 and pretty sturdy.

Re:TableMate II (1)

tachyonflow (539926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351469)

I'll second the recommendation of the Table-Mate II. I picked up mine at Target, and they also have a web site. (Just watch out for ebay -- a friend of mine ordered one on ebay and it turned out to be a fake, and collapsed when he put his laptop on it.)

This thing isn't as sturdy as a regular table -- I wouldn't sit a glass of water on it -- but plenty good enough for a laptop. The primary feature is that it slides over your lap. This works well for couches, although not so well for my recliner (the table's legs need a clear area under the seat.)

This sort of table might not work so well for wild and crazy gaming, but it works great for coding. In fact, I'm using it right now. :)

Re:TableMate II (1)

sdsucks (1161899) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351495)

I've been considering getting one of these.... They look cheesy as shit, but seems like the best cheap solution.

Thanks for the tip.

Less than obvious solution? (2, Interesting)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351265)

Here's a less obvious solution that might just fit your needs:

Most HDTVs these days have VGA inputs. A 15-dollar VGA cable should do the trick, and most XP installs will recognize the HD resolution and scale a desktop fairly well. Once you've hooked up the laptop to the tv, get yourself a wireless keyboard with a trackpad built in (like the Logitech Mediaboard Pro [logitech.com] and as a bonus, it works with the PS3 too) and you should be set.

Re:Less than obvious solution? (1)

GWBasic (900357) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351443)

Most HDTVs these days have VGA inputs. A 15-dollar VGA cable should do the trick, and most XP installs will recognize the HD resolution and scale a desktop fairly well.

Such a solution isn't as good as it sounds. My HDTV required a $50 dollar cable because it has RGBHV instead of VGA. Both of my laptops (old Toshiba and new Mac) don't output any 1080 resolutions, so I'm stuck with 480p. Because my TV is a tube, overscan is a problem.

Once you've hooked up the laptop to the tv, get yourself a wireless keyboard with a trackpad built in (like the Logitech Mediaboard Pro and as a bonus, it works with the PS3 too) and you should be set.

My wireless keyboard and mouse only have a 3-foot range, so I ended up having to run a long USB cable to my couch.

Overall, it's a good setup for watching DVDs, AVIs, iTunes, and Pandora. For interactive computing, it's very difficult.

Re:Less than obvious solution? (1)

Calmiche (531074) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351733)

Then an amendment to the preceding. Get a RF or Radio Frequency keyboard and mouse. IR is a waste of time, (3-5ft) and bluetooth isn't much better. (Takes quite a while to connect, and sucks batteries like crazy.) RF is usually good for between 10-15 feet. If you are going farther than than, get a USB extension cord and plug the RF receiver into it and run it to somewhere closer. (USB runs are good for another 15 feet or so.) If you are farther than 30 feet away, you probably already have enough money to look for other solutions.

Logitech has some nice keyboards. I recommend the MX1000 laser mouse as well.

Re:Less than obvious solution? (1)

fuckface (32611) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351977)

Here's a less obvious solution that might just fit your needs:

Most HDTVs these days have VGA inputs. A 15-dollar VGA cable should do the trick, and most XP installs will recognize the HD resolution and scale a desktop fairly well. Once you've hooked up the laptop to the tv, get yourself a wireless keyboard with a trackpad built in (like the Logitech Mediaboard Pro and as a bonus, it works with the PS3 too) and you should be set.


Sure, cuz who would want to use a laptop and watch TV at the same time, besides EVERYONE.

Not satisfied? (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351307)

Make your own. Plywood, laminated fiber board, a pillow, a jigsaw, staples or hot glue and you are in business.

Levenger.com (1)

archdetector (876357) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351315)

Levenger has a wide range of lap desks. I have both their standard bean shaped one and also a 'scooter'. Both work well, and the scooter, though expensive, is fully adjustable and so sturdy that I use it for my Cintiq 21" tablet.

Re:Levenger.com (1)

chaosflutterby (889195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351569)

ditto on levenger. They are pricey but worth it. I hardly ever get to use my "bean" anymore because my wife keeps stealing it. hmm... that sounds odd.

best lap desk i've ever found (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21351325)

get a plexiglas panel cust to the size you want,
if you really want the pillow to res on your legs buy a pillow.

then follow the steps
1. combine
2. enjoy
3. ??

Wireframe tray (1)

kurtb149 (578487) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351369)

I have used a wireframe dish tray I got for around 5 USD from Meijer for the last year or so. I think working with the notebook on my lap is causing some shoulder pain, so I frequently work on a table instead. I have a Dell 640m and I have never had any heat issues with it, but it will warm my lap; the wireframe helps with good circulation and it keeps the notebook about 2cm off my lap.

Side of Computer (1)

Aeiri (713218) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351375)

I take the sides off my computers and use those as lap desks. Very cost efficient and space efficient.

If you have an older computer around, those tend to be slightly smaller than the gaming beasts of today. I have two (one on each side off of a single computer) that are almost 100% exactly the dimensions of my 15.4" laptop, and the side of a bigger case which can fit a 17" or 19" easily.

No mouse room, though. It's generally better to use a desk for gaming IMHO.

Get a desk you can pull to your lap (1)

athloi (1075845) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351383)

Laplander [levenger.com]. I've been jonesing for one of these for a few years. It's not a lap desk per se, but it's the best option for ergonomics that I've found, since I am also a slouch on the sofa person.

not plastic (1)

circusboy (580130) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351481)

or at least not light plastic. the one I got warps from the heat of the laptop. unvarnished wood would be the best surface. (varnish may melt in heat.)

Xpad laptop cooler (1)

lgordon (103004) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351577)

If you want to use your notebook as a laptop and don't care about things like mousepads, I like the Xpad (xpad4laptop.com). It's thin and light and really keeps the heat off. All the others block your outlet vents and guard your huevos at the cost of heating up your machine, or they have fans that suck up your battery power. It's got this rubber stuff on the top so it really sticks to the system at any angle. There are some concerns as to whether it fits a 17" system, but it works great for anything 15" or under.

Duh... (1)

JohnnyBigodes (609498) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351623)

I have this really cool one. It's called "Desk". I think IKEA has them.

Seriously, if someone has:

a) a laptop
b) a lap-desk ... then why not just sit at a proper desk? (and maybe with a proper keyboard and full-size screen)

lapdesk.com (2, Informative)

Wannabe Code Monkey (638617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351631)

I know it sounds funny, but if you're looking for a 'lap desk' why not check out lapdesk.com [lapdesk.com]? Seriously, I have one of these (got it as a Christmas present last year, had to search google for a bit just now before I even found who made it), and it works very well. I have the "Jumbo Lap Desk", and originally used it for doing crossword puzzles, but soon found out what a great laptop desk it made. The cushion underneath is very soft and comfortable on my legs while the flat surface allows my laptop to vent properly. You can find the one I got from organize-it-online.com [organize-it-online.com], Barnes and Noble [barnesandnoble.com], and Amazon.com [amazon.com] (and amazon again [amazon.com]... it looks like exactly the same product, but for a different price... I don't know).

The version I have is around $15, but it looks like the manufacturer has plenty of fancier models as well.

Empty 3-ring binder (2, Insightful)

jeberle (465224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351643)

Just use an empty 3-ring binder. It has excellent thermal insulation, it's lightweight & cheap.

Re:Empty 3-ring binder (1)

Gori (526248) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351791)

I can very much second this. When the binder is empty it will give you a nice pseudo-ergonomic angle too...

Great airflow too..

bed trays? (1)

Alucard454 (736653) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351703)

So hey, oddly enough i've been looking for almost exactly this sort of device. my situation is slightly different, but my needs are mostly similar. specifically, my PC gaming setup (and PC working setup... only one PC) is now in my living room: my monitor is my 50 inch hdtv, and my keyboard and mouse are set up across the room, about 10 feet away. for gaming, it is beautiful, blah blah blah, meaningless materialistic drivel. the point is, i've been attempting to use a mouse and keyboard from a frigging couch. needless to say, this is a concept rife with issues.

without any alterations, my mouse hand would have fallen off after the first hour or so. i did stumble upon a solution which sorta works.... i put my wireless keyboard on my lap, and put a pillow under my right elbow, and then the mouse on the couch surface. the pillow provides enough support that i can work/game like this for hours, as long as i take frequent breaks.

anyway, the relevant stuff: this set up is tolerable, but it's crappy enough that i've been shopping for a new solution almost non-stop for months. i haven't really found anything, in all honesty. i found that lapinator thing and a few similar devices, but for my mouse-hand needs, they just wouldn't cut it. i need something that can offer wrist/arm support for the right hand, otherwise i'm screwed. that being said, i DID find some things that might help the poster. specifically, BED TRAYS.

bed trays are... well i dunno, i'd never heard of them before amazon decided that they were PRECISELY what i was looking for. as usual amazon was wrong, but at least i now know what they are. just head on over to amazon [amazon.com] or wherever the hell you want and search for bed trays. they're like little TV dinner-type racks, except designed to be propped up on the surface of a bed, couch, chair, futon, whatever, straddling your legs as you sit. pretty neat, i thought. and some of them are damn cheap. [amazon.com]

like i said, they didn't help me, so i'm STILL looking for a solution (suggestions warmly welcomed!) but they may just help a chair-bound laptop user.

lapdesk (1)

guzzi79 (1189063) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351747)

I've been quite happy with a device called a "Laplander", sold by Levenger. They have a cushion attached with velcro like strips for easy removal. I use them at home, and in the car. There is a much larger one called a "Lapdesk" that I use when I do laptop work while in my favorite easy chair.

lapgenie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21351819)

I have used lapgenie from lapgenie.com for about three years. I have both a standard and large model. I prefer the large, but the standard fits in a daypack better. It's great for my laptop, but I also use it for books and paper letter-writing. I can't say enough good things about it. I also use it on a desk to get my laptop up high (esp. when using multiple computers/keyboards) and on the floor next to the couch when I attach the laptop to the tv.

TV tray (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351855)

I was using my laptop on my lap a lot over the summer, and to be honest, my thigh was always blocking the air intake on the underside and a fair portion of the laptop's weight was on the battery pack. So I switched to using a TV tray which has a beanbag sort of arrangement underneath, and it's perfectly comfortable for both myself and the laptop. No mousing surface, of course, and the lip on the tray is just high enough to block my DVD drive from opening. You can't have everything, though.

The Lap Genie (1)

dlamming (152302) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351947)

The LapGenie [lapgenie.com] is the best computer "lap" desk I have ever seen. Plus it works if you're laying down or sitting up... and has an interesting name. :)

iLap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21351963)

The iLap [raindesigninc.com] by Rain Design is great. I've used it for a few months and love it.

Never paid attention (1)

Digital_Mercenary (136288) | more than 6 years ago | (#21351967)

I never noticed before but I guess some people really use laptops on their laps. I've always treated my laptop like a portable terminals ("...Somebody has to take portable terminal, patch into the colony up-link tower and get another drop ship..." ALIENS). 95% of the time I'm using it at a desk or table with plenty of space for a trackball or mouse.

I really don't understand why you'd want another piece of equipment to carry around.

Why not invest in a hand held computer?
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