Have you ever wished you could adjust the typing angle of the built-in keyboard on your MacBook? Instead of having to sit down to type on a flat keyboard and tilt your display way back, you could use something as streamlined as the Kickflip. Bluelounge has come out with an ingenious way of adding elegant flexibility to Mac users using an adhesive-backed flip-out kickstand it calls the Kickflip. When adhered to the bottom of either a 13-inch or a 15-inch MacBook Pro with or without a Retina display using a strong yet removable and reusable adhesive goodness, forms a foldaway stand, which puts your MacBook at an elevated typing and viewing angle much like the small flip-out legs behind most keyboards – only that this thing an overpowered version of that. Our full review is right around the corner!
Bluelounge's Kickflip isn't the first time someone tried to invent a way to prop up a laptop, but we do think that the Kickflip fixes a few problems both more expensive solutions like the Elago L3 and Just Mobile Aluminum Cooling Bar and inexpensive stands like the Designed By M Curb all have in common, which is separation. You either pay more for a stationary stand you'll use whenever you're back at home or in most cases pay a reasonable amount for something that is as portable as your MacBook, but then you're still left with another thing you have to worry about forgetting to take with you. The Kickflip works around these inconveniences by adapting itself to your machine using an adhesive and a low-profile, unobtrusive design so that it's always there when you need it, yet hidden away when you get up and go. It's a highly intuitive and functional add-on that achieves a simple task with very little effort and at a very reasonable price.
The Kickflip comes in minimal packaging as it should. It's presented with no user guide or any other extras. You'll receive a black colored Kickflip on a white foam tray with a 3-step infographic on the back of the packaging sleeve on how to get up and running. It'll run you $18 - $20, and there are two different sizes that fit the 13-inch or the 15-inch MacBook Pro (Retina and non-Retina models). The 13-inch size we are testing on a Retina MacBook Pro will technically work on a 13-inch MacBook Air too, but for whatever reason Bluelounge isn't advertising it. Either that or the company is taking its time to manufacture a version that would fit it perfectly. Having said that, you'll be glad to know that you'll still be able to use the Kickflip with protective accessories like hardshell cases and skins.
Installation is dead simple and easier than applying a screen protector on a smartphone. Peal off the clear film covering the sticky adhesive strip on the back of the Kickflip and line it right up near the bottom edge of the MacBook Pro making sure that it is centered between the two back feet. You might not noticed it, but the adhesive strip actually has a very subtle concave curve to it so that it fits the curved underside of the aluminum unibody casing along the edge. Great attention to detail that will yield a very reliable adhesive bonding of the material to the actual metal surface.
Before you panic about using something that has a strong adhesive and sticks to your precious beautifully made Mac, the Kickflip is using a special type of adhesive that will not leave behind any residue or signs of stickergate. Not only that but it can also be removed and re-applied countless times if you mess up or simply want to remove it all together. We put it to the test and it has indeed allowed us to easily remove it from the back of the MacBook Pro without leaving a single trace. It was still as sticky as it was on day one which enabled it to stick back again with no issue. And when the Kickflip is adhered, is stays firmly adhered in place until you want it off.
The Kickflip is a lightweight piece of relatively well made textured plastic joined together with a metal hinge which is spring-loaded to put tension on the stand blade that flips open and close in order to prop up the back side of the MacBook. Because of this the Kickflip can remain flat when it isn't used and secure when it is opened. And of course it's not going to scratch or damage the finish on your Mac during operation. So now that we've gotten that out of the way, how does the Kickflip actually work and perform is the next thing we're going to be talking about.
There's very little rubber material co-moulded into the Kickflip, but it is flawlessly done and you can hardly make out which parts are rubberized unless you feel them. The entire backside of the blade that flips open to form a kickstand is rubberized as it does come in contact with the underside of the MacBook Pro. Also, the whole bottom edge of that blade is made using the same rubberized material as oppose to the textured plastic construction of the Kickflip in order to provide traction when you're using your Mac on a desk.
Using the hinge mechanism on the Kickflip is a really straightforward process. All you need to do it put your finger underneath the edge and flip down the kickstand blade. It'll then assuringly snap into position. You can do this with both hands or just your finger, or even with your thumb if you're holding your MacBook upside down. There's really no right way of opening the Kickflip to a stand position as there aren't any indentations or tabs to definitively do so.
Once extended, the Kickflip will elevate your MacBook Pro by roughly 1.75-inches giving you a sufficient 20-degree angle to work with. Unfortunately there's only one elevation level to choose from so it's not super versatile, but we still think it'll still be enough to satisfy the majority of MacBook users.
The Kickflip serves its purpose flawlessly. When flipped out, the Kickflip's wide base is sturdy and stable as you'd expect when typing. It’s more comfortable to type and there’s less strain on the wrists while the screen sits at a higher level so you hunch less, thus you can argue that it's more ergonomic to use the Kickflip than nothing at all. But not everyone likes typing at such an elevated angle. It’s really subjective. Personally, I have gotten used to using my keyboards on both my portable MacBooks and in my desktop arrangement in a near-flat stance, and I found that to be sufficient but still lacking a boost of ergonomics.
With the Kickflip propping up my MacBook Pro and giving me a significant keyboard elevation while not only allowing air to circulate underneath the MacBook to cool it more effectively, but also enhancing the viewing height of the display. I can definitely say that the Kickflip does improve the user experience and comfort level to some degree, but it's not a drastic improvement by any means. And while you could use the Kickflip stand on your lap, it doesn’t contribute nearly as well as it does when you’re sitting at a table. But it will help keep your lap a bit cooler.
when it isn't in the kickstand position elevating your MacBook Pro, it still lifts the rear by as little as 5-6mm above the ground which is very negligible but still a noticeable difference as you can see above. That's enough to raise the rear above the contact point of the two rear feet that are there to provide grip. Despite the added thickness from the Kickflip, the design is still unobtrusively slim enough for you to be able to slip your MacBook Pro into a tight neoprene sleeve including specially formulated sleeves like the Case Logic Welded Sleeve.
The one and only noteworthy issue we found with the Kickflip is that it does lack more grip. Specifically when it is retracted and affixed flat against the bottom of the MacBook Pro. The surface isn't rubberized as it should have been and that does make the back side more prone to sliding because there is no traction by the two feet that would have otherwise made contact with the surface if it hasn't been for the slight bulge of the Kickflip. Though we're not too concerned about this since we think you'll be using the Kickflip whenever you open up your Mac. That being said, it should have been made using the same rubbery material that lines the bottom edge of the flip-out stand.
Kickflip is a unobtrusively designed foldable fixed stand for the Mac
To many the Bluelounge Kickflip will be an invaluable add-on accessory for the MacBook Pro, while to others it'll be seen as just another accessory they could comfortably live without. It really is the best ultra-portable and low-key solution for elevating your Mac to an arguably more comfortable typing and viewing position without having to carry any additional items. Even if you’re just looking to cool your MacBook Pro when using it in bed, the Kickflip will be more than helpful in doing so.
It's an awesome and ingenious addition to the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro if this is something you've been itching to find. Alas, the Kickflip still isn't perfect. It lacks height level adjustments as well as the same grippy material that keeps your Mac planted in place when it is elevated for when the Kickflip is flattened and not in use. But to be fair, the Kickflip does serve its minimalist and functional purpose amazingly well at a favorable price point. And for that reason we can recommend it.