Review: Ten One Magnus Stand for iPad 2
Ten One's new aluminum Magnus Stand for iPad 2 ($50) is about as minimalist as they come: the stand matches the tablet, and effectively vanishes when it is docked. As the company tells it, this took quite a bit of work to engineer, and in all senses -- design, functionality, price -- this stand could easily be mistaken for an Apple accessory. The beauty and class of the accessory come with real limitations, however, and it remains to be seen if it will be compatible with the new iPad; Ten One makes no promises that it does.
Magnus is made of nice-looking machined aluminum, very closely matching the body of the iPad 2. On the bottom of the three-inch-deep stand are four rubber feet that do very good job of holding the stand in place on flat surfaces. Unlike most stands, this one doesn’t use a plug or lip to hold Apple’s second-generation tablet in place: instead, it has magnets that latch onto the ones built into the iPad 2 to support the Smart Cover. A strip of rubber acts as a buffer between the two metal surfaces.
This docking mechanism works impressively well, and is totally sturdy. Unfortunately, it limits the tablet in only one orientation—landscape, with the Dock Connector port facing to the right—and one angle. While it will stay standing in other orientations thanks to the slightest lip, there’s nothing of substance holding the iPad 2 in place, so one small move could easily send the device crashing down. Magnus doesn’t recommend it, and neither do we. When it comes to time to remove the tablet, two hands are necessary; otherwise, Magnus stays attached due to the strong magnetic connection.
For those who are looking for the most visually minimalistic stand solution possible and are willing to put up with one locked orientation, Magnus is a wonderful solution. It’s really nice-looking, and is right at home on a desk next to an iMac or aluminum MacBook. We give Ten One a lot of credit for taking advantage of the magnets in the iPad 2 in a smart, novel way. But the fact that users are stuck in landscape orientation, with a single angle, is a bummer—you get less functionality here than with many iPad stands that sell for $30 or less. Yet Magnus sells for $50. If the stand was angle-adjustable, Magnus’s elegance would make it a truly great product, arguably even at this price. As it is, though, it’s beautiful and innovative, but costs too much and requires too much sacrifice. These factors earn Magnus our limited recommendation: consider it only if you’re willing to pay a lot for an attractive but limited stand.