When I first saw the Octa stand last year, I thought it was cute and whimsical. Many gadget accessories are very serious and seem to be designed to fit into the most sedate business environment. When designers do decide to mix it up, it’s often just to offer a brighter color in the same overall design. The folks at Octa aren’t afraid of cute, and they came up with a whale of a cute tablet stand. The Octa TabletTail: WhaleTail works like a champ while being as cute as it can be. The whale tail design doesn’t mean that you won’t also be able to use it in a work environment, though.
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The heart of the system is this rounded Vacuum Dock. You pump the large silver button on the side to pull a vacuum so the Dock adheres to any non-porous surface, such as the back of most tablets and eBook readers. It should work with most skins and some covers, too. Octa says to use five pumps for a secure attachment. They also recommend giving it a couple of pumps periodically as you use the Dock on your tablet or other device to maintain a tight seal.
The Dock measures about 2″ tall X about 3.5″ wide at the base or 4″ wide when you include the vacuum pump button. Fully extended, the WhaleTail is about 3.75″ tall. The entire assembly will weigh about 6.4 ounces in your gear bag.
This suction cup on the bottom of the Dock has a spiral design of circular indentions. Octa says the Dock has a “dual-chamber vacuum suction system” that creates an “unbelievably secure connection.” The two little tabs, seen at 12 and 6 o’clock, are lifted to break the vacuum seal when you want to remove the Dock.
This little tail is the stand for the Dock. The fluke is branded with the Octa name. The circular base holds the attachment point for connecting the WhaleTail to the Dock. You’ll notice a dot on the top of the circular base (see upper picture) that you line up with a dot on the Dock as you attach it.
I laid the assembled stand on the back of my iPad and gave it five pumps to create a seal. You can see that the pump button remained retracted once I got a good seal. The connection is strong enough that I can dangle the iPad from the stand. The rounded Dock fits nicely in the palm of my hand. You can use the Octa WhaleTail as a hand grip for the tablet. You can even bend the tail snugly against your hand for a little extra security.
Just a note: I tried attaching the dock to my iPad mini in its KHOMO Super Slim case. The permanently-attached front smart cover gets in the way of using the WhaleTail with the iPad mini, but the Dock very securely attached to the back of the KHOMO cover. It would work great with a snap-on back cover – but I’d want to be sure the back cover held tightly to the iPad or iPad mini before I dangled it from my hand.
This image from the Octa site shows some of the ways you can support your tablet. You’ll notice the final image shows the Dock being used without the tail. It can roll if you touch the tablet’s upper corners, but the rounded Dock alone can be used as a typing stand for the on-screen keyboard. I found the Octa WhaleTail kit makes a sturdy stand for supporting my iPad on a table, sofa, or mattress. One picture at Octa even shows a man balancing a tablet on his knee using the TabletTail kit.
The Octa kit comes with two little booklets that explain how and where you should attach the Dock to the tablet and the WhaleTail to the Dock. It also comes with a drawstring bag to store your Octa TabletTail kit when you aren’t using it. The bag can also be used to clean your tablet screen.
The Vacuum Dock is supposed to be compatible with other tails, but Octa’s site doesn’t offer any other tails. They are currently seeking funding at Kickstarter for a MonkeyTail kit with the Vacuum Dock, but the Kickstart campaign isn’t showing that you can pledge for just the tail attachment for those of us who already have the Vacuum Dock.
I loved the looks of the Octa TabletTail stand when I first saw it early last year, and I still think it’s a cute and fun accessory. After using it, I realize it’s also a very useful accessory. It holds my iPad (or any other tablet) in just about any position I can think of. You can attach it most anywhere on the flat portion of the back of a tablet. Of course, a small tablet, like my iPad mini, has less real estate to serve as attachment points, so you may have fewer stand options with a small tablet. You’ll find it’s a very useful stand for your tablet or eBook reader, regardless of the device’s size. Although it’s not as small and doesn’t fold up as compactly as some tablet stands, the extra versatility more than compensates for the slightly bigger package you have to stow in your gear bag. I think it’s sedate enough that you could use it in all but the most staid business environments, and it will certainly be a conversation starter!