Twelve South, the maker of the Curve Flex, specialises in stands, bases, sleeves and other accessories. Like the company's other products, the Curve Flex is aimed at Apple owners, its design mimics the clean aesthetic of the MacBooks it's meant to carry.
What people look for in a laptop stand is firstly the ability to raise their screen to eye level to make sure you're not hunched over your screen all day, so a good stand can improve your posture. With many office workers and professionals also using a monitor as a second screen, being able to lift the laptop up to the level of the monitor is also a great benefit. And with remote and hybrid working now standard practice across industries, portability is a must. If you can't take it with you, then what's the point in one?
The Curve Flex aims to tick every box, but does it succeed? I have had a review unit for a month, and I can happily tell you it does... for the most part.
Thickness when folded flat: 3cm
Max height when unfolded: 27.4cm
Space between base legs: 718.5cm
Curve Flex: Design and features
The Curve Flex is available in two colours, white and black. It's a simple binary choice for a product that's also designed with simple elegance and Apple fit in mind. It's a Z-type design, where the base and the laptop stand surface are both open semicircles, connected by two arms with adjustable hinges at both base and stand level. That means you can adjust both the height and angle of the laptop to suit you. The connecting arms reach out in front of the top stand and angle upwards to create a wedge for the laptop to lean on to prevent it slipping forward in more acutely angled positions.
It can raise a laptop up to 22 inches, so will reach the top edge of even the most elevated monitor screens, and could possibly double as a teeny tiny standing-desk alternative.
The hinges are quite stiff, so you need to hold one hand against the base while raising/lowering and adjusting the arms and stand surface. I tried doing so with the laptop placed on the stand, but that proved very fiddly, and with a large MacBook Pro, it tended to slip over the front wedge in the process. During my trial of the stand, I found it suited 13-inch laptops much better than 15/16-inch ones (a compact HP laptop sat perfectly on the wedges, even when raised to its most extreme angle). If you're tight for space, needing to remove the laptop when adjusting the stand's height or angle adds a little extra bit of faff you don't really need.
This is a result of the minimalist and space-saving design, which is aimed at maximum portability. Speaking of...
Curve Flex: Portability
The stand comes with a neat neoprene sleeve. At 12 inches across, it fits inside compact laptop bags, and when you push the Curve Flex down flat, it's only about 2 centimetres thick (that's less than an inch), so will slip into all but the tightest-packed laptop bags. I have a generously sized shoulder bag due to often needing to transfer several items at a time, so the light, flat-packed stand barely even registered as an extra burden when out and about.
I would use it at cafés and when working out of the office/house due to preferring a separate keyboard (laptop keyboards often feel tight to my stubby fingers...) and once on the table, the stand felt neat, with the thin base meaning I could edge the keyboard (legs extended) over its front curve without it wobbling. That's a really well-thought-out touch that enhances its usability further.
Curve Flex: Price
The Curve Flex is currently retailing at about $79/£89, which is considerably more than the competing Z-type Nulaxy laptop stand, and even more than the Lavolta tray stand, which comes with a cooling pad. But the price can be justified with its supreme portability and what I firmly believe will be a considerable longevity.
Should you buy the Curve Flex?
It's not the cheapest laptop stand, and if you find yourself frequently needing to adjust your stand's height or angle, the stiff hinges could start to chip into your sense of patience, but the benefits outweight those niggles. If you have a compact MacBook (or indeed any laptop), the Curve Flex will provide a good, solid fit, and if you're frequently out and about, I'd be hard-pressed to find any stand that packs as neatly as the Curve Flex. I could see this becoming my go-to stand for travelling or working out of the home/office, so this is an ideal choice for hybrid workers and frequent fliers.