FlexStand for Apple iPad 1 & 2 review

The M-Edge FlexStand for Apple iPad 1 & 2 is an ingenious device. At a little over 5 ounces, with wiry, bendable legs, the FlexStand provides a lightweight, portable stand for either generation of iPad that you can use to watch videos, surf the Web, or check email. The surprisingly durable unit has a modern, minimalist look and comes only in black.

You don’t need a manual to figure out how the FlexStand works. The stand features six bendable legs—four long legs ending with rubber "Flex Feet" and two shorter legs with round, rubber feet. The iPad fits neatly into the Flex Feet, which are designed to hold the tablet snugly and stably while protecting its delicate corners. The iPad slides easily in and out of the feet by just bending the feet toward or away from the corners, respectively. Once your tablet is anchored into the feet, just fan out the two shorter legs—these support the iPad and steady the unit in whatever position you choose. You can then adjust the overall unit so the iPad is in a comfortable position for viewing, typing, or swiping. A desk, countertop, table, or other solid surface is best.

You can view your iPad in landscape or portrait position. You switch between the two by lifting the iPad and stand off the table, rotating it, and setting it back down—adjusting the rear leg(s), if necessary. On your desk in portrait orientation, a single support leg can hold an iPad almost vertical with less than an inch of space between the desk and the tablet, but the stand is designed to stably hold your tablet between 30 and 60 degrees. In landscape orientation, the stand works similarly, except that both of the support legs are used, rather than one.

While you can adjust the horizontal position down to around 10 degrees, angles lower than 30 degrees are considerably less stable when typing and swiping on the iPad's screen. (The single leg in portrait orientation actually seems steadier than the two legs in landscape mode, though at anything greater than 30 degrees or so, both orientations are quite stable.) Overall, extreme angles are not optimal for the FlexStand, as the wiry legs bend only so much.

On the downside, the FlexStand is designed to be used only with a bare iPad—an encased iPad will not fit properly into the Flex Feet. (An iPad 2 with a very thin back covering may fit.) Also, in portrait orientation, there's not enough room at the bottom of the iPad to connect Apple's dock-connector cable. You'll need to flip the iPad upside down, with the dock-connector port at the top, if you want to charge or sync. (In horizontal orientation, the dock-connector port is always accessible.)

The FlexStand's pliable, steel legs can be manipulated into various angles for traveling: straighten them into a thin, foot-long package, or curl them up into a compact, 4-inch-by-4-inch ball that’s easy to throw into a book bag or suitcase.

OUR VERDICT

The FlexStand for iPad is a lightweight and flexible iPad stand that holds your tablet snugly but is easy to manipulate. If you don't use an iPad case, or if you don't mind removing it to use the stand, the FlexStand is a versatile, well-designed, and inexpensive product.

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