Review: Newer Technology NuGuard GripStand + GripBase for iPad + iPad 2
Newer Technology's NuGuard GripStand for the first-generation iPad ($30) and GripBase ($20) were pretty late to the party; they were announced more than a month after the launch of the iPad 2. We were rather impressed by the original model, and were looking forward to the updated version for the new tablet. Although it took a few months, it has finally arrived. NuGuard GripStand for iPad 2 ($30) is a noteworthy entry into the case market, and when combined with GripBase, is really something special. Bundles with the stand are available for both generations, priced at $40 each. Included with the second-generation model is a Velcro and nylon strap for attaching the case to a carseat's headrest.
The original GripStand is similar to many of the shell-style cases that we have seen, but it is certainly much thicker. Lining the inside is a soft, perforated rubber, while the back is hard plastic—the plastic is available in either black or white. The rubber continues around to the four corners of the back in tear-drop shapes. GripStand doesn’t cover the front of the iPad at all, but when the case is attached, it does protect all of the back and the four edges. There are well-sized openings for the headphone port and microphone, Sleep/Wake button, side switch and volume rocker, speaker, and Dock Connector port.
GripStand for iPad 2 is definitely similar to the first model, but the tablet’s revised shape and features necessitated some design tweaks. It takes a little more force to get the rubber to grasp on to the almost nonexistent-edges of the tablet and hold it in place. Gone are the tear-drop shaped rubber corners. They’re replaced by four small rubber circles in a bit from the sides. There are still openings for all of the inputs and outputs, as well as an additional one: along the left side there is a long slot that makes the case compatible with Apple’s iPad Smart Cover. While it is a nice touch for those who use the lid, we would like the option of not having that opening.
On the back of both cases there is a 2.5” diameter opening that exposes the Apple logo. Usually we frown upon cases that do this, however this is a bit different. That hole is used to attach the included handle/stand. It snaps right in and can rotate all the way around, with locks each quarter-turn. From there, a round arm extends out. It can be used to carry the tablet, but also to stand it up in a variety of angles. When not in use, it folds flush against the plastic back, and can be removed if desired.
GripBase is interchangeable between the two models; it attaches to and works exactly the same way with each. It’s shipped in two pieces: the first is a 7” diameter weighted base. Its dimensions ensure that the solution will stand securely. An arm fits into a depression in the middle of the stand, and is attached with the included screw. Once fully assembled, GripBase is about 9” at its tallest. At the end of the rotating arm is an hinged circle. It’s the same size and shape as those on the back of GripStand, and this is how the cases attach. Once installed, the iPad or iPad 2 can still spin around all the way. It can also be viewed at a wide variety of angles.
While they could stand to be more protective with some form of screen and button coverage, both generations of GripStand are good values. A case with a built in handle and stand for $30 is pretty rare. As GripBase is useless without the cases, our ratings are based on the $40 bundles. The first-generation model is worthy of a B+ rating; some form of screen protection would push it to a higher recommendation. GripStand for iPad 2 is a little harder to get on, and has a wide Smart Cover opening that will be valuable to some but not to others. For this reason, we still offer a general recommendation, but at the slightly lower B level.