Review: Thought Out Stabile Stand for iPad
True docks for the iPad have been few and far between, but stands -- docks without any electronic components inside -- have become numerous over the past few months, most using iPad-matching silver metals as justifications for higher prices than earlier plastic iPod and iPhone stands. Today, we separately review two very different stands from a couple of stand-focused companies: the first is Stabile ($60-$70) from Thought Out.
Unlike competitors whose stands were designed to be light and thin, Thought Out has once again taken the opposite approach with Stabile, which uses a solid steel frame shaped to hold the iPad without any question as to its stability. The nearly four-pound stand comes in either black ($60) or silver ($70), each with black rubber pads on the bottom and on the iPad-holding mount, and the same fixed 55-degree non-adjustable viewing angle. A hole in the back of the stand allows for easy cable insertion, if you supply the charging or docking cable.
Stabile’s major advantage is in peace of mind: it’s so heavy and conspicuously dense that it can be placed on any flat surface and understood to maintain its position. Some of the lighter weight aluminum stands we’ve tested don’t attempt to be nearly as immovable, and shift a little as you pull the iPad off, so if you’re looking for an anchor, Stabile is as firm as they get. It’s also worth noting that although the stand is quite large, it’s designed neutrally enough to be visually inoffensive, and we experienced no issues with iPad slippage inside or outside of cases during two weeks of testing. The silver version uses a nice metallic paint that comes very close to the color and texture of the iPad—an easier feat for rivals made from matching aluminum.
There are a few obvious disadvantages to Thought Out’s design, however. One is specific to the black version of the stand, which over the course of two weeks saw two of its rubber pads repeatedly slip off: they apparently came off for the first time during shipping, but the simple act of placing the iPad on top of them and leaving it there made them come off again several times. They needed to be manually put back in place, and although they didn’t leave any adhesive residue, they just didn’t seem to be bonding properly with the paint on the black stand. Our silver sample had no issues of this sort, but it was also $10 more expensive—at either $60 or $70, Stabile is a fairly pricey stand given that it offers no user adjustability.
And that’s the biggest issue here, really. Some of Thought Out’s earlier stand designs have been priced well enough that flexibility or other design omissions haven’t been as important—the smaller, inexpensive Ped 3-U was a prime example of limiting versatility while picking the right price to stand out from the pack. Stabile feels as if you’re paying a huge premium for the heavy steel body without deriving any real benefit save weight over less expensive options we’ve tested from competitors. If having a really solid chunk of metal with no tilt or pivoting options is what you’re looking for, Stabile is a fine option, but for our dollars, we’d sooner opt for the lighter but stable and more flexible Griffin A-Frame or Luxa2 H4 iPad Holder; at a lower price, and with better adhesive on the black version, Stabile would be a stronger pick.