As I’m sure you’ve noticed, there are a large variety of iPad stands on the market. There are metal stands, wood stands, plastic stands, and cases that convert into stands. Green Figure makes the iHolder stand, which allows you to convert your iPad into a tiny iMac twin. Pyramid Distribution offered to send an iHolder to The Gadgeteer, and Julie picked me to review it. (Julie is always nice enough to feed my cases and covers addiction!) Let’s give it a look.
The Green Figure iHolder consists of two separate pieces. The base is made of a lightweight, aircraft-grade anodized aluminum. The base has a brushed texture that Pyramid documentation says is scratch-resistant. It will certainly camouflage light surface scratches. The base has a large hole in the back and a couple of notches at about mid-height. This hole lets you feed your charging cable through, and the two notches could serve as a cord-corral to wind extra cable around for a neat appearance. There’s also a foamy pad on the bottom to protect your tabletop.
There are two tabs with holes at the top of the stand. These holes serve as the attachment point for the iPad holder. A piece of plastic with three dimples has been attached between these mounting holes. The dimples allow for adjusting the angle of the iPad in the iHolder. This piece of plastic seems to be the same material used for the iPad holder.
The part of the stand that holds the iPad itself is made of a light-gray polycarbonate plastic. There are tabs on the sides that grip the iPad very securely.
These tabs wrap over the side and clip over the very edge of the top of the metal bezel around the screen. These tabs leave the screen lock and the volume rockers completely free for easy use. These tabs grip so tightly that it’s a bit hard to get the iPad back out. The iPad holder is so thin and flexible, that I was worried that the tabs or the holder itself would break while I was removing the iPad. I shouldn’t have worried. Although it is thin, the polycarbonate seems very sturdy.
The holder also has tabs at the top and bottom of the iPad. They do not wrap around to the front of the iPad. They are designed to keep the iPad securely in place without blocking access to ports and controls. The power/standby button and the headphone jack and microphone are completely free on top.
The speaker ports and the docking connector are completely open and usable on the bottom of the iPad.
The iPad holder fits very closely. There is no chance that you can use this stand while the iPad is in any other cover. Perhaps one of those sticker-type skins would work with the iHolder, but I would be afraid the edges of such a skin would be pulled free while I was removing the iPad from the iHolder.
The iPad holder has a large t-shaped metal connector on the back which will probably prevent you from using the polycarbonate holder as your daily iPad cover. The above picture shows the metal connector has something that looks like a ball bearing at the top. This ball seats into the dimples in the plastic connector to keep your iPad tilted to your preferred viewing angle.
The two screws on the sides of the metal connector fit into the holes in the two metal tabs on the aluminum base. I thought I’d be able to loosen the screws and adjust the tilt angle, but that isn’t accomplished very easily. I wasn’t able to adjust it at all with my iPad in the holder. I needed to put my fingers through the cut-outs on the back of the holder to get a good grip to use enough pressure to move the connector into another angle. I found I could best adjust the angle by completely removing those side screws, adjusting the angle, then reattaching the screws.
I really don’t think I would need to adjust the angle very often, anyway. I’d just chose the position that worked best for me and leave it at that angle. Unless I was using the stand on a very low table, I can’t imagine needing the angle with the screen held toward the ceiling.
You can easily rotate the iPad into four orientations. You can have it in portrait mode, with the docking connector up or down. You can have it in the landscape mode with the docking connector to the left or right. It’s very easy to change the orientation by just turning the holder, even with the iPad in place. Because the docking connector is accessible, you can charge the iPad or use any of the other Apple connector accessories while the iPad is in any of the four orientations.
You can see in the picture with the Apple Bluetooth keyboard, the iPad in the iHolder does resemble the iMac. It looks really nice, and I found it worked well for me as a desk stand. I was able to enter several pages of information that I had put off entering into my iPad because I didn’t want to have to use the virtual keyboard to enter all those hundreds of words and numbers.
However, I think the iHolder is going to work best as a stand you use on your desk or your worktable. Unless you use a rolling suitcase as your gear bag, you’ll probably not be able to fit this into your travel equipment. The metal stand is large, and it doesn’t fold up for easy storage. It’s about 7.75” tall X 3.5” wide X 4.4” deep. When you add the polycarbonate holder, it can be as much as 9.5” wide or as much as 11.5” tall. That certainly won’t fit in my laptop case or my Timbuk2 FreeStyle Netbook Messenger.
So, if you want a really cool looking desk stand for watching movies or working on your iPad, and if you use your iPad naked or in a case from which it can be easily removed, you can’t go wrong with the Green Figure iHolder stand. It’s stable, and so adjustable that most everyone can find a comfortable orientation for their iPad.