July 12, 2016

Written by

Josh Ginter


Josh Ginter

The constant reach of technology on your wallet doesn’t end with a laptop or desktop purchase. That would be too easy.

For any Apple device, there is a well designed Twelve South accessory waiting shortly thereafter.

Case in point: I picked up a 2016 MacBook recently and began using it as my everyday laptop at home and at the office. The first few weeks were marvellous thanks to the improved battery life and the best-in-market portability.

It didn’t take long for my shoulders and neck to disagree though. The 12” screen and chassis don’t give much in terms of ergonomics and posture, especially after long bouts of writing.

Twelve South ParcSlope

The Twelve South ParcSlope is one of the latest laptop stands to come from one of Apple’s best accessory makers.

This is where Twelve South’s ParcSlope steps in. The ParcSlope is a stand for MacBooks, MacBook Airs, MacBook Pros, and iPad Pros which brings up the height of the screen to a better viewing angle and props up the keyboard and trackpad to give a more ergonomic experience. As a whole, the ParcSlope fulfills its goals tremendously, but I have two small nitpicks along the way.

Author’s note: The Twelve South ParcSlope is on sale for the first time as part of Amazon’s Prime Day. You can pick up the stand for only $35 (a $15 savings) over the regular $50 price tag.

Design, Build, and Materials

The ParcSlope has one of those designs that makes you scratch your head and wonder why you didn’t dream up the idea yourself.

Twelve South ParcSlope

The ParcSlope is little more than a solid piece of aluminum and rubber pads. The large cutout keeps the stand a little lighter and also keeps your laptop cool when it’s propped up.

The stand is a simple piece of fairly heavy aluminum, machined into an angled “J-like” shape to prop up your laptop or iPad to an 18-degree angle. There is only a single marking on the topside and the majority of the branding to be found is on the stand’s underside. There are no screws or allen wrenches to setup out of the box. The ParcSlope is the ParcSlope; nothing more and nothing less.

Twelve South ParcSlope

The underside of the ParcSlope has some branding and some pretty impressive rubber feet. The feet are so good they actually make the stand difficult to adjust on a desk, especially with a heavier notebook.

Alongside the branding on the underside, the ParcSlope has a few rubber feet to protect your desk or table from the stand’s aluminum. These rubber feet do quite a good job — their friction keeps the stand in place and keeps inadvertent bumps from causing serious damage. Due to the unfortunately slippery top rubber pads, you’ll find the bottom rubber feet do too good a job at times. If you want to reposition the ParcSlope with your MacBook on top, you’re better off to lift the entire stand off the desk and reposition.

Twelve South ParcSlope

On the topside, the ParcSlope has a simple logo stamped into the aluminum and a cutout perfectly aligned to a MacBook’s cutout. The rubber lip keeps your MacBook from sliding forward, but could stand to be a bit bigger. It sits just a bit higher than flush with the tiny 12” MacBook, so it’s sure to sit lower on a thicker MacBook Pro.

The topside of the ParcSlope has a single stamped logo and it has two rubber pads to protect the bottom of your notebook from the stand’s aluminum. The rubber looks and feels really cool — it’s riddled with little holes and the rubber can be slightly squished if pressure is applied. It’s not as hard as the rubber on the Rain Design mStand, for example.

The front rubber pad has a cutout that aligns with your MacBook’s cutout for opening the screen. I also find myself resting my thumb in this cutout when using the trackpad. The edge of the rubber is raised to keep your notebook from sliding right off the stand and into your lap. I’ve found the rubber pads to be a bit slipper though, so this raised lip often isn’t enough to keep a MacBook from sliding off after a random bump. I’d actually like to see this lip bigger, believe it or not.

Twelve South ParcSlope

The top rubber pad has a few ridges designed to improve friction with your notebook. For the most part, these ridges do their job, but I have found my MacBook to slide around more easily than I’d like. These ridges also provide a nice place to rest an Apple Pencil if you’re an iPad Pro user.

The top rubber pad is the same material as the bottom rubber pad, but there are two additional ridges to help increase friction for different sized devices. Additionally, if you use the ParcSlope with an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, the topmost ridge is a nice place to rest your Pencil for safekeeping. As I’ve already mentioned, the 18-degree slope is a comfortable slope for long hours of use, but the angle is large enough to justify giving the rubber pads some more friction to hold your MacBook more securely.

Twelve South ParcSlope


Twelve South ParcSlope

The backside has a cutout for cable management, just like every other minimally designed laptop stand on the market. I think the utility of these cutouts are correlated directly to where your plugin is located, so I rarely use this cutout for anything useful. For others, things might be different.

Lastly, on the backside, you’ll find a cutout in the aluminum frame for cable management. Most laptop stands come with some form of cable management and Twelve South’s ParcSlope works just as you’d expect.

In Use

The ParcSlope’s simple design would be simply useless if a number of specific details weren’t nailed. The typing angle, of course, is of utmost importance. How the stand cools your hardworking MacBook is also important. The stand’s weight is important, as you wouldn’t want your laptop falling to the floor after a random grazing. In these respects, the ParcSlope completely fulfills its purpose.

Twelve South ParcSlope

Eighteen degrees isn’t a steep angle, but it certainly isn’t shallow either. For extended periods of typing, this angle is comfortable. However, I’m not sure if my wrists could handle an entire day of work at 18 degrees, especially if I didn’t take a rest every few hours.

Eighteen degrees is a very specific angle. Any lower and the ParcSlope wouldn’t prop up your MacBook’s screen to a proper ergonomic height. Any higher and the typing angle would be uncomfortable. I believe 18-degrees is the best you’re going to do for a stand that is meant to be both ergonomic for your eyes and ergonomic for your hands. If my shoulders and neck had to choose a viewing angle between the Rain Design mStand and the ParcSlope, they would choose the mStand. If my hands had to choose a comfortable typing angle, they’d choose the ParcSlope. In tandem, I believe the ParcSlope is the best midway point for viewing angles and typing angles.

So with this said, if I had to work with the ParcSlope for eight hours a day, I am pretty sure my shoulders would tire eventually. I also believe my wrists would tire eventually of using the trackpad at the 18-degree angle. As such, I prefer to use a Magic Mouse when working with the ParcSlope. By no means is using the trackpad uncomfortable at this angle, and by no means is it worse than working without the ParcSlope — I just find I tire after a few hours of working with the stand.

Twelve South ParcSlope

To really experience any major posture benefits, the 12” MacBook’s screen has to be tilted the entire way back. For larger laptops like the 13” MacBook Pro or 15” MacBook Pro, you don’t need to push the screen the whole way back.

Same goes for typing at this angle. For long spurts of writing, propping my MacBook on the ParcSlope is my favourite plan of attack. Just about every review I’ve written in the last few months has been written with the MacBook and the ParcSlope — it’s truly enjoyable, comfortable, and ergonomic.

But I’d be lying if I said it was perfect. After an hour or so, my wrists start to ask for a break. There’s never any pain — just the need to rest. Which is probably a good thing, as my legs and rear-end should stand up at least once an hour.

Twelve South ParcSlope

The 12” MacBook works wonderfully with the ParcSlope, but it’s clear the ParcSlope wasn’t directly designed for Apple’s smallest notebook. There is a big space between the edge of the ParcSlope and where the MacBook rests. This presents no problem whatsoever — it just reminds me I’m using a stand designed for the 13” MacBook Air or larger notebooks.

Twelve South ParcSlope

As noted, the distance to the edge of the ParcSlope is perfect with the larger 13” MacBook Pro.

The ParcSlope was released before the 12” MacBook was officially announced, so the stand hasn’t been directly designed to work with the MacBook. Same goes for the iPad Pro — it just so happens the ParcSlope works wonderfully with the biggest iPad. With the MacBook, there is about an inch to an inch-and-a-half of extra space on the top rubber pad. This extra space between the edge of the stand and the 12” MacBook (and, I’m assuming, the 11” MacBook Air also) has no flexing issues whatsoever. It’s just a reminder that this stand was not directly made for my notebook.

On the flip side, that extra space works wonders for the iPad Pro. With the extra grooves built into the top rubber pad, there is a simple spot to leave your Apple Pencil when you’re not using it. Or, if you’re an analog user like me, you can leave your non-digital pen above the iPad Pro or behind the 12” MacBook. Again, that extra space provides no issue whatsoever — it merely looks odd when viewed from the side.

I believe the ideal use-case for the ParcSlope is with a 15” Retina MacBook Pro below a Thunderbolt Display on its own stand. In fact, this workflow is directly highlighted on Twelve South’s website:

Many creative pros use an external display set to the right or left side of their MacBook. ParcSlope invites you to consider another point of view. What if your MacBook was front-and-center, with an elevated second display floating above? This delivers the same amount of screen real estate in half the desktop width, with a tilted keyboard and cooler MacBook – courtesy of ParcSlope underneath. Think different? Indeed.

If Apple comes out with a Retina Thunderbolt/Cinema Display and a MacBook Pro that can drive it (and if I had the means), I think the ParcSlope would be my stand of choice when docking the MacBook Pro.

A Few Downsides

I have two gripes when using the ParcSlope, but I think it’s farfetched to attribute those gripes to the ParcSlope.

Twelve South ParcSlope

The 12” MacBook has to be fully extended to see any realistic posture benefits.

Twelve South ParcSlope

This photo shows a 13” Retina MacBook Pro, and although it may look like the screen is no higher than the MacBook’s above, the 13” Retina MacBook Pro is extended all the way back in this photo. If it weren’t extended as far, it would be a higher viewing angle and would be substantially better for your posture than the 12” MacBook.

First, I don’t find the ParcSlope props up the 12” MacBook’s screen high enough for prolonged use. I’ve mentioned already that propping up the screen higher would cause a higher typing angle, which is a tradeoff I wouldn’t make.

Twelve South ParcSlope

The 12” MacBook, fully extended.

Twelve South ParcSlope

The 13” Retina MacBook Pro, not fully extended. Push this screen back ever so slightly and you’ve got a wonderful viewing angle, typing angle, and overall great work experience.

Second, the ParcSlope’s top rubber pads are just a bit slippery for my liking. On countless occasions, I’ve just barely grazed the MacBook and it has slid out of its proper position on the ParcSlope. I’ve never come close to knocking it off the desk, mind you, so this is far from being make or break. I also have to admit I’m using the lightest Apple notebook ever created. This surely has an impact on how easily the MacBook moves around on the ParcSlope. We have a 13” Retina MacBook Pro kicking around the house and it is much more difficult to budge off of the ParcSlope.

Why mention these two issues when they aren’t really due to the ParcSlope? Because if the ParcSlope were to somehow fix these issues (one of which is possible, the other of which I am being entirely unfair), the ParcSlope would become an indispensable accessory for me. I would get to the point that I wouldn’t be able to work without the ParcSlope. It’s a near perfectly executed laptop stand and these two fixes would make it perfect.

Or, I could buy a bigger MacBook Pro and fix those issues myself.

Time to move on.


Twelve South has put itself on every Apple owner’s radar thanks to products and designs like the ParcSlope. Every few months, a new Twelve South product hits the airwave, and everyone wonders how the company made the obvious look so simple.

To me, this has never been better exemplified than by the ParcSlope. The stand is a single piece of heavy aluminum with some adhesive and rubber. Throw those three materials together, add in a little math, and you’ve got a laptop stand that makes typing more comfortable and makes viewing more comfortable. You can use the stand with or without an external display and you can use it with or without a mouse. Do whatever you like.

Twelve South ParcSlope

I have two “workstations” in my home: my iMac, and my MacBook with ParcSlope. I don’t think I could call it a workstation without the ParcSlope at my desk.

I purchased a Rain Design mStand about three years ago and often found myself using the stand without a keyboard or mouse. The typing angle was quite steep, but I would live with it in order to prop up my MacBook’s screen to a more comfortable height. The ParcSlope immediately removed the Rain Design mStand from my workflow. Now, I’m looking for an mStand buyer. The ParcSlope is regularly $50 (although right now it’s on sale for only $35!) — right around the same price as the mStand — so price isn’t a differentiating factor. Overall, I’d choose the ParcSlope.

The ParcSlope is Twelve South at its best. It’s so simple, it’s obvious.