I love the idea behind Logitech's Casa Pop-Up Desk. As with all the best ideas, it's a nifty solution to a common problem – a solution that you can't believe doesn't exist already. The 'problem' is that many of us who work on the move (on trains, in cafes) or in random rooms where we live (kitchen table or low coffee table), make do with working long hours on laptops, often craning our necks and hunching our shoulders for hours on end. You don't need to be an expert in ergonomic chairs, desks and stools to know this is less than ideal.
The solution, says Logitech, is to provide a portable set up that houses all you need to keep your eye-line ahead of you, your back straight, chest open, and your neck upright. And the Casa Pop-Up almost nails that brief perfectly. It's a mobile work solution that elevates your laptop to an ergonomically-sound eye level, provides a lovely mini keyboard, and a... decent track pad (more on that later), and comes in a beautifully designed hardback book-styled case, that fits nicely in a backpack.
Let's dive into the details...
Logitech's Casa Pop-Up Desk's design is brilliant. It provides a laptop stand that brings the top of your lappy roughly to eye-level, and so encourages the user to change their sitting position for the better (and healthier). With the keyboard and trackpad near you, you don't have to be hunched or scrunched when tapping away.
And all this comes in a beautiful, hardback book-style package. The keyboard, trackpad and charging wire slots into a tray, which has additional room for pens (remember those?), and which provides the base of the stand when being used. A connected piece of rubber binds the Casa Book together when you're travelling.
Logitech's site says this all weighs 1.2 kg / 2.65 lbs. All I can tell you is that it didn't feel that I was carrying anything more than my usual laptop, headphones, book and other bits. This is a compact, beautiful-looking workstation. Five stars out of five for design.
I've been using the Casa for around 10 hours today, and I've noticed a marked difference in how I'm sitting on my standard, wooden cafe chair, and interacting with my laptop – all for the better.
Don't get me wrong, if it's an ideal ergonomic set up you want, this is not that. You'll want a dedicated office, for one. And in that, you'll want a standing desk, a chair with lumbar support, and throw in a monitor arm and fancy mouse to finish it off.
But we're talking 'working on the go' here. And as far as that goes, no product has so positively effected my working day as the Casa. It's really that good. I may have felt a little self-conscious when getting it out in my local cafe. It certainly shouts, 'I'm here to do some work for a while,' which may not be the vibe you want to be sending out. But if you're working around your flat – or you could care less what people think about you out and about – this just transforms your set up for the better.
The product site tells us that the battery life of the keyboard will last up to five months and the touchpad will last up to three weeks. I've had several Logitech keyboards and mice before, and though I've not experienced those battery lives before, Logitech is great for long battery life, so I can believe it.
And now for the main criticism of the Casa – the touchpad. I just didn't get on with it. It's OK. If you're used to, and even favour, trackpads I could imagine that's it's even good. But there are some issues with it that aren't just about preference.
From putting my my two fingers on the pad, to scrolling up or down, there's a lag – a moment of hesitation that momentarily breaks the spell of the otherwise fantastic experience of using the Casa. Now, if you use one finger, there is no such delay, but if you want to be able to click, drag and scroll from the second you touch the pad, like I do, this delay may be an issue for you.
03. Price & verdict
'Harsh', I hear you cry: knocking off half a star for a millisecond of lag. Well, yeah! I think the design of the Casa is ambitious and promises great things. Really my disappointment of the delay on the trackpad is testament to how much I rate everything else about the Casa. I can really see it changing people's experience of working on the go for the better. Get a mini mouse in to replace the trackpad, and we've got perfection! (Though how you get a mouse into a trackpad-shaped space is certainly above my pay grade).
The Casa Pop-Up Desk retails for $227/£179 (with no US release date as yet), and that's a serious money commitment, especially when you can just carry on working like you always have – opening your laptop and getting on with your day.
But I think it's worth it. It can transform your transitory workspace from wherever you happened to sit down that day, into a considered, ergonomically sound space. It does that with minimal fuss, and maximum style, and it's design that should be lauded.