The PadPillow Lite Stand is the second variant of iPevo’s PadPillow comfortable iPad stand. The full-sized PadPillow, which remains available, has received more than 230 5-star reviews on the Amazon online retail store, and with good reason. I’ve been using a PadPillow for about eighteen months now, and it’s far and away the iPad support I prefer for on-lap typing. It’s light, comfortable, and large enough that it elevates the iPad from my lap to a more ergonomically-sound height and on-screen typing angle.
When I reviewed the full size PadPillow in 2012, I liked it, and gave it a positive review. Eighteen months later, I like it more than ever. Over the interval I’ve been using it, I’ve been doing more composition on the iPad, to a considerable degree thanks to the PadPillow which literally makes the difference between comfort and discomfort for lap typing. One of the iPad’s marquee advantages is its unencumbered portability, and one of the reasons I bought the iPad was in order to use it for more relaxed composition and editing activity than is possible when sitting at my office workstation.
However, the PadPillow is just a tad bulky and imposing for some user. While it’s very light, it’s simply too big for most of us to want to to pack along on the road, notwithstanding that iPevo suggests using it for its literal namesake function during travel. There’s also the matter of later iPads getting physically smaller, and the slew of other-brand 7-inch and 8-inch range tablet computers out there.
Hence PadPillow Lite—similar in design and function to the original PadPillow, but downsized to a degree that makes it reasonably easy to stow in a computer backpack or messenger bag. Nevertheless, iPevo maintains that the Lite model still works fine supporting older generation full-sized iPads, a point I wanted to check out in this review with my iPad 2. I’ve found that it does, although for use around the house I still prefer the full-sized PadPillow, whose ample proportions and full backing of the iPad 2′s display make it an exceptionally steady and stable support platform.
The larger stand also much more gracefully facilitates using an iPad on it without taking the tablet out of a folio-type case or sleeve by just flipping the folio cover panel over the top of the PadPillow, which also improves stability even further.
On the other hand, I suspect the PadPillow Lite will be particularly well-suited to the iPad Air, iPad mini, and many varieties of sub nine-inch Android tablet computers and ebook readers, something I hope I’ll be able to evaluate long-term hands-on in the near future when I upgrade/downsize to a mini or Air. For comparison you can see the two new PadPillow Lite models in the photo below, along with my well-worn PadPillow in the background.
Like the full-size model, PadPillow Lite is made from a high-density foam with a removable 100% cotton fabric cover, in this instance available in two colors only: Honeysuckle Pink and Charcoal Gray (the latter being the best PadPillow color choice of all to camouflage accreted grubbiness between washings).
Also like its larger sibling, PadPillow Lite may be used in two different configurations, depending on application, body position and preference. Folded together, the stand provides a steeper viewing angle for the device, but the stand can also be laid flat out for a lower viewing angle. In the folded together position, and with the smaller model, two embedded magnets sewn into the cover fabric to secure the unit in the closed (upright) configuration, which is a major feature improvement over the full size PadPillow I have. The magnets are visible in the open mode photo below.
PadPillow is a disarmingly simple concept in theory and a brilliant one in practice. Ergonomics are not the iPad’s long suit, especially for typing more than a paragraph or two. I’ve found that iPad portfolio cases with protective cover flaps that fold to form a wedge that tilts the iPad toward you help somewhat for lap typing, but the angle is still too shallow for comfortable screen viewing.
PadPillows are designed for use in bed, on the couch, carpet, lap, and other non-desk places where tablets and e-readers are used for comfortable extended sessions. Essentially a fitted cotton fabric bag stuffed with high-density foam shape forms, the PadPillow adds very little weight, and is soft and comfortable on your lap. The pillow is made in two triangular sections connected with a fabric hinge. If you fold the sections out to the extended position, it works well on the floor (at least if you’re young enough to be into floor computing) or as noted for desktop typing.
Folding the PadPillow’s sections together forms a more compact pillow support that’s great for on your lap, a sofa arm, or the chair next to you. In this position, a raised leather label acts as a simple stopper for the iPad.
With a customizable viewing angle and two configurations, the PadPillow can alleviate the back, neck, and arm fatigue that often comes with using a tablet or e-reader without proper support. In the extended configuration, PadPillow also provides space for a Bluetooth keyboard for emailing and more.
Also, while the PadPillow’s fabric cover can be removed from the internal foam shape and padding modules for laundering when it gets soiled (which it does; a reality that might factor into practical-minded users’ color choice), getting the foam out of the cover through a single zipper-closure aperture hidden under a flap at the back through which the inner foam can be removed is much easier said than done, and reinserting them after the cover is washed and dried even more so. It’s doable, but take your time to avoid damaging any if the PadPillow’s three component elements.
As for stability in use with larger iPads, my iPad 2 is fine on the PadPillow Lite in landscape configuration. It works in portrait mode as well, but if I used portrait mode a lot (which I don’t), I would be more comfortable with a full sized PadPillow, especially if typing on the upper half of the screen is involved. The iPad mini should be fine in either mode.
At 5.9 ounces (168g), PadPillow Lite is less than half as heavy as the original PadPillow (which is already very light at less than a pound). The Lite version measures 9.8″ x 4.3″ x 9.2″ (25 x 11 x 23.5cm), significantly more compact than the full-size PadPillow’s dimensions of 7.7″x 9.5″x 12.8″. As such, iPevo emphasizes PadPillow Lite’s travel-readiness and its featherlight weight. For example, the lite version is more suitable for in-car use.
PadPillow Lite sells for a very reasonable $16.95 (the full size PadPillow is $26.50), and is available now.
Buy the PadPillow Lite
Provides: Hands-free iPad support
Compatibility: iPad, iPad mini, similarly sized tablets
Availability: Out now