updated 08:37 pm EDT, Thu March 27, 2014
Tech-specialized wood desks offer much more than hiding cords
Accessories maker iSkelter -- best known for their all-wood Slate portable notebook lapdesk with pre-cut grooves to act as stands and holders for tablets, smartphones and even coffee mugs -- is accepting pre-orders for its next project, the SlatePro. The full-sized desk, originally funded through Kickstarter, is again a wood-based productivity center, available in up to eight different configurations with pre-cut slots and cut-outs specifically aimed at serious computer users. The company expects to begin shipping the units in July.
Electronista, however, caught up with the company at Macworld, where a SlatePro had been set up. The same philosophy that drove the company's Slate notebook lapdesk is present in the full-sized version, and the desk can be ordered with or without the air-venting grid of hand-sanded holes intended for notebook ventilation, in traditional "sit-down" or "standing" styles.
The desk is made from premium bamboo, with an acrylic translucent top. The wood provides natural resistance to the rubber "feet" of notebooks or desktops -- and felt luxuriously smooth, even at the edges. Essentially, if a unibody MacBook Pro was made of wood and a desk instead of a computer, it might look like this. The thoughtfully-considered grooves cut into the desk allow for most popular sizes of smartphone and tablet -- even in some cases with a cover -- to stand and be connected to a charging or sync cable (though we do wonder how the cord will stay where we want it when the mobile devices are unplugged).
The desk, measuring nearly 48 inches by 23 inches and standing (in its default configuration) 27.75 inches tall is likely to be ideal for its target audience -- style-conscious, eco-friendly creative professionals (or just plain old obsessive neatniks -- this is a desk that screams "a place for everything, and everything in its place"). It comes with a clever, minimalist "filing rack" and recessed pen dock and cup holder (though we must admit we frown on liquids being on the same desk as a notebook, even with the recessed area iSkelter has allotted for it).
There is also a built-in, high-quality mousepad that sits flush with the surface -- an Apple-like bit of attention to detail. Likewise, the grooves are designed to hold iPhones or other smartphones with or without cases, and iPads or other tablets with (thin) casings or not -- with cut-outs large enough for the 30-pin connector, but equally comfortable with Lightning or USB cords.
The SlatePro goes way beyond the drilled "cord hider" you'd find in a desk from an office supply store, and seems aimed at Apple users in particular, but with enough thought behind it that anyone who enjoys a high-quality, sustainable-natural-material, organized desk made with care (entirely in the US) is likely to be interested. The price (normally $698, but during the pre-order period available for $448) is in the league of the better models of "office supply" work desks, and far below the cost of some of the better designer desks. Just as it was a popular Kickstarter project, we think it will find an audience of buyers who are eco- and style-conscious, but also value-conscious.
SlatePro at Macworld