Avoiding “Laptop Slouch”
This blog is mainly about protecting your laptop computer, extending its life, safeguarding your data and saving you money. However, as good as all that is, you will also want to make sure that you don’t wind up doing yourself an injury whilst using your laptop.
Laptops are great, but one of the inevitable consequences of their highly convenient portability is the fact that the QWERTY keyboard and the display are much closer together than they should be in order for you to adopt the ideal ergonomic position when using your laptop.
Most experts suggest that, when using a computer, your forearms should be flat on the work surface and the top of your screen should be level with your eyes when you are seated upright. that’s pretty easy to arrange with a desktop, and most people wind up with something like this naturally, but it’s a lot more difficult with a laptop.
If you use it on your knee, you will tend to hunch over it. If you have it on a desk or workstation surface then, because of the hinged screen/keyboard arrangement, you will tend to lean forward much more than if you were using a standard desktop computer. you will also drop your head more than you would normally do.
You can get over this problem by using a docking station and an external monitor – but docking stations cost a pretty penny – and external monitors aren’t exactly cheap either. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution which is inexpensive and very effective – a laptop stand.
These vary in complexity, functionality and cost – but you can usually find them for a good deal less than the cost of a docking station and external monitor. The one pictured above right is a Rolodex laptop stand – a pretty well known brand – and you should be able to pick one of these up for around about $20 or so. Other styles are available for quite a bit less – or you can pay more for extra bells and whistles if you like. It’s entirely up to you.
Because the keyboard is at an angle, the display is raised upwards. you’ll find it a lot easier to operate your laptop without having to lean forward – especially if you use a separate keyboard (these can be picked up for just a few dollars these days). You will, quite naturally, have a much better seating position and, if you’re using your laptop for extended periods of time, you’ll be much less prone to backache and neck pain.
The other good news is that, because the underside of the laptop is lifted well above the desk surface, it’s a lot easier for cooling air to get into and out of your laptop. If you do nothing else but use one of the basic stands, your laptop will run quite a bit cooler.
If you wish, you can go for something with a little more functionality. The Cooler Master ErgoStand II – pictured right – also has a cooling fan built into the base and a 4 port usb hub to keep your cables neat and tidy on your desk or workstation. these tend to be just a little more expensive, expect to pay over $30 for a laptop stand with integrated fan cooling, but your laptop will run much cooler and be less prone to thermally induced faults.
So, maintaining the correct posture can help you to avoid aches and pains – as well as helping you to extend the life of your laptop. If you use your laptop for long periods at a time, then you should ensure that you adopt good posture, by the methods outline above or by using some other technique.
Here’s a short video which will give you a few hints on the subject (without nagging too much):