Tablets are the new black this year. And that means that accessory makers are out in full force to bring us ways to integrate them into our lives. I was recently sent a brand new stand from just|mobile, the makers of such items as the Xtand, the Slide, and the AluPen for tablets, as well as a handful of sleekly designed, highly functional stands for laptops. This new stand fits well within the tradition. It is called the Encore.
Built on a circular loop base just less than 6″ in diameter and less than an inch in width, the Encore has a black rubberized tongue that extends from one edge of the loop for 4.5″. This piece is 1.75″ wide, and is stiffly adjustable. It will hold it’s place, even if you lift the whole thing by it.
On the opposite side of the base loop, there is a plastic extension from the base that extends about 3.5″ around the loop. While it’s less than a half inch tall, it’s just enough to secure an iPad or other tablet while it rests back against the long piece on the other side. The tablet will stay in position, yet easily adjust to any other angle, as far back as about 50° from the surface, which is fine for typing on the built-in keyboard for short sessions. It’s a bit high for extended keyboard work, however. (You’ll feel it in your wrists the following day!)
When using with a case, the issue of what to do with the cover became quite a problem. If you flap it over the back, it’s hard to get to the support arm for adjustment. If you fold the cover under, the front lip is not quite tall enough to hold it in place with some cases. With more protective cases (heavier, thicker), the stand falls back to maximum angle once it’s at about 60°, or if there is any tapping on the top half of the screen. In portrait mode, it’s even less stable. Also, in portrait mode, it’s fairly easy to tap and have the whole base start to topple over backwards, with or without a case. Even something as simple as tapping and holding to select and edit in a word processor was too much pressure for the friction arm. (I think it’s possibly the added weight of the case causing the mechanism to slip.)
I don’t know at this point how long the friction of the stand will work, as there is no visible way to tighten it. The channel that allows it to adjust ends at the back, so it won’t go further without dramatic (read iPad-damaging) force, but staying at the higher angles may get sloppy over time. Three stars.