Octa TabletTail Vacuum Dock and WhaleTail Kit for tablets and eReaders review

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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.

Click any image to view an enlarged size.

octa-vacuum-dock-and-whale-tail-2The 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.

octa-vacuum-dock-and-whale-tail-3The round disk with the spiral design removes to expose the attachment point for the WhaleTail.

octa-vacuum-dock-and-whale-tail-4This 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.

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octa-vacuum-dock-and-whale-tail-6This 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.

octa-vacuum-dock-and-whale-tail-7Here’s the connector.  After you seat the circular base into the Dock, twist to lock the stand into place.

octa-vacuum-dock-and-whale-tail-8Here’s the assembled stand, ready to be attached to my iPad.

octa-vacuum-dock-and-whale-tail-10I 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.

octa-vacuum-dock-and-whale-tail-11You can attach the WhaleTail and Dock to a variety of locations on the back of the tablet.  You can support the tablet vertically…

octa-vacuum-dock-and-whale-tail-12or horizontally.  You can adjust the tail to adjust the angle.

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.

octa-vacuum-dock-and-whale-tail-14This 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.

octa-vacuum-dock-and-whale-tail-13The 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!

 

Product Information

Price:$49.99
Manufacturer:Octa
Retailer:Octa
Pros:
  • Can be used with most tablets and eReaders
  • Can be used with many device skins and covers, so long as they have a smooth, non-porous surface
  • Can be used to support the tablet in a variety of positions and orientations
Cons:
  • Stows away less compactly than some other universal tablet stands
Posted in: Gear, Reviews, Tablets, Ultra Portables

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