We’ve been shamefully hoarding laptop stands without covering them and now that’s going to change. First cab off the rank is the brand new Twelve South Curve SE laptop stand which follows on from a non-SE version that we’ll cover separately.
The Twelve South Curve SE laptop stand is a similar shape and size to the original Curve, but it comes in three parts for a few reasons. Firstly, it fits inside a much-smaller box. This is good for sustainability reasons which include being able to fit more products onto a single pallet which enables more to be transported all at once – saving money, emissions and fuel). Secondly, it’s easier to manufacture than the single-bodied Curve. Both facets mean that the Curve SE can be significantly cheaper than the Curve.
Table of Contents
Twelve South says that the Curve SE is a desktop stand for laptops [in general]. That might sound a bit obvious but rivals specify which laptops they’re designed to support (usually Macbooks) so having a ‘general’ model is more welcome.
That said, the Curve SE then states that its, “Sculpted aluminium design fits all models of MacBook and other laptops.” The final notable claim is that it, “Raises screen off desk for improved ergonomics and airflow.” [sic]
Twelve South adds, “Still parking your thin, lightweight laptop on a bulky stand built for a seven pound machine? Replace it with a Curve SE, an elegant stand with two slender arms that allow maximum airflow and easily support today’s ultra-light laptops.”
The silver-aluminium finish is designed to “Complement most laptops.”
So, how does it do in the real world?
Setting-up the laptop stand
The main, physical difference between the Curve and the SE is that the SE is higher and has clip-on arms.
Fixing the arms onto the Curve SE’s base simply requires pressing them against each other. A significant amount of pressure is required as they’re supposed to stay solidly attached without wobbling or coming apart again.
Twelve South’s Curve SE laptop stand raises your laptop’s screen 16.5cm (6.5-inches) off a desk. It weighs 683g.
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The Curve SE laptop stand’s silver-aluminium colour does indeed complement many ultraportable laptops. The two joins at the rear are visible but few people would raise an eyebrow at that.
The regular Curve models come in white or black and they are basically the same shape and size as the Curve SE. However, Twelve South says that their having a, “One piece design” with no joins, apparently means that they come with, “Designer Inspired Finishes” with “Matte black and white finishes to compliment your home or office decor.” In reality one looks silver while the others are white or black.
The modular Curve SE naturally isn’t quiet as stable as the one-piece Curve. When compressed and released, the regular Curve barely moves while the Curve SE exhibits some minor vibration for a second. It’s still very solid, though.
A core consideration for laptop stands is the enhacement or impediment of airflow. The arrangement of the two arms of the Curve SE means it doesn’t block air vents in the base of some laptops like some rivals can. Still, if your laptop happens to have its cooling fans directly where the arms are placed, it could impact upon cooling performance. At worst, you’d just need to move the laptop a little off center, though.
We tested the Curve SE with three different laptops: a 17-inch gaming beast, a 15inch all-rounder and a 14-inch ultralight laptop. We test using a EverDesk in standing postion.
17-inch gaming laptop stand test
On the 17-inch gaming laptop, its front lips couldn’t properly grip the sloped, front base of the laptop meaning there was a risk of it sliding off if knocked. It generally remained stable but would rock and wobble for some time when knocked (due to the large, opened lid). It’s not designed to deal with these sized laptops, and we wouldn’t recommend using it with them. For what it’s worth, the more-solid Curve didn’t behave much better.
15-inch laptop stand test
The Curve SE felt much more stable with the 15-inch laptop, It’s front lip just about stably held the front of the sloped base of the laptop, preventing it from sliding off. However, our 2KG laptop did still bounce about for a short while when knocked, whereas the single-bodied Curve held fast and barely moved.
Ultraportable laptop stand test
We tested using two 14-inch ultraportables: the 17mm-thick, 1.47KG Gigabyte Aero 14 OLED and the 24mm-thick, 1.7KG Acer TravelMate B5 14. the Curve SE laptop stand quickly showed its worth. It not only complemented the colour of both laptops (especially the Aero) it also supported it solidly and helped to quickly cancel out any knocks – just as well as the one-piece Curve.
We add a bit of flair to our photos at High Performance Laptops. Our Twelve South Curve SE Laptop Stand review is brought to you by a box of Chelsea butter sweets which we found in Japan at a recent HP Partner Conference.
Conclusion – Should you buy the Twelve South Curve SE Laptop Stand
At $70, the Twelve South Curve SE Laptop Stand is not particularly cheap, but it’s a premium stand, made of premium materials that’s desiged for a stylish office environment. If you want a bit more rigidity for a larger laptop, the $10 dearer Curve is a good alternative choice.
Nonetheless the Curve SE works best with its target market of ultraportables and so we’re happy to recommend it.
The Twelve South Curve SE Laptop Stand has won High Performance Laptops’ Recommended Award.
Not as solid as unibody
Twelve South Curve SE Laptop Stand Score
The modular Twelve South Curve SE Laptop Stand is slightly cheaper and less solid than its unibody brethren, but it matches the looks of more ultraportables and supports them all well.