Review: Hub International HandStand for iPad 2
Following the model released late last year for the original iPad, Hub International has released HandStand for iPad 2 ($50), a case made out of 100% recycled materials. As before, the company's goal was to make it easier to use the iPad while carrying it; HandStand accomplishes this by combining a shell for protection with a rotating hand strap. The result is partially successful, although not without its faults; only one of them was serious enough to preclude this case from receiving a higher rating.
Our review unit looked really good straight out of the package. The shell is composed of a semi-hardened rubber that’s more sturdy and structurally solid than most options made of silicone. Along both of the long edges there are ridges that provide a little bit of grip. Cutouts for the headphone port, Sleep/Wake button, rear camera, side switch and volume rocker, and Dock Connector are all centered with enough room as to not obscure them. The speaker has a series of ten vertical holes over it, providing some protection while not hindering the sound output at all. On the other hand, there were a couple of issues: first, inserting the iPad 2 into HandStand was somewhat difficult and took a few seconds longer than most other cases. Hub International has said that this will be resolved in a future revision of the product. Additionally, the iPad 2’s microphone is completely covered, an obvious omission that we will also need to be remedied in future iterations. No screen protection is included for the price, either.
Built into the rubber case is a 5” diameter hard plastic rotating disk; the underside that touches the back of the iPad 2 has soft padding to prevent scratching. An elastic hand strap runs the length of the disk, so most people will have no problem fitting four fingers underneath. Where the fingers rest, there’s a raised ridge that doubles as a grip and a stand when the iPad 2 is on a flat surface. Some people will find this more comfortable than others; for us it was fine. The disk rotates 360 degrees, which allows the tablet to be held in any orientation, with a ratchet system to hold it in place. In our testing, the spinning motion of the disk was smooth, and we liked that it stayed where we wanted it. HandStand’s elastic band was also tight enough to be secure, but not uncomfortable.
Almost everything about HandStand was satisfactory: the build quality is good with the exception of how difficult it is to insert the iPad 2, though covering the iPad 2’s mic is a pretty big mistake—one that certainly hurts the appeal of any case. Apart from these problems, we still see this as a pretty good solution for users who need a little extra help holding the iPad 2; it’s worthy of a limited recommendation in the current state.