Review: Flote Desktop Stand for iPad
Flote's Desktop Stand ($220) is a heavy -- very heavy -- metal stand solution for use with any iPad. Consisting of a base, a long arm attached to a pole, and an adjustable cradle, it's a well-designed accessory, although its appeal is limited by the size and price. The wide range of possible angles and heights is quite nice, while offering functionality that's replicated by very many accessories.
Desktop Stand ships in three separate pieces, with some light assembly required to put them all together. First, there’s the heavy, round base, which has a hole running all the way through its center. Into that goes the pole attached to the adjustable arm. There’s some lubrication in the opening that helps the pole slide into place, with a screw at the bottom securing it. A Philips screwdriver is required for this step, but that’s the only tool needed. Finally, an extremely strong magnetic ball joint connects the tablet holder to the end of the arm. Don’t expect to disconnect those pieces; once the magnet is attached, it’s not coming off.
The stand, 18” at its tallest point, can be adjusted in a few different ways. Where the arm meets the post, there’s a dial to adjust the tension, allowing the counterweighted arm to move up and down or hold it in place. It can also extend out an extra 7”, thanks to a telescoping boom. Then there’s the ball joint, which allows for a wide array of positions for the iPad holder, including either landscape or portrait orientation. That’s one of Desktop Stand’s strengths: it can be positioned pretty much however you need it to be.
This cradle is made of two pieces of overlapping metal, curled with two padded fingers at either end, and a pair of springs using tension to keep them together. Flote says it has identified some issues with the cushions on its stands, and is sending out slide-on rubber tips to its customers, for free. They had not arrived at the time of our review, although we didn’t experience any issues with the pads that came standard. The cradle can expand to about 7” wide, meaning it can hold almost any iPad case. Full-sized iPads fit with the arms around their long edges, while minis are held the opposite way.
Desktop Stand isn’t for everyone, and because of its drawbacks, earns a limited recommendation. It’s a great looking accessory, and does exactly what it’s supposed to with ease. The physical size limits its appeal though, as does the price. It strikes us as more of an office solution than one for the home, although we’re sure some people would be happy to have it in either location. We’d be excited to see a smaller, less expensive variation, which would likely have a broader appeal.