Review: Amzer Foldo Stand for iPad
While we wait for the ideal combination of an iPad case and stand -- something that we expect will materialize later this year after the release of the second-generation iPad -- we have continued to rely upon separate stand accessories for all of our tabletop iPad needs, and developers have continued to release new options in hopes of creating something truly great. Today, we're looking at five of the most noteworthy stands that have been released in recent weeks: Amzer's low-priced Foldo Stand ($17), Griffin's similarly affordable Tablet Stand ($30), Just Mobile's elegant portable Slide ($40) and desktop Encore ($60) stands, and the ultra-portable/novel Logiix Clipstand for iPad ($30). Each of the reviews is brief and separate, sharing only introductory comments. [Editor's Note, May 20, 2011: Amzer's Foldo is now being sold by a wide variety of OEM venders, including Arkon, which calls the same product the "Tablet Stand for iPad and Tablets."]
One point that needs to be made up front is that the ideal iPad stand has three characteristics that few prior-generation options properly address. First, we find it hard to broadly recommend stands that will work only for unencased, first-generation iPads; ideally, a stand can accommodate both protected and unprotected devices, as well as offering the potential to adjust a little for the anticipated and slightly smaller second-generation iPad. Second, the stand’s aesthetic design and novelty are important considerations for many users. And third, the price needs to be reasonable. Some decent stands are included for free with or built directly into cases. Others sell for over $100. Neither approach has merited our high recommendation for various reasons, the latter mostly because such a price is excessive in the absence of included electronic hardware or precious metals. Good stands start in the $20 range and can go up to $50 before the question of actual value for the dollar becomes tricky.
Amzer’s Foldo has no such issue with pricing, and there’s little question that it’s a very practical design, too: as the name suggests, Foldo is a collapsible stand that unfolds to provide complete support for an iPad on virtually any flat surface, offering a gentle recline that can be made dramatically steeper via adjustments to its double-hinged support arm. Foldo provides enough support to enable the iPad to be used as a video device on almost any angle, but doesn’t hold the iPad ideally for keyboard typing when the recline is significant.
Developer Amzer is unapologetic about the fact that Foldo isn’t the sexiest iPad stand out there: it was a deliberate design choice to optimize value for the dollar. The durable hard plastic construction, aided by tailored foam pads in most of the right places, enables the accessory to feel firm, accommodate bare or encased iPads, and work with non-iPad devices. It opens and closes with deliberate ratchets rather than gradual slides, and compacts down to a thick wand-like shape for travel, roughly seven inches long by one-inch by one-inch, only slightly wider at one end than the other.
Foldo is the low-price leader in iPad stands, and though it doesn’t accommodate iPad use on every possible angle, it’s hard to fault as a desktop or travel accessory when you consider that it costs as little as it does. If you’re looking for a video stand, and don’t need something beautiful, this should be at or near the top of your list; our hope is that Amzer will follow this up with a version that’s as beautiful as it is practical.