A computer table is like a bra; get the right fit and your life will be heaven; get the wrong one and your life will be hell. After the demise of my favourite computer chair a couple of months ago I have been in typing hell. Having been unable to find a chair from my stock the right height for my small stature I have suffered neck pain and a damaged shoulder from typing. This weekend the pain was so severe I headed off to Ikea to find a solution. I decided to head over to Ikea Wembley, which is just a stone’s throw away from my current base.
Ikea have a nice selection of tables, chairs and supports for computer users so I was happy to pick up three different ones for around £28.
The first up is a folding tray, called Bräda, which you can use in bed or on the sofa. This is a little bit like a breakfast-in-bed tray with legs and is really light. It folds up flat and can be hung on the wall. First impressions have been good as it is a sturdy little item and fits nicely over my legs when lying in bed. It is the right height and I can reach all the keys. The only downside is that it is not wide enough for a roaming mouse. I solved that problem with a chunky cushion and mouse mat. People who can use those touch pads won’t have this problem of course. I am already thinking that this is going to be a major find. and wondering if I can slip it in my suitcase for my next research trip. Just think of the luxury of sitting up in bed in your hotel room and typing comfortably. I am. I am. My main excuse for not writing before I go to work is that I have to get out of bed, set up my workstation and prepare for the day. Now, I can stay in bed a little longer and type in bed. I expect my productivity will go up a little.
The next up on the testing list is the Tolvar, which is a piece of moulded plastic with a metal stand at the back. I got the pink one since it was a pound off and there’s no way I could miss it in my room. Again, it is too small for the mouse and mouse pad but is perfectly fine for typing on. I tried it out sitting in bed using it and found the metal bar dug into my thighs. This is something I could get used to. I guess if you don’t use the metal bar it puts the laptop at the right angle for typing on a table. I can see that this has possibilities. I have tried using the riser on a table and it works well giving a little bit more angle which makes typing more comfortable. I can say it was well worth £2.50.
The last up is the Svartåsen table. This apparently comes in black and white versions but I could only find the black version in Wembley Ikea. Basically, this is a pear shaped table top with a three pronged leg. It is adjustable so you can have it standing height, chair use height or sofa height. It was easy to assemble and I was able to have my laptop on it in under five minutes. Size wise it is large enough for my widescreen laptop with a little bit of room for the mouse. I am not over sure about the stability of it but that could be because I did not have my laptop centred on the top as I needed room for the mouse. I have used it sitting on the sofa with the table brought in real close to my stomach and it works.
My conclusion is that two out of the three are a distinct improvement on the Muji folding table I bought a decade ago and now I don’t miss my director’s chair at all. The lap table is ideal for working in bed or on the sofa. The table is great for working on the sofa or on a chair. The riser will be good for on a table and maybe for travelling. I am glad I bought all three as I am sure I will get good use out of all of them.