Review: Cooler Master Ren Stand for iPad
Cooler Master knows how to work with metal, and one of its newest accessories proves this point conclusively. Ren Stand for iPad ($70) is an adjustable holder designed to be compatible with full-sized iPads, as well as the iPad mini. It enables any of the tablets to easily move through a variety of angles, in either portrait or landscape orientation, and folds for travel. LIke the company's Duo Stand and Dock for iPad and iPhone, this accessory is available only through Apple's retail and online stores.
Fully compacted, Ren is 8” long, 1.25” thick at its thickest point, and 2.5” wide. The core is a piece of aluminum, augmented with black rubber and plastic. It curves at the bottom to form a lip, which has an opening allowing for connector access. At the other end is an adjustable arm that clicks into heights designed to securely hold a bare iPad, or iPad mini; cases don’t fit. To unlock it, one simply presses down on the swirled metal button on the back of the stand.
Also on the back is the kickstand that actually props the tablet up. It folds against the body when not in use, and rotates in 90° increments. Thanks to the right amount of tension, it can support the iPad at pretty much any angle you’d want it, ranging from perpendicular to pretty flat. A rubber foot at the bottom prevents slippage. Two plastic mounting clips are included with Ren; they slide onto the bottom of the kickstand, and can be used to hang it from a desk or other flat surface.
While we like the way Ren looks, and the wide range of angles it supports, there are two major problems with it. First, there’s the lack of case support. Even thin shells don’t fit, as the curved arms are specifically curved to fit unprotected tablets. Then, there’s the high price. Consider Belkin’s FlipBlade Adjust, which was released almost two years ago and is still our highest rated iPad stand. For less than half the price, you get pretty much the same functionality, plus case compatibility, all in a smaller package. So while we like the aesthetics, and the core concepts behind Ren, it needs some tweaking to have broad appeal, earning it a limited recommendation.