Review: Belkin Chef Stand + Stylus for iPad + iPad 2
We have to give Belkin credit for recognizing and acting on the growing use of iPads in the kitchen. Since the tablet's introduction, it has quickly become a cooking mainstay, used for everything from displaying recipes to simply playing back content while cooking. To capitalize on this, the company has introduced three new products in the "Kitchen Accessories" category: Chef Stand + Stylus ($40), Kitchen Cabinet Mount ($50), and Fridge Mount for iPad 2 ($40). Each serves the same general purpose -- hold the tablet so you don't have to -- but goes about the task in a different way.
Chef Stand + Stylus is a simple solution, but very wisely thought out. This set is composed of three components, each a nice-looking combination of black rubber and chrome-colored plastic or metal: there’s an iPad/iPad 2 stand, a stylus, and a stylus holder. The stand has a large, round base to weigh it down, plus a simple lip that allows either of Apple’s tablets to be held safely in landscape or portrait orientation. Belkin’s design also allows for the use of iPads in cases, a feature that is very much appreciated. However, there is only one viewing angle, which is somewhat of a limitation.
Belkin’s stylus feels substantial, and has a few nice features that make it especially helpful in the kitchen. Both the shaft and tip are are covered in rubber, with the metallic end providing some heft. Like most capacitive styli, this one works just fine with the iPad’s multi-touch display. Beyond its ability to tap, swipe, and scroll on the screen, it has an extra trick: there’s a magnet in the tip that can be used to wake an iPad 2 when it is asleep. Simply swiping over the right side of the bezel triggers the magnetic sensor and turns the device on, which nicely enables you to avoid touching your iPad’s buttons with dirty fingers. The stylus doesn’t turn the iPad 2’s screen off, though, as that requires a constant magnetic connection.
The stylus holder is the simplest piece of the set. It’s a truncated cone, made of one piece of rubber, with a hole in the center that goes all the way through. The stylus’s tip fits right in, and the pen stands upright. Press photos show it hovering above the base like something you might find in a science museum gift shop, but unfortunately, those images only demonstrate that the matching stylus and base are actually separate pieces. The stand can fit inside the stand’s round base to keep the solution compact.
Importantly, all of the components can be hand-washed with warm, soapy water, which helps the Chef Stand and Stylus feel even more kitchen-safe than otherwise similar alternatives. Taken together, the pieces of this accessory set show that Belkin understands this specific market well. Each of the pieces are simple, but get the job done just as they’re supposed to. The fact that there are no iPad generation or case limitations is a big benefit as well. And, it looks nice to boot, all at a reasonable price. We highly recommend this solution if you depend on your iPad in the kitchen.