Kensington SmartView Organizing Laptop Riser review: Make your Surface your primary desk display

If you only use a laptop as your main computer, including as a desktop replacement, Kensington’s new laptop riser is a solid choice to keep your head up.

Kensington SmartView Organizing Laptop Riser
(Image: © Daniel Rubino)

Windows Central Verdict

Kensington's SmartView Organizing Laptop Riser (K50825WW) is made with Microsoft for Surface devices. Its clever design and unique features make it a worthy option for those who use their laptop on the go and in the office.


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    Unique design

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    Made for Surface

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    Nice added features


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With the rise of Thunderbolt and desk docking stations, it’s not uncommon to see more people use their personal laptop as their only computer. But the display of a laptop is significantly lower than a desktop display, meaning you’re always looking down at an angle.

Kensington’s new SmartView Organizing Laptop Riser (K50825WW) — which also won a 2022 Red Dot Design Award — solves that problem by putting the laptop’s display up at eye level, ensuring all-day comfortable computing.

Developed in partnership with Microsoft and meeting the Design for Surface standard, any laptop can benefit from this riser. Still, Surface owners will want to give it an even closer look.

I’ve been using it for the last week, and here is what you need to know about it.

Kensington SmartView Organizing Laptop Riser: Price and availability

Headphones, dock, and Surface Laptop all on the riser. (Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

The Kensington SmartView Organizing Laptop Riser is now available from Kensington directly with a two-year warranty for $79.99 and partner retailers.

There are no options for configuration.

Kensington SmartView Organizing Laptop Riser: Thinks I liked

Bottom view of the riser with Surface Laptop Studio.  (Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

A laptop riser is a simple accessory: It puts the laptop at eye level like a desktop monitor. Since the keyboard is too high, you presumably use Bluetooth or a wired one instead. With a desktop dock connected, you also get more ports for a mouse, external storage, a high-performance webcam, or a premium microphone.

This riser from Kensington can fit any laptop that is 16-inches or smaller, but it’s made with Surface devices (like Surface Book, Laptop, Laptop Go, and Laptop Studio) in mind.

There’s not much to the Kensington SmartView Organizing Laptop Riser itself. Open the box, and pull out the various parts, including the base, the neck, and the laptop riser itself. The base and neck were attached via three hex screws using the included hex wrench, and assembly took two minutes.

Toss your headphones on the hook on the rear for safekeeping.  (Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

The stand is a combo of aluminum alloy and steel with a sturdy feel and some weight at 3.9lbs (1.78kg). The bottom has a rubber grip, so there is no sliding on the desk. The metal is painted white, which gives a clean, minimalist look, especially for those who don’t like standard bare aluminum or black-painted laptop risers.

The color-coded neck is to be used with the instruction manual, where you can measure your hand size. Whatever color zone your hand falls into is where you should mount the riser in one of five positions for optimal viewing. The riser fits in with a stem and can be moved without needing tools.

Side profile. (Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

The top of the riser has large rubber feet at the front and back, which helps keep the laptop in place and prevents sliding. It also allows a small gap between the riser and laptop to enable air circulation, which is suitable for non-Surface laptops with bottom-fed air ventilation.

On the rear is a headphone hook mount. Drop your headphones onto the hook when you’re no longer in a meeting for safekeeping.

The bottom of the riser has a fabric-covered cutout built for placing any modern dock, including Kensington’s SD5750T, Razer Thunderbolt 4 Dock Chroma, or ones from other companies like Dell (see our best Thunderbolt 4 docking stations). At the rear is some cable management to properly channel the dock’s power cord for tidiness.

Kensington SmartView Organizing Laptop Riser

Kensington SmartFit: Match your hand to the color and that's the right height for the riser. (Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

If you don’t have a Thunderbolt dock, you could use the cutout for things like your smartphone or any other accessory for quick access.

Kensington SmartView Organizing Laptop Riser

The color-coded SmartFit system makes adjustments a breeze. (Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

For this review, I used the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio. While you could just put the Laptop Studio on the riser like any laptop, it was more fun to reverse the computer and flip the display backward. By doing so, the Surface Laptop Studio’s screen is now a significant 9-inches closer to your face, a nifty trick that no other laptop can do (besides Surface Book).

Connecting an external keyboard and mouse and the flexibility to move the riser closer, you now have an ergonomic and pragmatic desktop setup.

Kensington SmartView Organizing Laptop Riser: Thinks I didn’t like

Surface Laptop Studio with its display flipped is awesome. (Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

While the rise is easy to pop in and out for toolless repositioning, I wouldn’t mind a locking mechanism to hold it in place. There’s a bit of wiggle with the riser where I’d prefer something a bit firmer.

You also must be careful if you put any closed laptop down on the riser and have it pushed too far back. When you open the laptop’s lid, the moving lid’s bottom edge begins to protrude, and it could scrape against the riser’s stem. Placing the laptop on the riser with the display already in an open position is best to avoid this.

The top of the riser has rubber feat to keep the laptop in place, create space for venting.  (Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

While the raised rubber pads do offer some ventilation, I think a design with grill lines or holes on the riser platform would make more sense for laptops with bottom-feeding ventilation. Granted, this accessory is mainly positioned at Surface devices, which do not have bottom ventilation making the point moot, and regular laptops can still pull in air from the bottom sides.

Also, unlike many laptop risers on the market, Kensington’s does not slope at an angle downward. This really isn’t a huge issue, but because Kensington (and Microsoft) didn’t opt for front “hooks” to keep the laptop in place, it is a unique design.

Kensington SmartView Organizing Laptop Riser: Competition

Besign LSX3 Aluminum Laptop Stand

The Besign LSX3 Aluminum Laptop Stand. (Image credit: Besign)

Laptop risers are a dime a dozen on Amazon, but none quite match what Kensington offers here, which may help explain the $80 price tag (no doubt discounted for business bulk orders).

The Besign LSX3 Aluminum Laptop Stand is just $28 on Amazon but lacks any dedicated area for a docking station, cable management, or headphone mount. Its height is adjustable but lacks the SmartFit system for “finding the most ergonomic height for your Surface laptop screen,” like Kensington.

The LIFELONG Ergonomic Laptop Stand ($59) uses a hinge mechanism for height adjustment, which can be cumbersome, but gets the job done. Again, it omits any dedicated area for a docking station, cable management, or headphone mount.

The Tounee Laptop Stand ($65) offers a unique (and perhaps gimmicky) 360-degree swivel hinge in addition to going up to a very high 21-inches, which is good enough to make it a pseudo-standing desk. It also does not have any area for a dock, headphone hook, or cable management.

Kensington SmartView Organizing Laptop Riser: Should you buy?

This setup is actually very comfortable to use all-day.  (Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

You should buy this if …

  • You want a proper and official laptop rise for Surface
  • You want more than just a generic riser
  • Design and looks are important
  • You work in an office or have a serious desktop setup

You should not buy this if …

  • You want something cheaper

The Kensington SmartView Organizing Laptop Riser is a solid piece of kit. It is simple to set up, the SmartFit system is clever, and I liked the added cable management features, rear headphone hook, and space for a dock at the bottom.

Sure, there are other more affordable options on Amazon that all look the same. But the Kensington riser is more interesting between the off-white aesthetic, being made for Surface, and value-added features.

This observation is especially true if you own a Surface Laptop Studio or Surface Book where reversing the display is an option.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.