Review: Joby Gorillamobile Yogi for iPad
With the debut of Apple's second-generation iPad just around the corner, we wanted to revisit a number of stands for the first-generation model to see which have come closest to getting a "right" formula for design, materials, and pricing. As is always the case, it's unclear as to whether these stands will be compatible with the revised shape and size of new iPad models, so our ratings are based solely on their suitability for use with the original iPad.
After fits and starts in the iPhone and iPod touch stand markets, Joby finally grabbed our attention with a brand new design for the iPad. Unlike the company’s past Gorillamobile products, which have relied upon thin and cheap-feeling shells, Yogi for iPad ($50) combines a bona-fide iPad case—one we’d actually use with the device—with a detachable rear stand that can be placed either in horizontal or vertical orientation. In so doing, the company came as close to a viable solution as has any iPad stand developer, though Yogi’s relatively late debut for the first-generation iPad will limit its appeal.
The stand uses the company’s signature ball joint design to provide two flexible legs that can be used to grab onto objects or just keep the iPad upright on a table, making up for the absence of Joby’s typical third arm by boosting the size and strength of the two that are here. Whether you stretch the legs fully outwards into lines, curve them into arcs, or bend them differentially, Yogi lets you create any sort of iPad viewing or typing angle you prefer with this stand, then just pull it off whenever you don’t need it. A gray lock button keeps it securely in place for as long as you desire.
What we liked most about Yogi is the glossy white plastic and matte gray rubber case, which borrows elements from Speck’s CandyShell series without outright ripping off the company’s iPad designs. The rubberized interior enables an iPad to be easily inserted or removed as necessary, with soft padding and device grip in all the right places. It’s solid, attractive, and only misses the opportunity to protect the iPad’s face; there are also modestly exposed slits on the back where the stand can be attached, conceivably providing room for an errant pen, key, or other item in a bag to scratch small portions of the iPad’s metal.
On the other hand, headphone port access is a little too restricted, with only a little more room than necessary to accommodate Apple’s tiny connectors; some third-party headphones may need more room. Dock Connector access is pretty nicely open—a better implementation from our perspective than CandyShell for the iPad, as no flap opening is necessary for charging, though official iPad Dock compatibility is compromised as a result. Additionally, we noticed that the iPad’s top microphone hole was obscured by the case as it was shipped, but this looked to be a small manufacturing issue—pushing just a little bit on the hole from the inside of the case outwards removed the thin plastic that was covering the mic.
Having seen virtually every major iPad stand option released over the past 11 months, we can say that Joby’s Gorillamobile Yogi is as close to truly great as any such accessory has come for the first-generation iPad; the case could bear to be a little more refined, but it offers most of the benefits of the really good CandyShell design while including a stand, resulting in considerably better value for the same price. We’re strongly hoping to see Joby build upon this design for not only the second-generation iPad, but also other iOS devices, as the company’s smaller stands would benefit equally from being paired with such nice cases at the right price.