LensVid Exclusive: ClickSnap Axis 1 Laptop Table Review
In late 2014 we had a chance to review the ClickSnap Axis 1 laptop table – the second product in this category that we are looking at which seems to have a very special mounting solution unlike anything we know of.
ClickSnap is the brainchild of photographer and mechanical engineer Gabriel Corbett from Texas. Corbett started his company by developing the Camera Strap Buddy (a Sling Camera Strap Adapter which you can check out here) and later on he expended his line of accessories to include a few other products including the ClickSnap ProPole – Painters Pole Adapter which we recently covered and we are hoping to use in an upcoming DIY project we are working on.
The Axis 1 is the second laptop tale we have been looking at (check out our Tabelz SP135M Laptop Table Review we published here a few weeks ago). Despite doing the same basic functionality, we feel that these two products are pretty different and are likely to attract slightly different buyers (more on that later), this is also why we did not do a side by side comparison, but after reading both reviews you will be able to decide for yourself which product best suite your needs.
The ClickSnap Axis 1 Laptop Table
Design and accessories
Before we talk about design it is important to note that at least currently the Axis 1 comes in only one size – 15 inch. According to ClickSnap, the Axis 1 is perfectly designed around the 15” MacBook Pro (but will also work with most standard laptops that are 15” and smaller – which was 100% true for our 13″ Lenovo Yoga Pro 2).
The basic deign of the Axis 1 upper part is simple with a large deep metal lip in the lower part for holding the laptop at an angle. You do have a nice groove which lets you open the laptop (you can see this in our video – very useful). The corners are rounded and you have no sharp edges and the only other thing worth mentioning are the 4 holes (2 on each side) which are made for allowing you to connect a strap for securing the laptop to the table.
Now, this system isn’t new and it can be very effective (securing the laptop in this way is probably the best way of preventing it from falling) however it does have it’s drawbacks – while the upper holes are probably not going to cover the keyboard, the lower ones will. Another issue is that ClickSnap didn’t include a strap. In our view it should have been part of the package for this price (it should have been some sort of a Velcro strap or some other similar solution). Of course you don’t HAVE to use a strap – and in fact we didn’t and nothing went wrong, but if you are afraid that something will happen – do consider tying your laptop to the table – just remember, if the entire thing falls down – no strap will probably help you.
Nice groove for your fingers
Another thing missing from the Axis 1 is any sort of room for accessories – if you need to use a mouse, external hard drive, hold your coffee or smartphone – you will need to find a different place to put them – the Axis 1 is a laptop table, no bells and whistles [correction – see update at the end of the article].
Despite the very spartan approach to accessories – the Axis 1 does have one very big thing going for it – that is the very unique mounting system ClickSnap designed. We have mentioned this in the video and we shall mention this again – the way the mechanism works is pure genius. What you have here is a handle and a head – the head has 3 connectors – 1/4 20″, 3/8″ and on the side a spigot hole and lock – it is a bit hard to explain so just watch the video – but trust us this is the best mounting system that we have ever seen.
Unique 3-in one mounting unit
The only drawback we see for the mounting unit of the Axis one is that it makes the entire table pretty think. Yes you can take the mounting unit off but it isn’t very simple (you need a special hex tool). We would really like to see a version of the table with some sort of a toolless unmount option for this unit which would make the entire table so much easier to travel with.
Here are the official specs of the unit:
- Dimensions: 15.5 x 10.5″ (40 cm x 27 cm)
- Color: Black
- Weight: just over 1kg (2.2~ lbs).
- Material: Aluminum (Powder Coated and Anodized Finish).
- Corners: rounded.
- Mounting options: 1/4 -20″ & 3/8″ and 5/8” Socket for Light Stands (Baby Pin, Spigot).
Real world use
We had a chance to use use the Axis 1 for a few months now. For the most part the unit worked flawlessly and we used it (in rotation with the Tabelz SP135M) for shooting our videos for LensVid (as we have mentioned on the Tabelz SP135M review – we shoot almost all of our videos tethered using the really great – and free – DslrDashboard software).
For us the only real drawback was the absence of a accessory arm for our mouse (we hate the touchpad on the Yoga Pro 2). On the plus side the ability to change the angle of the laptop very simply with no need for an extra ballhead (like in the case of the Tabelz table) was really nice. We didn’t need the Spigot mount that much but if you do need it and also use a regular tripod from time to time – this is a very convenient all-in-one solution.
Made in the U.S.A
Since we didn’t have a chance to travel with the Axis 1 we can’t really comment on that experience too much (most of our videos are shot in one place – although this is changing – watch our upcoming Tamron 150-600mm review on that) but it is clear that the extra size of the mounting unit will make the table more difficult to carry in a conventional backpack along with the laptop itself.
So let’s some things up. The Axis 1 is very well made, it is certainly a professional tool made (mostly) for professional photographers. It’s biggest selling point in our view is the very unique mounting unit which allows for a lot of flexibility when using the table with different connectors (in a studio with light stands, C-Stands and tripods having this type of flexibility built in can be a real time saver.
The Axis 1 is not without it’s drawbacks. The mounting unit is thick and so not as easy to take with you if you are travelling a lot without a large bag. It has no accessories (correction – see update below), it also comes in only one size (15″) and the holes on the sides allowing you to connect a strap to your laptop – comes without a strap.
The bottom lip holding the lapotop
So at the end of the day what do we think? well, the way we see it it boils down to your personal needs. If you work primarily in your studio and you need a laptop table that can attach quickly to any type of mount and you don’t care about extras (i.e. mouse, external drive etc.), the Axis 1 is a really great choice (especially if you have a 15” MacBook Pro – although you should be fine with basically any laptop up to 15″). If you do use accessories and you travel a lot with your laptop and need something more mobile – check out the Tabelz (or possibly Tether Table).
As for pricing – the Axis 1 is priced pretty competitively – you can find it on Amazon for under $150 which is cheaper than both the Tabelz and Tether Table options (especially if you consider that they need a special unit to attach a light stand spigot – otherwise the Tabelz 15″ is about $10 cheaper).
What we liked
- Very good build quality (made in the U.S.).
- Truly ingenious mounting solution (fits all types of tripods/light stands with no extra adapters).
- Good ergonomics on the front lips (easy to open the laptop).
- Can double as a smart monitor holder (if you remove the table from the mount).
What we didn’t like so much
- The table does not come with straps for securing a laptop.
- The mounting unit can’t be disconnected easily.
- Only a 15″ model exist currently.
Update 2/21/2015: ClickSnap just informed us that they are adding 4 different optional accessories for the Axis 1. This is great news and it removes one of the biggest drawbacks of the Axis 1. Here is the list:
Here are two illustrations on how the new accessories will fit into the Axis 1:
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