There’s a lot of gear out there for your Apple devices, but how do you know which are worth your time and what’s not worth your money? In our Gear We Love column, Macworld’s editors tell you about the products we’re personally using—and loving.
Unless you’ve got just the right desk, there’s a good chance you need to elevate your iMac or display to get it to the
best ergonomic height—with your eyes about two to three inches below the top edge of the screen.
Your local office-supply store surely has a number of monitor stands to choose from, and online retailers are flush with stands for every budget or office motif. But I’ve been testing Twelve South’s $80 HiRise for iMac for several months, and it’s become one of my favorite desktop accessories, both as stand for raising my display to a better height, and as a nifty storage compartment for stuff I don’t want littering my desk.
The HiRise for iMac is misleadingly named, as it also works with some Apple Cinema Displays. Specifically, with the exception of Apple’s 30-inch Cinema Display, the HiRise works with any iMac, Apple Cinema Display, or Apple Thunderbolt Display with a metal, L-shaped base. I’ve actually been testing two HiRise units: one with a 27-inch 2010 iMac, and the other with a 23-inch Apple Cinema Display connected to a laptop.
The sturdy, metal HiRise is roughly 8.5 inches wide, 8.5 inches deep, and 3.3 inches tall. The front and rear plates, which look pretty like a miniature version of an older Mac Pro lying on its side, are about an inch wider than the HiRise’s body. The HiRise weighs about 4 pounds on its own.
But unlike most display stands, which just provide a platform on which you set your display, the HiRise integrates with your iMac or Apple Display’s own base. Inside the HiRise are six machined slots to accommodate an included metal shelf. With the rear plate removed, you install the shelf in the slot that would position your display at the best height. (Your choices: approximately 0.8, 1.1, 1.5, 2, 2.3, or 2.6 inches of elevation.) You then slide your iMac or Apple Display base into the back of the HiRise so that it sits on that shelf, and attach the HiRise’s back plate with the included screws. A cutout in the top of the HiRise, along the rear edge, allows the iMac or Apple Display base to exit the stand.
The HiRise and its movable shelf are solidly built, and the assembled stand is quite sturdy. The bottom of the HiRise sports slick, Teflon rails that allow you to easily reposition your display. (I prefer my display to stay put, so I stuck a bit of frame-hanging putty on the bottom.) And, cleverly, Twelve South says that if you’re lucky enough to have a 27-inch iMac and an Apple Thunderbolt Display, positioning the HiRise’s shelf in the second slot from the bottom will perfectly align the iMac’s screen with the Thunderbolt display. (Alas, I don’t have a Thunderbolt Display, so I couldn’t test this claim.)
This base/stand integration looks great, but what makes the HiRise especially useful is that you can pull off its front plate, which is attached by magnets, to access a two-shelf storage compartment. (Your iMac or Apple Display’s base forms the bottom of the top shelf.) This is space that would otherwise be mostly wasted, and it’s perfectly positioned for easy access. On my iMac, I use the HiRise to hide a few remote controls, a stylus, a pen, some note paper, and a portable hard drive; I’ve also got a couple sync/charge cables for iOS devices connected to my iMac’s USB ports and threaded through the back of the stand. With my Cinema Display, I use the HiRise to hide the power supplies and extra cable slack for both my laptop and the display—thanks to the HiRise, my desk is cable and power-brick free.
The HiRise’s internal storage space is even roomy enough to hold the current Mac mini, making it a great companion for Apple’s smallest Mac. The stand’s perforated front and rear plates provide ventilation, and the HiRise’s metal construction acts as a heat sink—on my laptop system, the two power supplies never get more than slightly warm. And if you want to make the contents of the HiRise a bit less accessible, you can secure the front plate using included screws.
The HiRise for iMac is a useful accessory for your iMac or Apple Display, especially if you’ve been looking for a way to get a bunch of smaller gear off your desk and out of sight.