Moft Z is a standing desk that fits in your laptop bag

Patrick
Enlarge / Although the stand is very light, it’s stable once constructed. In this shot, we tried it out with the laptop on sideways.

Jim Salter

Standing desks are great, but even the add-on variety are normally far too big and heavy to travel with you. In the long, long ago—prior to COVID-19 isolation—I did a lot of traveling, a lot of working from hotel rooms, and a lot of grouching about hours of sitting on dubious chairs wrecking my back.

In January 2019, Moft released its first folding laptop stand—a relatively unambitious design that just angled the laptop for potentially more ergonomic typing. The construction should appear immediately familiar to nearly anyone with a tablet—it’s the same lightweight, soft-clad fiberglass core you’ll find in countless tablet cases with built-in stands.

The company’s new design, Moft Z, is a bit more ambitious—it can provide a 25° or 45° angle for seated laptop use, a 60° angle for propping up a tablet, or a full 10-inch lift for a standing laptop experience. Moft Z isn’t shipping yet—the preorders it is taking now are scheduled to ship in June—but the company provided us with a review sample of the final product.

Unboxing

The Moft Z comes in an unassuming little cardboard box with nothing much in the way of documentation. The top-side product label on the box shows the stand in each of its four positions but doesn’t give you any idea how to actually unfold it into each.

As always, we were pretty determined to get through this without resorting to online documentation. The 60° tablet position was immediately obvious, and the 30° and 45° seated laptop positions weren’t too much harder to figure out.

The ten-inch lifted stand configuration was considerably more challenging and took some determined, close scrutiny of the picture on the front of the box—but we got there, after a minute or two.

Folding Moft Z into standing position

The biggest challenge in figuring out the Moft Z is figuring out the center panels. They’re flaps that can unfold in opposite direction to the rest of the stand—but the whole thing is stiff enough that you may question if you’re really supposed to.

Once you figure that out, there are a lot of different ways to start unfolding things and end up with a 10-inch stand. The most effective way to unfold it that we found amounts to just unfolding it flat and lifting out the big center panel—once you separate the center panel and lift, the whole stand pretty much just falls into place.

You don’t need to be Vince Offer to make using this thing look easy. I puzzled and frowned my way through getting the Moft Z into its standing position the first time—but it only took a couple of times before I could unfold and refold it rapidly and smoothly.

Usability as a standing desk

Moft says the Z is rated for up to 22 pounds of weight—so I broke out my vintage 1990 Panasonic Business Partner 150 to give it a proper load test. The stand was perfectly solid and stable with the elderly portable perched atop it.

The Panasonic isn’t quite as heavy as it looks—despite its size, it “only” weighs in at seven pounds. That’s still at least twice as heavy as most modern laptops, but well within the stand’s range, and it felt like it. Typing felt perfectly stable, with no feeling of flex or bobble.

Shoving the laptop moderately hard was also fine—to either side or straight back. Pulling on it was more of a problem—if you tug hard enough toward yourself, you’ll collapse the stand. This isn’t something you’ll likely have an issue with in normal use, though; even when resting my palms on the laptop as dead weight there was no feeling of instability.

Assured that weight wasn’t going to be a problem, I replaced my thirty-year antique equipment with an Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. The G14 also did well atop the Moft Z—but on the modern laptop, with its larger screen, the screen bounced a little during heavy typing.

The minor wobbling of the G14’s screen on its hinges wasn’t terrible by any means—there’s always some degree of screen bounce in a laptop, even on a flat table. But pickier users—or people with older laptops with sloppy, loose hinges—may be more annoyed by it than I was.

The best thing about Moft Z is its portability—when folded flat, it’s several inches narrower and only half an inch deeper than the Asus Zephyrus G14. You won’t be able to cram it into a sleeve designed for 11-inch laptops, but nearly any general-purpose laptop bag or backpack will accommodate the Z along with your laptop without any trouble.

Conclusions

We’re not sure how broad the market is for a laptop-only standing desk, but the Moft Z seems poised to suit that market quite well. It succeeds broadly in all the promises it makes—it’s lightweight, stable, and, even with heavy-handed users, it’s more than strong enough for the purpose.

The only real caution we have is that the Moft Z is only available for pre-order now, with shipments scheduled to begin in June. The company has successful and well-reviewed similarly constructed existing products readily available for purchase on Amazon, though, so the risk is—in our opinion—fairly low. Pre-orders at Indiegogo are currently available at $55, with the price expected to go up to $70 after retail launch.

The good

  • Moft Z is definitely stable well within the weight range it needs to be. If your laptop weighs more than a Panasonic KX-P1180i, please send pictures.
  • Most people will find the 10-inch lift height appropriate—at 5-foot 10 inches, it was in the short half of the comfort zone for me.
  • Weight and folded dimensions are both outstanding. Anything bigger than a 13-inch laptop fitted sleeve will accommodate the Z without a problem.

The bad

  • The lift height isn’t adjustable—especially tall users may find it lacking.
  • If you’ve got a larger, older laptop with sloppy hinges, screen bounce while typing may be a problem.

The ugly

  • This is a product that’s still in “pre-order” status—although the design is finalized, and the company is just accumulating orders for a big production run.

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