One of the things—probably the most important thing—I love about the iPad is that you can use it pretty much anywhere. I love my Macs too, but I mostly prefer to work sitting in an easy chair or rocker, on a comfortable couch, or laying back on a bed, as opposed to sitting in a task chair at my office workstation. It’s the “computing anywhere” attribute that really made me an iPad devotee.
I use mostly iPevo PadPillow stands—full-size or Lite—to support the device hands-free at a comfortable orientation when seated, and an iProp “beanbag” type for in-bed or resting the tablet upright on other uneven surfaces.
However, a different iPad support solution that will also work in a wide variety of venues is the new Tablift stand, especially suited to use when in (or on) a bed or on the couch reading, watching videos, or viewing recipes in the kitchen or instructions in a workshop, and so forth, in hands-dirty or messy mode.
Unlike the PadPillows and iProp, Tablift does not rest on your lap or legs or oblige you to cast your eyes downward to view the screen, although the lap is a better compromise for typing anything beyond extreme short form.
The Tablift is designed to hold your iPad in a stable and optimal viewing orientation regardless of any unevenness of the surface you are resting on. The stand’s patent pending design uses four independently adjustable “gooseneck” type legs that allow it to stand level and stable on virtually any cushioned surface, and with a relatively low center of gravity that resists tipping over. The legs can be coiled up and bunched together to make the unit more compact for storage or packing along when you go mobile, although it’s still somewhat heavy and bulky as a take-along, and is at its best in home settings
The slotted iPad mounting base is constructed from high-impact ABS plastic with a matte finish, while the legs are made of a double re-enforced metal spring core, coated with a matching matte polyolefin finish.
The tablift, created by Scott Blevinsow, is manufactured and assembled in the USA using parts sourced domestically. It comes packed in a colorful box, with the illustrated assembly and configuration instructions handily printed on the closure flap. Actually, the setup is so intuitively simple that most folks won’t need a lot of instruction.
Mounting the iPad in the Tablift is quick and easy. Select the desired angle orientation slot, insert the iPad, and fasten it in place using the bungee cord attached hook; simple and virtually instantaneous. Demounting it is even easier, and when in place the iPad is very secure; you can even hold the rig upside down and shake it.
Adjusting the legs will depend on variables of support surface, but is also quick and easy. just bend the legs to whatever shape yields the desired support to suit specific circumstances.
The tablift folks tell me the three most common questions they get asked are:
- “Can you use tablift with a case?” The answer in most instances is “no,” since cases can add bulk to a tablet, making it too fat to slide into the Tablift. However, thin or shell-type cases like the Mummy Case I use with my iPad 2, work just fine.
- As for tippiness, instability with the tablift is usually caused by insufficient leg separation. While in photos the TabLift looks like it might indeed be a bit tippy, I didn’t find it so in practice, even with the leg stance set less than a foot apart front to back. My iPad 2, which is middle-of-the-road for iPads weight-wise, exhibited no tendency to overbalance the stand, and I wouldn’t anticipate that even the heaviest (so far) iPad models—the generation 3 and 4 machines—would be any problem either.
- Queries about what tablets the tablift works with, are pretty easy to answer, since virtually any iPad, iPad mini, Android tablet (eg:
Samsung Galaxy, Google Nexus), Amazon Kindle Fire, Windows tablet (eg: Microsoft Surface 2), HP WebOS, etc., indeed any tablet with an edge that will fit within the 10mm wide slots will work just fine.
Tablift is impressively well-finished, and appears to be made using high quality materials and to high standards of craftsmanship.
In the not so cool department, as I alluded to briefly above, the Tablift is an excellent solution for hands-free viewing, but it’s less successful as a typing support. It’s solid and steady enough, but while the leaning-toward-you position is the nearside slot, and bolt upright the middle one, the canted backwards slot, logically the rearmost of the three, unfortunately positions the iPad screen some two and a half inches inset from the facing edge of the device mounting base, with the two empty slots constituting a formidable obstacle to comfortable typing and cursor manipulation. Note the ergonomically horrific wrist angle in the shot at right.
Leaned back mode is also the ideal orientation for the iPad when in use while sitting in a chair, on a sofa, or even on the floor.
Consequently, I’ll give tablift a 4 out of 5 rating for use as mainly a hands-free viewing support platform for iPad. However due to the poor ergonomics, I can only give it a 2 out of 5 as a typing platform.
Buy the Tablift
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