Review: Kinetic Custom Machine Sonastand 5 for iPhone 5
We don't usually feature passive audio accessories, but Kinetic Custom Machine's American-made Sonastand 5 for iPhone 5 ($25) has some unique features that we liked. The accessory acts as both an iPhone stand and a way to boost the bottom speaker's volume. It ships in a cardboard cube, and comes with a black cloth carrying bag.
Sonastand 5 is machined from a single piece of aluminum, which contributes to a very solid feel; there’s no chance of breaking this one. Portions of it are smooth while other segments have a crosshatch texture, attributable to the machining process. It’s small, standing less than an inch and a half at its tallest point with a diameter a little under two inches. This makes it easy to take along with you while traveling.
One drawback to many similar stand accessories is their “one size fits all” approach—generally, they accept only unencased iPhones. Instead, Kinetic Custom Machine offers multiple versions of the stand, including separate options for no case, small, medium, and large—the sizing is decided by the thickness of your case. To choose which one is the best fit, you download an image from the company’s website, display it on the iPhone’s screen, and physically line up the case. While offering a single stand with resizing options would be ideal, this is a novel alternative method that ensures you get the right size for your current needs.
The stand holds an iPhone 5 in either portrait or landscape orientation, but is mainly designed to be used with the device on its side at one angle. We tested the medium size with Speck’s CandyShell Flip and found the hold to be just what was expected: the phone slid in and out with no resistance, and was totally sturdy. As for the audio enhancements, we noticed a small volume difference, and appreciated that the audio was redirected towards us, but ultimately neither was a monumental improvement.
For a quick and easy way to prop up your iPhone, Sonastand 5 is a good option. It’s an attractively crafted accessory, and the price isn’t too crazy. We also appreciate that Kinetic Custom Machine took a smart approach to accommodating iPhones in cases. If you’re looking for huge audio boosts, this isn’t the way to go, but for a simple holder, we generally recommend it.