Review: Rokform Rokstand V.1 Desktop Stand
Similar in the basics to JaDu's Skadoosh for iPads, Rokform's anodized aluminum Rokstand V.1 Desktop Stand ($169) is nonetheless a very different beast thanks to an aggressive design: it resembles a jet's acceleration control grip more than an iPhone or iPad accessory. Does it do the job? Absolutely -- it's hard for a stand to not be a stand. But is it worth a princely sum? That's the question. Rokform's charging so much that it can afford to include a $5 Starbucks gift card with each stand as a "thank you" for the purchase.
Using small rings of rubber as padding for both the desk and the back of the iPhone or iPad, Rokstand has a unique multi-position tilt adjustment lever on its right side, capable of moving the Apple device through five positions and three obviously different degrees of tilt; it offers a very satisfying click as each ridge locks into place. Both the bar that supports the device and the one at the back that sits on the desk are shaped such that you can’t resist wrapping your fingers around them. It’s very mechanical looking, and very cool. Two wrenches are included if you need to play with the steel and aluminum screws, which Rokform notes will provide access for replacement of the existing parts with custom color optioned versions when they become available.
Although it works with iPads, Rokstand was clearly designed with the iPhone 4 in mind, and specifically the company’s Rokbed case. A small recession in the metal serves as a place for the phone to rest. There are three passthroughs in the bottom: one each for the speaker, microphone, and Dock Connector port. We really like how the Dock Connector opening was implemented. It’s perfectly shaped to fit the cable that comes with all of Apple’s current devices, with a cutout on the back to string the cord through. When the iPhone 4 is inserted, it fits precisely on the device’s bottom, a nice way to charge and sync the device even when it is in a case. Due to their width, iPads rest on the raised ledge immediately above where the iPhone 4 would sit, and fit with or without a case. Although this stand wouldn’t make a good solution for typing, it works well for viewing in both landscape and portrait orientations.
Let there be no doubt: Rokstand is cool. It looks and feels awesome, and it works well as a stand, especially for an iPhone 4 inside a Rokbed case. But the price is a major problem. Few people are going to be willing to pay $169 for a stand—people scoff at even the $29 asking prices of Apple’s iPhone 4 and iPad 2 Docks, which do more electronically than Rokstand. What Rokform has achieved is a unique design at a prohibitively high price; the primary reason we offer only a limited recommendation and B- rating. More than any other stand we’ve seen, Rokstand is a niche product for the very few people who will be willing to shell out cash for something distinctive, yet capable of being replicated or improved upon in functionality for far less.