Twelve South continues to make some of my favourite desk accessories for the Mac. Through purchase and review opportunities, I’ve looked at between 15 and 20 different Twelve South desk accessories over the last 5 years. Most are absolutely fantastic. There are a few duds in there, sure, but most are fantastic.
It’s rare though where I’ve had a chance to look at seemingly competing Twelve South products — the Curve and the Curve Flex. Both serve basically the same purpose. Both are built the same way. Both have the same design language.
They differ of course in the Flex’s height adjustability. Using the included allen wrench, you can loosen the Flex’s hinges and adjust it to better suit your workspace. When you’re done, you can fold the Flex down and stow it in the included travel pouch (though I see literally nobody toting this thing in their carry-on bag).
The original Curve is one-size-fits-all, done and done.
I have a few additional anecdotes though, some of which may be applicable to you and some of which may not be:
- The height adjustability of the Curve Flex means the stand can squeeze your MacBook into new places. For me, this actually means I can now fit my MacBook Pro under an overhead shelf built right into my workspace. The ability to move the Curve Flex lower provides just as much utility as the ability to position it higher.
- The two-fold design enables the Curve Flex to sit in new places. I have a Grovemade Desk Shelf spanning the working area of my workspace. With a Studio Display on top, there isn’t a ton of space on either side of that shelf to boost up a laptop. But thanks to the two-fold design of the Curve Flex, I can actually position the Curve Flex on the desk and slide it slightly underneath the Grovemade Desk Shelf. If you look at Grovemade’s own laptop stand, they’ve built it in such a way as to slide underneath the Desk Shelf as well. The Curve Flex isn’t as perfectly designed for the Desk Shelf as Grovemade’s own laptop stand, but it works pretty well.
- The Curve Flex’s hinges sag over time. If you constantly adjust and readjust the Curve Flex’s height, the weight of the MacBook Pro will eventually cause those hinges to sag. At first, I thought I had a faulty unit. In reality, I hadn’t recognized I needed to tighten the hinges with the included allen wrench. After realization though, this became an annoyance — now, if you want to adjust it at all, it requires using that allen wrench. For a laptop stand designed to be portable (I’m simply looking at the travel pouch included in the package to prove this), needing to use an allen wrench for adjustability each time is a pain in the neck.
- The Curve Flex can fold down to little more than an inch-and-a-half thick. If you have small spaces you want to keep the Curve Flex while it’s not in use, the stand folds down nice and thin for easy stowing. I keep mine in the smaller secondary shelf built into the Grovemade Desk Stand. It’s freaky how nicely the Curve Flex fits into this shelf.
- The Curve Flex has some impressive rigidity. Once you’ve tightened the hinges, the Curve Flex stays impressively stationary. I’ve used the Curve Flex on a sit-stand desk for the first few months of use and it doesn’t wiggle or rattle at all when raising the desk. In general, the Curve Flex is rock solid.
- The Curve Flex is a perfect iPad stand for Stage Manager and external displays. You can see my photos above showcasing exactly how the Curve Flex perfectly slides underneath the Grovemade Desk Shelf and provides a perfect stand for using the iPad with an external display, keyboard and mouse. The height of the stand ensures you can still tap the iPad if you need and the rigidity of the stand ensures you can write on the iPad with the Apple Pencil. This has increasingly become my favourite way to work when I’m at home.
And how is this a comparison to the original Curve?
- The Curve doesn’t have height adjustment capabilities, though the singular option is a reasonable height for many different desk setups.
- The Curve’s design is sort of U-shaped, meaning it won’t be able to fit under other accessories the same way the Cure Flex can.
- The Curve is also rigid, but it isn’t nearly as sturdy as the Curve Flex. You can press on either Curve arm and bend or flex it downward. There’s no flexing the Curve Flex.
The added height adjustability in the Curve Flex adds $20 to the purchase price over the original Curve. To me, that $20 might be the easiest $20 you could spend on Twelve South’s store. You have every capability provided by the original Curve in the newer Curve Flex, plus height adjustability, a foldable design that gets out of the way or fits into new spaces, and a significantly sturdier experience with fewer wobbles and rattles.
The Twelve South Curve Flex may well be my end-game laptop stand. If I were to move into a new office or redesign my home office, the Curve Flex would be on that desk.