Accessories and gadgets in the health and wellness space have piqued consumer interest throughout the pandemic. Just look at Peloton, or the rise of Fitbit-like devices such as Whoop. Consumers are interested in solutions that help them develop more healthful habits in their daily lives. Personally, as a health- and wellness-conscious consumer, I experience social media feeds that are flooded by advertisements for little knickknacks promising often desired, yet elusive, benefits. By and large, I’m skeptical of this category of products. However, while covering ShowStoppers last month, I came across the Laptop Tower Stand 2.0, and the Minder Ergonomic Bluetooth Foldable Keyboard from ObVus Solutions, and decided to give them a try. This accessory combo from ObVus Solutions, which was founded by Ken and Jaimie Rosenblood, a husband-and-wife team based out of California, is designed to fix the negative posture habits developed by the average computer user.
The ‘Tech Neck’ Problem
My roommates and I have spent the better part of the last year and a half complaining about the amount of time we are spending on the computer, and how it is affecting our physical wellbeing. We are not alone. Over the past two years, the American population has spent more time in front of computers – blame online classes, remote work, Zoom parties – than ever before. According to statistics obtained by Forbes early in the pandemic, Internet usage has increased roughly 50-70 percent. This boost in screen time has come with a corresponding increase in tech-related ailments. A study conducted by Harmony Healthcare IT found that Google searches for tech-related issues have risen by 40 percent overall with “tech neck” searches increasing by 16 percent and back issues searches, by 12 percent.
Bad posture when working at a computer plays a major role in this increasing physical discomfort, since it places added weight onto the spine’s three natural curvatures. Sitting improperly for long periods puts more tension on your body and can lead to a wide range of health complications including diminished breath capacity, an exaggerated curve in your lumbar region, a hunched back, or even the development of spinal arthritis.
Right away, I was struck by the compactness of both the keyboard and the tower stand. When folded up, the two devices together don’t take up any more space than my laptop (The keyboard itself, for example, folds into a slim rectangle that is roughly the size of a tablet.) In terms of setup and use, this product is extremely straightforward. Upon taking the product out of the box, you simply have to pull the two faces of the Laptop Tower Stand 2.0 apart, and voila, you are ready to go. Setting up the keyboard takes the same amount of effort. Just turn on the keyboard, which comes fully charged, and connect it to your computer via Bluetooth. The product also comes with a handy instruction manual, if you are having trouble.
How It Works
According to the Mayo Clinic, a healthy sitting posture consists of having the top of your monitor at eye level and positioning your keyboard so that your arms are at a 90-degree angle. The Laptop Tower Stand 2.0 takes aim at bad posture by allowing you to constantly adjust your computer to retain an optimal height despite variations in the surface height of the desk or counter you are working on. The stand can be set at an elevation ranging from 2 to 21 inches, which prevents you from leaning forward and hunching your back or straining your neck upwards. The differentiating feature setting the Laptop Tower Stand 2.0 apart from the original is the nifty mini stand for your phone. The phone deck, which is built into the base of the stand, can be set at a variety of angles directly below your computer, allowing you to stay attuned to incoming calls while you work.
The Ergonomic Bluetooth Foldable Keyboard can be paired with up to three devices at a time. When fully deployed, the keyboard has a width of 13.5 inches but features two separate hinge points that allow it to fold into a 7-inch-by-4-inch rectangle. Both the stand and the keyboard are made out of a durable yet lightweight material that makes the combo ideal for people who work on the go.
Home Office Improvement
As someone who works almost entirely remotely, I didn’t know how badly I needed the Laptop Tower Stand 2.0 until I got my hands on it. The accessory has allowed me to turn my kitchen countertop into a comfortable standing desk with ease and features a plethora of grip pads to keep my laptop firmly secured to the stand at all times. Not once have I been afraid of my laptop falling off the stand and getting damaged. I am naturally someone who has bad computer posture and am happy to report that I feel much less pressure in my upper back and neck area as a result of using this product.
My experience with the Ergonomic Bluetooth Foldable Keyboard was more mixed. I have found that it is more comfortable for me to ditch the keyboard and just type on my laptop when in a standing position. Whether or not this is ergonomically correct, I have no idea. However, the keyboard is definitely a necessity when using the laptop stand at a desk. The keyboard is simple, yet effective at fulfilling the job required by it.
For me, the major draw of the keyboard is its portability. It’s extremely lightweight and folds in on itself to protect the keys when in transport — perfect for a backpack. Moreover, while some other folding keyboards on the market place the hinge point smack dab in the middle of the spacebar, the Minder keyboard folds around the spacebar to leave it fully intact. My main frustration with this keyboard came in regard to the touchpad. I found that it was rather unpredictable and hard to control, as I was constantly selecting and unselecting things when I was simply trying to scroll through a document.
All in all, I love the Laptop Tower Stand 2.0 from ObVus Solutions but could honestly survive without the Ergonomic Bluetooth Foldable Keyboard. That being said, being able to transport the keyboard and stand in the laptop sleeve of my backpack is a major draw, and the keyboard is undoubtedly effective. The health benefits marketed by ObVus are also no gimmick. My neck and back feel immensely less tense since I made the transition to the tower stand.
Retailers interested in carrying the Laptop Tower Stand 2.0 and the Ergonomic Bluetooth Keyboard, which retail respectively for $89.99 and $49.99, can go to www.obvus.me.
ObVus Laptop Tower Stand 2.0
Height: 2-21 inches (for laptops up to 17 inches)
Price: $89.99 at www.obvus.me
ObVus Ergonomic Bluetooth Foldable Keyboard
Size: 7 inches by 4 inches folded, 13.5 inches by 4 inches flat
Price: $49.99 at www.obvus.me