Prior to this, I was using a combination of a lapdesk and a TV tray (floor-standing). The laptop was always on the lapdesk and the lapdesk was usually on the TV tray and then sometimes on my lap. When I was only casually using the laptop (reading a new email, perhaps), I would not bother putting it in my lap. However, I would often find myself leaving it on the TV tray even when I was typing or browsing for longer periods of time. This was not the least bit comfortable. On the other hand, even with the lapdesk between my lap and the laptop, my legs still got quite warm.
With the new laptop table, the situation is very much improved, though it is far from perfect. Keeping everything off of my lap is great, and the tilt provides a much better combination of typing and viewing angles. The problems are several. The arm is not long enough for my chair, so I cannot actually have the laptop directly in front of me. If I’m watching TV, this isn’t an issue as it would probably block my view of the television anyway. Of course, that is at least partly due to another problem — the table is height-adjustable, but the lowest selection is still too high. I guess the higher selections are for using a laptop while standing. I can get it lower than the lowest selection, but then the table rotates freely (which is actually how I’m using it now). When using one of the notched heights, the notch prevents the table from rotating. When using without a notch, and therefore “all the way down”, it doesn’t take much pressure on the tilted surface to cause it to rotate away from me. So far, it seems manageable though, and better than having the laptop too high.
Another issue is really the fault of my MacBook Pro. The screen simply doesn’t tilt back as far as I would like, which limits how far forward I can have the table tilted and still have a good angle for the screen. Moreover, if I decide to live with the screen tilted slightly toward me, the resistance of the laptop hinge is not quite strong enough and the force of gravity slowly (at first) causes the laptop lid to close. Oh, and it’s a good think I don’t use an external mouse as there’s simply no room for one with my 17″ laptop — I doubt there’s really room for one with a 15″ laptop either. If I placed the table on the other side of my chair (not at all feasible here) then I could use the secondary surface for the mouse, but I’m not sure how realistic that is. Without tilting the secondary surface (which does tilt), the mouse would be too high, and if it is tilted then the mouse would not stay in place.
For $73.44 (including shipping), I think it’s a pretty good table. Assembly was quite straight-forward. Amazon link: Mobile Laptop Desk (Mahogany/Silver) (30″ to 47″H x 32″W x 17″D)