Review: iSkelter Slate Mobile AirDesk

Sections: Laptops, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Macintosh/Apple Hardware, Reviews

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The concept of a lap desk, quite honestly, brings to my mind images of Bed Bath and Beyond products, completed with a box featuring a smiling, gray-haired old lady wearing a Snuggy. The iSkelter Slate Mobile AirDesk is anything but old fashioned; with its warm bamboo, crisp lines, and Apple-specific design, this is a portable desk that turns any chair into a full featured desk, and looks like Apple designed it. It lifts up your laptop to a more ergonomically correct height and keeps both your lap and computer cooler, which makes using a laptop on your lap a more pleasant experience.

iSkelter Slate Mobile AirDesk


iSkelter’s entire product line takes Apple’s elegant-but-cold aluminum and plastic designs and warms them up with rich bamboo. The Mobile AirDesk features rounded corners and high quality, precision drilled cutouts that look every bit as precise as an Apple-made product, but without any hint of machined aluminum. Instead, there’s about an inch-thick slab of compressed bamboo, with a grid of holes drilled into it. On the right- or left-hand side (depending on which model you choose) is an embedded rubber pad and a rectangular cutout that’s about half as deep as the desk itself, with a smaller hole in the center.

iSkelter Slate Mobile AirDesk

Beauty and a Beast

The cutout on the AirDesk serves as a minimal but useful dock, holding your iPad Mini or smartphone at the perfect angle to act as a second screen. The cutout in the center allows you to pass a Lightning/30-pin Dock connector through so you can keep charging. The are two options for the dock—0.5” or 0.7”—so you can accommodate anything from a naked iDevice to one sporting an OtterBox.The rubber pad has just a hint of friction so it can hold a mouse in place even when the AirDesk isn’t perfectly level (like if you’re putting your feet up on the coffee table), but it’s easy enough to use as a normal mousepad. Due to its grippy nature, it also makes a perfect spot to park your phone, a pad of paper, or Magic Trackpad if mousing isn’t your style.

iSkelter Slate Mobile AirDesk

The AirDesk’s grid of holes look like they’d serve only one purpose, but they are in fact a pretty ingenious part of the overall design. They obviously provide air circulation for your laptop, but they also provide a nice relief for your legs. Rather than a solid surface pressing down on your legs, the AirDesk’s holes allow your legs to breathe, too. Best of all, though, is the fact that you can easily pass cables through to charge your MacBook or connect other devices, acting as a handy cable manager.

Although iSkelter advertises the AirDesk for larger laptops like the MacBook Pro, it really works with any laptop; my MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and a Dell I’m unfortunate enough to be stuck with were all equally comfortable to use on the AirDesk.

Although it’s not cheap, iSkelter’s quality construction and beautiful design are definitely worth the price. The Slate Mobile AirDesk is the largest of iSkelter’s lap desks, so if you’re looking for something smaller or more portable, check out the company’s SlateGo and SlateGo Mini, which can be taken on the road along with your MacBook.

 AppleTell Rating:

Buy the iSkelter Slate Mobile AirDesk

Provides: Lap desk with integrated iPad/iPhone dock and mousepad
Developer: iSkelter
Minimum Requirements: MacBook Air or MacBook Pro
Price: $98
Availability: Now

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