Next to cases and simple chargers, mounting solutions have become some of the most common and widely demanded iPad accessories over the past two years: virtually every major accessory maker has created at least one product designed to hold the iPad and/or iPad 2 upright. Today, we’re looking at five new iPad mounts that use very different approaches; three are tabletop stands, and two others are cabinet and wall mounts. They are Choiix’s Wave Aluminum Stand ($40), iKit’s NuVu Rotating Stand for iPad 2 ($40), Just Mobile’s Horizon ($50), Macally’s MagStand 2 ($40), and Thought Out’s Stabile Pro ($85-$100).
Of the five options, the best is Choiix’s Wave, which thanks to the metal accessory development expertise of Choiix’s parent company Cooler Master is a wonderfully elegant, fancy-looking aluminum accessory for the same price as some rivals would sell plastic alternatives. Measuring 5.75” by 4.9” by 1.25” at its thickest points when folded down into a portable shape, Wave connects three curved pieces of black rubber-tipped metal with a central hinge, using two as legs and a third as an adjustable angle support for the iPad’s back.
Wave’s arm and legs feel very sturdy, providing enough support for either iPad in any angle you choose, and the rubber pads enable you to use a case or either device orientation without an issue. When unfolded, Wave stands 6” tall and 5.75” deep—only a hint deeper than Belkin’s FlipBlade Adjust, the top portable iPad stand we’ve tested.
The comparison between Wave and FlipBlade Adjust is appropriate because the two products are attempting to do exactly the same thing and succeeding, though with modest differences in approach. Wave is ever so slightly bigger, decidedly heavier, and offers a complete range of adjustability—here, from a straight upright 90 degrees to a very shallow 160-some degree recline that’s ideal for typing. While Wave’s steepest angle is a hint steeper than FlipBlade Adjust’s, and its shallowest is a little less so, the differences are nearly imperceptible.
Similarly, it will bother very few people that Wave’s adjustable rear arm sticks out beyond the back of a landscape-oriented iPad—not a portrait one—when the iPad’s in the deepest reclining position. FlipBlade Adjust is never deeper than the iPad it’s holding. Both stands work perfectly with bare or encased iPads of either generation, providing pass-through access to Dock Connector cables.
Which version you prefer will really come down to your budget and aesthetic preferences. Choiix has undoubtably included enough design frills and extra aluminum in Wave to justify the $10 price premium: its black rubber caps look great, matching the original iPad and black iPad 2, while swirled metal caps on each side of the hinge add a little pizzazz to the design.