If there’s one ironic drawback to most laptops, it’s that you can’t use them directly on your lap for an extended amount of time. Without proper ventilation, they get too hot, which is bad for the computer, and bad for you.
So I was interested in the BasePro, a so-called “ultimate laptop workstation” that’s currently raising money on IndieGogo. It offers three main uses in one package: an ergonomic stand, a backup hard drive, and a USB port.
The company was kind enough to let me try out an early model, which lacked the paint and UV-coating of the finished model.
Here’s what you need to know: The BasePro might not win a beauty contest anytime soon, but it’s probably the best laptop stand I’ve tried, even though I didn’t really care for the extra storage features.
Let me start with the laptop stand aspect of the BasePro. I used the workstation both on my desk and on my lap — I tried it sitting crosslegged and with my legs straight out — and no matter how I used it, I found myself sitting with improved posture, and I was able to type for longer periods of time.
Other laptop stands I’ve tried, many of which you can find on Amazon for around $US30, will be good at either desk or lap use, but not both. Despite its angular look, the BasePro manages to feel comfortable no matter where or how you’re sitting.
It’s good on the desk, since it doesn’t take up as much space as you’d think, but I actually preferred using it on my lap.
As a MacBook Pro owner who regularly types on the couch, I’ve used all sorts of solutions to keep the computer from burning my beautiful flawless flesh: Folders, books, magazines, all sorts of pillows. These solutions are ok, but they don’t hold the laptop steady, and they provide minimal ventilation for the computer itself. I’ve also tried other laptop stands, but they’re usually good for desk use only, since they can’t handle lots of shifting around while sitting.
The BasePro was a surprisingly good fix for these issues. With its aluminium frame and rubber guides, the BasePro holds the laptop stable while keeping both you and the laptop cool — even if you shift your sitting position a lot. The unique shape is well-designed because it also forces you to sit up more, so you’re not hunching over as you look at the screen. I had no idea how much I was bending my neck until I removed the BasePro.
I think the BasePro nails it as a laptop stand. But I just don’t buy into all the extra features, which the company emphasises greatly on its IndieGogo page.
You can buy the BasePro without the hard drive option — that’s $US69. But if you want the built-in hard drive, the 1-terabyte model costs $US119, 2TB costs $US149, and the 4TB BasePro costs $US229.
It’s nice that you don’t need any additional power adaptor to activate these additional features, but I already own a wireless backup drive, and owning a wired external hard drive doesn’t appeal to me much anymore. Most of my documents are either in my wireless drive, or handled by one of my various cloud services like Dropbox and iCloud.
That said, if you don’t currently own an external hard drive and you don’t mind the wires, the BasePro is a pretty good deal.
Compared to purchasing a standalone external hard drive, the BasePro lets you save about $US10 per terabyte on average. Still, that means you need to decide if the stand is worth $US70 to you.
The BasePro comes with plenty of ports: 4 USB 3.0’s, so you can connect the computer to the workstation, and then the workstation to all sorts of peripherals like printers and flash drives and cameras and monitors.
I would probably use the BasePro to power other monitors, but that’s about it. I’m trying to minimize the number of wires on and off my desk, and most of my laptop-connected accessories, like my printer, are wireless at this point. So I like the BasePro’s ability to charge more accessories, but it requires your computer be plugged in, and I rarely charge more than two devices at once anyhow.
The BasePro is solidly built — as a stand, hard drive, and USB hub. If you need any one of these three things, you’ll be happy with this accessory. If you need all three, you’re getting a great deal — so long as you don’t mind a couple of extra wires.
Check out BasePro’s IndieGogo page. The company hopes to start shipping in March.