Getting the fundamentals right, the Twelve South Curve Flex MacBook stand is as useful an addition to your Mac workspace as it is an attractive one. Just be ready to spend a lot of cash on a relatively simple accessory.
+ Well-considered design protects your MacBook
+ Sturdy adjustable hinges
+ Portable, complete with carry case
– Not great for wedge-shaped MacBook Air
– Very expensive for a stand
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It’s one thing having a fancy desk to work at — it’s another thing entirely making sure it is set up comfortably so that you can happily spend hours in front of it. As we increasingly move away from desktop computers in favor of the portability of laptops like the best MacBooks, and move from the office to the home office, we’re all too often finding ourselves hunched over those keys, neck bent to look at the screen beneath our eyeline.
A good stand can help alleviate that associated discomfort massively, and Apple accessory maker Twelve South has made a good name for itself in this space in the past. We’ve previously praised the company’s best MacBook stands, particularly the Curve. But with its new Curve Flex revision of that original stand, it makes significant improvements, namely with the amount of flexibility (as its name suggests) offered to how you raise and angle your MacBook.
It’s expensive, but it’s thoroughly well-designed. Read on for our full thoughts.
Twelve South Curve Flex: Price and availability
The Curve Flex is available to purchase now direct from Twelve South and costs $79.99. In the UK it can also be picked up from Amazon, where it’s currently priced at £79.99.
That’s… a lot of money to spend on a stand. But! It’s a very well-made stand. From its metal aluminum construction to its rubbery silicone safety sections and stiff hinge, not to mention its fold-flat portability, there’s a lot to like here. It’s a premium accessory to pair with a premium laptop then, but be prepared to spill a lot of cash.
Twelve South Curve Flex: What I love
Available in both black and white (both with grey silicone protective accents), the Curve Flex feels well-built. Its aluminum construction is sturdy, but not overly heavy – throw it in a backpack and you’re not going to notice the extra weight all that much and, with an included neoprene carry case and the ability to collapse the whole thing to a near-flat 3cm thickness, it’s a surprisingly portable option. With that neoprene sleeve helping to stop its tough metal parts from dinking other items in your bag, I could conceivably see myself bringing it to and from a place of work beyond my home office.
But it’s when it’s stationary and extended that it’s really working. The Curve Flex has two points of articulation, one at its base and the other on its adjustable arm where your laptop will sit. Both are stiff — though it makes them a bit tough to adjust, this is preferable to them feeling loose, with the weight of your laptop then otherwise inevitably causing the riser to drop. An included mini screwdriver lets you adjust the tension in the hinges if you so choose, but I’d advise against it, as it feels about right straight out of the box.
The Z-shaped frame then lets you raise your MacBook as high as 22-inches and, with a width of just over 26cm, should be able to accommodate most laptops, MacBook or not. The stand-to-laptop price ratio here might make you think twice though if you’re using it with, say, a cheap Chromebook rather than a flash M2 MacBook Air, though. With that elevation, you should be able to get a nice eye-line view of the MacBook, even in a row with a second supporting monitor.
At no point did I worry that my MacBook (I’m testing predominantly with a 16-inch Pro from 2019) would slip or fall from the stand, thanks to the silicone elements creating a non-slip hold on the bottom of the laptop. The slight lip that cradles the bottom edge of the laptop also has a silicone finish — a nice touch that prevents it from scraping the front edge of your MacBook.
Twelve South Curve Flex: What I don’t love
The Twelve South Curve Flex doesn’t get much wrong. If a sturdy, adjustable stand is what you want, it ticks the boxes, but there’s a couple of things that could be improved.
For starters, that price is hard to get over — you’re on your way to a good chunk of the price of an iPad for the cost here. Again, I’ll stress it’s a well-engineered stand, but when you’re well on your way to 100 bucks for a stand, that’s a significant investment for an accessory of this type.
It’s got quite a large footprint on your desktop too, but I’d take a study footing and low center of gravity over something that will topple over, so I’ll let that go. What I would say is that the stand can make the wedge-shaped MacBook Air sit awkwardly at low angles though, and could have benefited from some sort of additional clip to keep that specific (but very popular) MacBook in place.
Also, while I appreciate the inclusion of the carry case, it’s only just about fit for service – it doesn’t entirely envelope the stand and close, meaning any loose items in your bag can get stuck in there with the Curve Flex.
Twelve South Curve Flex: Competition
Twelve South has plenty of competition in the laptop stand space — a quick Amazon search provides lots of third-party alternatives. I haven’t seen any that look quite as robust — or expensive — as the Curve Flex, however, so it’s a bit of an outlier in that respect, especially given its portability. The Kensington Easy Rider is an affordable alternative from a trusted name, but an unattractive one with relatively low elevation. And this Urmost option follows similar design principles at a lower cost — but I can’t speak for its reliability, having not personally tested it.
Twelve South Curve Flex: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if…
- You need a sturdy and reliable riser for your MacBook
- You work from several desks and want to keep your MacBook at a uniform height
- You can afford to pay a premium for a well designed accessory
You shouldn’t buy this if…
- Your desk setup already lets your MacBook sit at a comfortable height
- You have a wedge-shaped MacBook Air — it’ll still work well enough, but a squared-off MacBook chassis will sit more comfortably with the Curve Flex
- Money is tight and you can find an agreeable alternative
Sturdy, with stiff dependable hinges and a design that will ensure your MacBook neither falls nor scrapes against the stand, the Twelve South Curve Flex is an excellent choice to raise up your laptop with, especially if you need a degree of portability with your stand. It’s undeniably pricey though — you’re paying for quality here, but you may find yourself satisfied by one of the many cheaper alternatives on the market.
Gerald Lynch is the Editor-in-Chief of iMore, keeping careful watch over the site's editorial output and commercial campaigns, ensuring iMore delivers the in-depth, accurate and timely Apple content its readership deservedly expects. You'll never see him without his iPad Pro, and he loves gaming sessions with his buddies via Apple Arcade on his iPhone 14 Pro, but don't expect him to play with you at home unless your Apple TV is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system.
Living in London in the UK, Gerald was previously Editor of Gizmodo UK, and Executive Editor of TechRadar, and has covered international trade shows including Apple's WWDC, MWC, CES and IFA. If it has an acronym and an app, he's probably been there, on the front lines reporting on the latest tech innovations. Gerald is also a contributing tech pundit for BBC Radio and has written for various other publications, including T3 magazine, GamesRadar, Space.com, Real Homes, MacFormat, music bible DIY, Tech Digest, TopTenReviews, Mirror.co.uk, Brandish, Kotaku, Shiny Shiny and Lifehacker. Gerald is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press, and also holds a Guinness world record on Tetris. For real.