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The iPad is different things to different people. For some, it’s mostly a reading machine--books, magazines, blogs, and news sites. Others are using it as a partial laptop replacement, adding in a Bluetooth keyboard and using it for work-related tasks. If your iPad spends most of its time in your lap, a dedicated stand might not seem important, but if you’re putting in a lot of keyboard time, a stand is a worthy investment. Let’s look at three of the best options.
The H4 rotates and flips your iPad for ultimate flexibility.
Taking its styling cues from the iMac, Luxa2’s H4 offers an aluminum base with a rotatable arm to hold your iPad. Six rubber nubs support your device around three sides, plus the back rest is covered in a grippy rubber to keep your iPad in place. The supports are adjustable, making the H4 good for use with a Kindle DX or another similar device. The hinge allows for 360-degree rotation, and it can also flip vertically so that you can quickly show the iPad’s screen to someone sitting on the opposite side of a table. Our only real concern is that--since the iPad is supported on only three edges--all that spinning and flipping could let your iPad slip out the unsupported side of the stand (in our testing, it started to slide out before we intervened). And while the hinge allows for easy changes in orientation, it’s a bit “soft,” so our iPad never sat exactly straight in portrait or landscape, and it didn’t offer enough resistance to let us tap the Home button without moving the iPad.
The BookArc is simple, sleek, and solid.
Twelvesouth’s BookArc for iPad takes a completely different approach. Its curved aluminum base and rubber sleeve are all you need to keep your iPad upright. Since there are no complicated arms or hinges, the BookArc can be easily slipped in a bag for travel. The 22.4 oz. BookArc is a tad heavy, but it’s got enough heft to make it feel sturdy on your desk, even when gaming on your iPad. The reversible sleeve can hold your iPad vertically upright or at more of an angle that’s better for close-up viewing. There’s even a second rubber sleeve that’s sized to accommodate an iPad in a shell-style case, which is a nice option. BookArc solidly holds your iPad in either portrait or landscape, and it looks gorgeous doing it, too.
Incase's Convertible Book Jacket does double duty.
If you’re interested in a stand/case combo, Incase’s Convertible Book Jacket might be just the ticket. It’s a more robust alternative to Apple’s mediocre iPad case, and it flips out to offer three different viewing-angle options. We like how the Book Jacket can do double duty as both a protective case and a stand for our iPad, but if space in your bag is at a premium, it might be a tad too bulky for daily use. If your iPad is perfectly seated in the case, cutouts leave all the buttons and ports easily accessible, but the iPad tends to shift slightly with normal use, and we were constantly tucking it back in just the right spot to be able to use the volume and orientation lock buttons.
Which stand you buy is going to depend largely on how you plan to use your iPad. For its sturdiness and portability, we like the BookArc best, but both the Incase and Luxa2 stands have useful, redeeming qualities.
BookArc for iPad
Compact and sturdy. Comes with a second sleeve that fits some shell-style iPad cases. Supports portrait or landscape orientation.
Even when used in “work mode,” the iPad isn’t angled back all that much.
REQUIREMENTS: iPad or Amazon Kindle DX
360-degree rotation, plus vertical flip. Works with iPad, Kindle DX, or other similarly sized devices.
Only supports your device on three sides, so it could fall out if you’re not careful how you rotate it. Easily rotatable hinge makes it difficult to keep iPad totally straight in either orientation.
Convertible Book Jacket
Doubles as a flip case. Three different viewing angles.
As a case, it’s bulky and heavy. iPad tends to slide around, leading to misalignment with button cutouts.