One of the factors I’ve loved about iOS devices has been the wealth of accessories available. While I have an admitted weakness for all things clever, when it comes to my accessories I’ll typically default to something utilitarian over flashy, multipurpose over single purpose.
My friends at Arkon have long been a reliable maker of accessories that fit this description perfectly. I’ve had the pleasure to evaluate a number of products from their expansive catalog, and have yet to be disappointed with anything they manufacture. From the PIP Boy-like Forearm Holder to to their innovative Smartphone Tripod, Arkon has produced one well-engineered product after another.
Their latest offerings make the point of showing that smartphones aren’t all they have on their minds. Not one but two new universal tablet stands have been shared with me; the 10″ Table Stand and the 4′ Extending Floor Stand, both sporting a quick-release universal tablet mount. The two tablet stands are almost identical, the only real difference is their height and size of the base.
I assembled the table mount in less than a full minute with no tools. The mount is as utilitarian as it’s name; its aluminum and industrial-grade black plastic construction aren’t going to win any beauty contests, but they are made for performance over appearance. As described earlier, the mounting assembly is designed for quick placement and release of your tablet. The bottom of the mount sports two reposition-able “fingers”, the top a single lockable clasp; both lined with soft foam to hold your tablet securely. A small tab on the side of the clamp body releases the top of the clasp, freeing your tablet in an instant.
The mount mechanism sits atop the stand via an articulating ball joint and a locking hinge, providing a wide range of viewing positions. The base of the stand is a weighty metal V with felt coating the underside to prevent it from scratching or scuffing the surface it is placed on. The construction and mass of the base afford surprisingly secure footing for the stand; during testing it never moved, even during iMessage text typing.
The larger podium-like 4′ floor mount has a wider, heavier base but is just as stable. It took slightly longer to assemble, but was still a simple affair. As with its smaller sibling the floor stand was easy to position for use, and the mounting assembly is identical.
As mentioned before, these aren’t accessories you buy to compliment the sleek, stylish appearance of your tablet (although they are by no means ugly). These are well-made, sturdy stands that allow you to get more out of your iPad (or other tablet if you are so inclined). The desk stand worked perfectly in my office, keeping my iPad’s screen at the same level as my iMac‘s, and in the kitchen when using one of my many cooking apps. The taller stand would be perfect for lectures or presentations, especially if paired to something like an Apple TV that would allow wireless screen mirroring. I used mine in the living room, placing it alongside the arm of my couch so that I could use my iPad as a second screen device while watching football this past weekend (the stand is adjustable to heights from 2′ to 4′). Having your iPad held hands-free at the perfect height is something that you don’t value until you are afforded it, but consider me won over. The iPad may be light, but having it readily available hands-free was a boon. Both of these stands have proven useful in everyday tasks, not just specialized ones.
The stands are available now via Arkon’s website; the 10″ tabletop version lists for $39.95 and the 4′ floor version for $89.95.