VariDesk Portable Laptop Stand Review: A Sleek, Thin, Portable Standing Desk

Cameron Summerson

Review Geek

The VariDesk Portable Laptop Stand with a Surface Laptop 3 on it, sitting in front a big monitor

Cameron Summerson

I’ve been a sit/stand desk user for the biggest part of the last decade. I love standing while I work, which helps me focus and feel more engaged. That’s an issue for me when I travel because most desks or tables are designed specifically for sitting. Enter the VariDesk Portable Laptop Stand.

If you’ve heard of Vari, you’re probably familiar with the company’s standing desk converters. This is how Vari first got its start (the original VariDesk was my first sit/stand converter), though the company has since expanded into all sorts of excellent office ergonomic products, like chairs and the Active Seat.

The VariDesk Portable Laptop Stand (as the company officially calls it) takes the original standing converter concept and shrinks it down to a compact, ultra portable size. While it’s not without its own flaws, it’s still the best portable standing desk solution I’ve found.

The portable laptop stand folded, next to a Google Pixelbook

Pixelbook for scale. Cameron Summerson

To start, the Portable Laptop Stand comes in at just 2.4 pounds, and it folds down to just half an inch thick. When folded, it’s 16 inches tall, which is quite a bit bigger than my 13.3-inch Surface Laptop 3 but isn’t much longer than the average 15-inch laptop. I was able to toss it in my backpack alongside my laptop and a portable monitor without issue.

When open, it’s 12 inches tall and almost 10 inches deep. The surface is also nearly 10 inches wide, which Vari says is good for laptops up to 15-inches and 15 pounds. I figure if you have a 15 pound laptop, then maybe you should consider upgrading to something a bit lighter, but hey—at least this Portable Laptop Stand can handle it.

The build of the Laptop Stand is brilliant, as you can easily fold/unfold it with just one hand. The handle doubles as a locking mechanism, so you simply squeeze and lift to open it. The upper surface rotates forward as the legs open, and the whole thing locks into place when fully opened. It’s smooth, simple, and incredibly satisfying.

As noted earlier, however, the Stand is only ~10 inches deep and wide, which means it can hold your laptop and only your laptop. If you use an external mouse, you’ll have to leave it on the desk and switch to your laptop’s trackpad while using the Laptop Stand. The same goes for any other accessory (like my previously mentioned portable monitor). That’s not a dealbreaker for me by any means, but it’s definitely something to consider if you’re anti-touchpad.

The Stand is pretty solid when using it, but there’s a bit of wobble as you type. It’s minimal for the most part, but the bigger your laptop is, the worse it may be. It will also likely be worse if your laptop display is loose or the hinge doesn’t have a strong hold. So again, your mileage may vari. Hahaha, oh man.

The top also has rubber strips that hold your laptop in place, which I found to be very effective. My laptop never budged during testing, regardless of how hard I was typing or if I used my laptop’s touchscreen. It’s so stable I didn’t even think about it potentially falling off.

The Portable Laptop Stand isn’t just a good solution for standing—it also makes a great laptop riser if you want to get your laptop’s screen into a more ergonomic position when sitting. Then you can pair it with an external mouse and keyboard. That makes this a great solution for at home and on the go.

The VariDesk Portable Laptop Stand on a desk, no laptop, front angle The VariDesk Portable Laptop Stand on a desk, no laptop, side angle

That last bit is crucial because, at $125, the Portable Laptop Stand isn’t cheap and will likely be hard to justify to many people who want it only for travel. If you don’t travel often, the price can be steep for just occasional use. For full-time laptop users, however, the versatility of using the laptop stand at home and on the go is nice.

That said, there are far more affordable options on the market for portable standing desk converters. The difference is that all of those are much bulkier and less portable than the Vari Portable Laptop Stand. I have something similar to this one that I used before the Vari option, and while it’s fine for car travel, it’s too big and bulky for air travel. That’s where Vari’s option is fantastic, as it can easily fit into most backpacks.

The VariDesk Portable Laptop Stand, while pricey, is an excellent product. It’s small, lightweight, and compact. The folding mechanism is simple and clean, with the ability to easily open and close it with one hand. If you can justify the high cost of the product (or find more uses for it than just travel), I highly recommend it.

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