Hands-on with Basepro, a laptop stand with a built-in hard drive

Hands-on with Basepro, a laptop stand with a built-in hard drive

Using laptops for our daily work keeps us highly mobile, but it does so at the sacrifice of hard drive storage and ergonomics. Crowdfunding project Basepro is trying to tackle both issues at once with its laptop stand, but after spending some time with a prototype, I found that it only solved the storage issue.

Basepro is an anodized aluminum wedge with space for a hard drive inside and a four-port USB 3.0 hub along the edge. The hard drive is powered via USB, so you won’t need an extra power cable for the stand.

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Currently on Indiegogo, Basepro’s drive-less model comes as a perk for $69 contributions, while a pre-installed 1TB model runs $119. The final retail price for Basepro is expected to cost $119 without the drive and $189 for the 1TB model. 2TB and 4TB editions are also available for $149 and $229, respectively. The company is trying to raise $50,000 through its campaign, but it’s also using flexible funding, so it will receive any funds that are contributed even if it doesn’t reach the mark.

I’m constantly juggling backups and free space on my MacBook Pro, so Basepro’s hard drive feature does come in handy. The external drives I use often end up getting accidentally disconnected when I’m working, sometimes corrupting their data in the process.

The laptop stand is small enough that you could pack it in your bag when traveling, but that seems like more of a hassle than it’s worth.

My issue with Basepro is that it walks a questionable compromise between screen height and ergonomics. Absolute, the company behind the device, asserts that the stand enables good posture because it allows your arms and wrists to rest, but the position caused pain in my elbows. The elevated screen does help reduce some neck and back strain, but I found myself still having to look down at the computer even with the stand.

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Basepro is trying to get the best of both worlds. It wants to turn your laptop into a workstation, but it also wants you to keep using your built-in keyboard. You’ll have to decide whether you want to work in a middle zone between hunching over your laptop and using a full docking station with an external monitor and keyboard. By the way, if you do want to use an external monitor with Basepro, you’ll need a USB adapter since the hub doesn’t include Thunderbolt or DisplayPort connections.

If I were to reconfigure my desk setup for the stand, I’d consider elevating the Basepro, connecting an external keyboard and mouse and then plugging an external monitor directly into my MacBook Pro. That’s a lot of trouble to go through, but it’s a decent docking system that keeps my laptop free to quickly disconnect if I need to head to a meeting.

Given that most of us could use some posture correction for our computers use, Basepro is a valiant effort. The stand might work for you if you’re experiencing neck and back pain from looking down at your laptop all day, but I’m not convinced that it addresses the wrist and elbow issues that I experience. If you’re on the fence about backing the project, you might want to create mockup using a couple of three-ring binders to see if the incline is comfortable for you.

Basepro [Indiegogo]

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