In the summer of 2009, Julie issued a call for some female reviewers to add to her staff. I had been an avid reader of The Gadgeteer for years, and I decided I’d apply for a position. I wrote a review of the iBend stand for iPod/iPhone as my audition. I was thrilled when Julie decided to add me as a reviewer, and I’ve retained a fondness for that little plastic stand that helped me win a place here at The Gadgeteer. When the iPad was released earlier this year, I immediately thought that iBend should make a stand for it. After all, the original worked so well for the iPod, so it seemed that it would work for the iPad, too. I was glad when the folks at iBend announced the iBend XL for iPad. I was even happier when they sent me an iBend XL stand to review.
Some of the pictures in this review are clickable for an enlarged view, including the lead picture.
The iBend XL is made of a thin, rigid vinyl, just like its little brother. It is shaped rather like a moustache, and is available in white or black. The stands are branded with the name in transparent letters. According to the iBend website, the iBend XL is about as thick as 5 sheets of paper, or about 0.02 inches thick. It weighs 15 grams – about 0.53 ounces. The iBend XL is so thin and light, you’ll be able to carry it in any bag without even noticing it’s even there.
iBend has reduced the packaging waste with the iBend XL. Instead of the cardboard sleeves used for the original, the XL has no packaging. The XL is left in the 8.4”X10” sheet of plastic it is punched from; you simply pop the perforations to remove the iBend XL.
The original was designed to hold the iPhone/iPod touch only in the horizontal position. The iBend XL can hold the iPad in either the horizontal or vertical position. The XL has a much higher profile in the middle, so it offers support to the iPad in the vertical position. To use, simply pinch the “curly” ends of the XL towards each other and slide in the iPad.
When I saw the size of the cutouts, I was sure only a naked iPad would fit, so I took it out of its cover. In the horizontal position, the naked iPad is stable as a rock. I could wiggle and (lightly) bump the iPad without it tipping or falling. The website documentation says the stand will hold the iPad in most cases. I was a little concerned to try it, but it held the iPad in the Belkin Grip Vue case just as well as it did the naked iPad. Sweet!
I’ll admit I was a bit worried about trying the iPad in the vertical position, but I shouldn’t have been. Again, I tried both the naked iPad and the iPad in the Belkin case. Both times, the iPad was stable and secure in the vertical position – even when I wiggled and bumped it.
The viewing angles are not adjustable, but they are comfortable for viewing the screen. This case doesn’t hold the iPad in a low angle for comfortable typing using the on-screen keyboards, but it will work beautifully as a stand for the iPad when you are using a Bluetooth keyboard. It will also work as a charging stand (in the horizontal position) or as a bedside table stand if you use the iPad as your alarm clock.
Just as I expected, the iBend XL is a fantastic viewing stand for the iPad – no more paralyzed hands and arms from holding the iPad while watching videos. I wasn’t able to try the iBend XL on an airplane seatback tray, but the folks at iBend say that it’s perfect for use in trains and planes. Because of its tiny form, I can’t imagine the case or bag that doesn’t have room for the iBend XL. It’s small enough that you can just lay it on the screen and slide it into the bag along with the iPad. And at $9.99, you won’t find many iPad accessories cheaper than the iBend XL.
The folks at iBend were kind enough to send The Gadgeteer a few iBend XLs for our readers, too. Look for a contest starting after Thanksgiving for your chance to win one of your own!