Product: Phlips SDC 5100/27 Notebook Cushion Speaker
Rating: Strong Recommend*
When we first heard about this product we were intrigued. A lap desk that helps keep our laptop cool, provides a more ergonomic work environment, and improves sound? The potential for this new product from Philips to be everything we needed in a lap desk was pretty great and we eagerly awaited our test unit.
The first thing we noticed about the SDC5100/27 was its size. It was much larger that we expected. However, once we put our laptop on the desk the size did not feel bulky anymore and the cushion felt just right. With the laptop on the desk, and the desk on our knees, we were finally able to get into a much more ergonomic typing position thanks to the extra six or so inches of lift.
The shiny desk surface is easy to clean and the cushion has a good solid feel to it. We also appreciate that the cushion is a light greyish brown which will show stains less than a white cushion. We think the contrasting yellow stitching on the cushion is a nice touch and this is really quite a step up aesthetically from the lap desks of our youth.
After trying a few different sitting positions on the couch, we noticed quite a bit of slipping and sliding action and had a few close calls with our laptop almost falling off the desk. It was then that we took the time to really look at the rest of the packaging and noticed four small rubber circles. The circles are made to adhere to the bottom of the laptop and have a dual purpose, one to prevent the laptop from sliding when the desk is tilted at an angle, and two to help keep the laptop cool by allowing the air to better circulate.
Once we stuck the circles onto our laptop, there were no more slipping issues and our laptop did feel a bit cooler over time. An important thing to note is that when these circles are on, they are on. We had much difficulty in attempting to remove them from the bottom of our MacBook Pro and decided to just leave them on since we found that we use this lap desk several times a day. We would love it if there would be a non slip strip built into future models of the lap desk to prevent the need for us to adhere anything to our laptop.
The speakers are powered via USB and the cord is retractable, which makes moving the desk to another location simple. The retractable cord also helps the device to look clean when not in use.
Although the speakers in this device are not competing with the Audioengine A2 speakers that grace our desktop, they really do improve the upon the built in speakers in the MacBook Pro. As much as we love our laptop, the built in speakers make Skype and iChat video and audio calls really difficult to hear, especially with fans running. Not only were voices clearer through Skype and iChat they were also louder. Thanks to the form factor of the speakers it made it easy to continue the chat in another room and not worry about having to drag the speakers. Since they are powered by USB and built into the cushion, we just had to carry the cushion with our laptop. We also found the speakers invaluable when it came to streaming videos in our browser. Videos that we were straining to hear before, we now had to turn down the volume on.
Our recommendation is that if you are looking for a lap desk or laptop speakers you should seriously consider this product. Since receiving it, we have unplugged it only once and that was to refresh our memory on what iTunes and Skype were like prior to its arrival in our house. The sound is so much improved and the cushion has made typing so much more comfortable (especially in this Summer heat) that we don't want to go back to our life before the SDC5100/27. Available for $69.99 from Philips.
Pros: Comfortable, great sound for its size, and fairly good looking to boot.
Cons: The only downside with this product is having to adhere the black rubber circles to the bottom of your laptop.
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
[Images: Joelle Alcaidinho]