There seem to be no end of innovative stands for tablets and smartphones, and that’s just fine. It’s great to have such a wide choice from which to pick. I’m partial to comfortable (ie: soft but secure) supports for laptop typing and surfing or what have you. iPevo’s PadPillow is a good one, and so is Dockem’s new iProp. Soft padded contact services are more comfortable then stands made of hard materials, and offer a superior coefficient of traction, so to speak, to hold the iPad in situ more stably. Both products are easy on the tops of your legs, and hold the iPad in a much more comfortable orientation for typing or just viewing than having the device laying flat on your lap. Both stands are lightweight, but the iProp is more compact.
The iProp’s “bean bag” design (it’s actually stuffed with silicon microbeads—not beans) allows you to conveniently use your tablet hands-free nearly anywhere whether the surface it’s resting on is hard, soft, even, or irregular. The microbead base automatically and instantly re-contours to match the shape of the support surface. Use in bed is a prima facie example.
The iProp’s microbead filled base changes shape to form around your legs or any other surface you sit it on, and you can watch a movie or read on the tablet in bed hands-free without as much worry that your tablet will topple to the floor should you fall asleep or just change your position under the covers.
The flexible, yet stable iProp also can be instantly re-formed to an infinite range of angle orientations, and won’t fall over just because of finger gesture pressure on your tablet as many cases with built-in stands have a tendency to do. It’s not 100 percent assurance that your iDevice won’t get dropped, but it cuts the odds of that happening significantly. This makes the iProp an ideal stand for use when you’re not at a table or desk.
The outer enclosure skin is made of durable, breathable, and washable polyester mesh fabric with a silicone shelf attached to hold the iPad. The shelf is about the size of the palm of an average hand, can accommodate any iPad from the original to the Air (including the minis) as well as most other tablet computers, smartphones, and iPods. Plus, its high-traction rubbery texture helps ensure the tablet stays put by force of gravity alone, and also allows for instant removal from the stand with no clips or other mechanical fasteners to undo. The downside of this is that the device is held to the iProp only by gravity and contact with the silicon shelf. It’s so light and compact that it’s not much of a hardship to tote with you when mobile to use in laptop mode on transit trains or buses, in coffee shops or in waiting rooms, as well as on airline seat back trays. There is also a small silicon rubber patch sewn to the rear bottom surface of the unit which adds more traction, especially when it’s resting on hard services, to keep the assembly from slipping around when you access the touchscreen.
The support shelf is wide enough that it should be able to accommodate the iPad without taking it out of most portfolio-type cases. Just flip the case’s front closure flap up and back over the top of the iProp stand.
There is a zipper closure aperture in the enclosure so the inner containment bag for the micro-beads can be removed. The semirigid silicon “rubber” faceplate stiffener panel with the molded-in support shelf for the tablet is fastened to the enclosure bag’s front surface by four snaps, so it can also easily be removed with the machine-washable enclosure bag to allow for laundering the enclosure skin, and can serve as a limited internal storage/carriage compartment for your charge cable, earbuds, or other small items. There is also a handy carry handle sewn into the top of the enclosure.
The original Dockem prototype was a duct tape pouch created by company co-founder Chris Moyer when he needed a way to store his cellphone next to his bed in college. Lacking a bedside table, Moyer constructed a pouch out of tape and stuck it to the side of his dresser, but it left a mess to clean up when removed. Convinced there had to be a better way to safely store his phone within easy reach, Moyer developed the idea for his Dockem and Koala Mount wall mount products. Dockem is headquartered in East Stroudsburg, PA, and is run by co-founders and brothers, Chris and Colby Moyer.
The iProp is well-designed, highly functional, inexpensive, and well-constructed of quality materials. My main criticism is again that it’s arguably better suited to handling smaller tablets like the mini models than the larger iPad models like my iPad 2 and the 3rd and 4th generation Retina models. Although, to be fair, I didn’t encounter any instability issues even in portrait orientation, although it felt more reassuring in landscape orientation. However, the iPad 2 significantly outweighs the iProp. Those silicon microbeads are really light, and the entire unit (sans iPad) weighs less than half a pound. If Apple actually does release a 12.9-inch iPad Pro as rumored, the Moyers will need to give some thought to releasing a scaled-up iProp version.
Buy the iProp
Provides: Hands-free soft iPad support
Compatibility: iPad, iPad mini and other tablets and eReaders
Availability: Out now