Being the gadget freak I am, I have a nice ultra-portable laptop, as well as my iPad. Obviously during the 'honeymoon period' the laptop never got touched and even now, is rarely brought out when I'm doing a spot of surfing from the comfort of my sofa. However, it has started making a return elsewhere. For example, my favorite place to surf in the house is probably at the breakfast bar in the kitchen, and here the laptop has made a comeback, simply because the screen sits at a more comfortable angle all by itself! Going back to the laptop as a quick surfing machine has been something of a frustration, I'm fed up with waiting for it to boot up when I just want a quick look at something whilst the kettle is boiling, or when I want to watch some television. Clearly it was time for the ipad to reclaim the kitchen with its instant access to Safari web browsing and tvcatchup.com!
So the ipad needs a stand and, as some of my friends think I must have more money than sense buying an ipad, I decided to see what 'designer' stands were out there to complement all the gadgetry shining away on my kitchen surfaces!
Back in April, ipad-review.co.uk drew the world's attention to the 'Joule' ipad stand. A beautifully crafted solid aluminium stand available in a high polish or black anodized form, it not only looks the business, it is also highly practical and compliments the ipad very nicely indeed. But look at the price, $129. Definitely a little over budget for me.
So as a gadget magpie, I know I'm drawn to beautiful gear, but it must perform its function well. My favorite desktop stand must be the one reviewed over at justanotheripadblog called the 'Bookarc' ipad stand made by 'TwelveSouth'. PatrickJ's review pretty much raves about it and it's mentioned in several other posts - so the effect hasn't worn off. The sensible pricing means the value is there, but it's lacking one function that I really want to have and that's portability. I want something that I can stick in my (admittedly quite big) bag and whip out whenever I need it.
As Twelvesouth had really worked in some nice design for a good price with the BookArc, the next move was to see what else they had come up with and it turns out this company is no one trick pony:
TwelveSouth's compass is a foldaway stand which can not only be used to place the ipad in the vertical position (as shown), but also horizontally for movie watching or photo slideshows. The back leg can be adjusted to any angle, which allows you to have the ipad only slightly raised for (more) comfortable typing. It's versatile, it's well engineered, its . . . ah, expensive. At least here in the UK, where it's only available via importers you're looking at £50-£60. I must admit, even at this high price point I did hover over the 'buy' button more than once because it's such a great idea, but then I saw (under 'People also bought' on Amazon) this:
This stand is a total copy of the compass, but at around the £10-£12 mark, it's totally affordable. Cheap even. So I figured if I was almost prepared to spend £60 on the compass, it was worth spending £10 on the generic one just to see and I'm glad I did, as I'm very pleased with it.
The silver that you can see in the picture is metal and the round section is a button which you press to set the angle of the stand. the legs have rubberised 'feet' poking out that the ipad can rest on. The whole thing has a nice solid feel to it and I'm confident of the build quality. One limitation is that the ipad didn't fit well in the vertical position, but is an excellent fit horizontally. The legs actually extend further than in the photo, so you can raise it up tall and like the Compass, any comfortable angle is possible.
The stand feels well made, it's chunky but portable and comes with a nice velvet case to protect it and other items when you shove it in a bag. In short, it's an excellent purchase if you want a portable stand and hey, maybe it leaves some money in the bank to buy that bookarc too!
Photos taken from product pages. Please don't sue me, I said nice things! :-)
Featured image from sometoast's Flickr stream