Yes, it’s a little unusual: Cooler Master’s new Arc ($60) is the first stand we’ve seen marketed towards both MacBook Pro and iPad users, relying on a combination of glossy plastic, soft gray rubber, and metal to hold either a thick laptop or a thin iPad on a desk. Although Arc’s design isn’t as strong, it’s immediately clear that this one is in the same vein of single-position stands developed by Twelve South with the BookArc series of stands. White and black versions are currently available.
Arc’s footprint is pretty reasonable: the oval-shaped base is 7.9 inches wide and 4.7 inches long, or vice versa, depending on how it’s positioned. At its peak, the stand is 3.25 inches high. The bottom and inside are lined with rubber that prevents slipping, while the majority of the outside is plastic. A ring of metal—what appears to be stainless steel—runs around the bottom edge, providing ample heft that helps ensure Arc won’t move around.
The idea is that you’ll either place your MacBook Pro inside the larger, wider groove and leave it next to your computer or external monitor, upright, or slot your iPad into the smaller, thinner groove to look at it on a slight recline. You can’t use both at once, and the stand only permits very modest adjustment of the iPad. Despite the channel’s size, case compatibility is surprisingly very limited. We found that there were issues with even slim, shell-style cases. In our testing, the portrait orientation was OK, but the landscape orientation iPad fell forward. The same was true when using Apple’s Smart Cover. Because of the cross channel running beneath it, it’s easy to run a Dock Connector cable to the tablet without any sort of interference, and the plug fits comfortably between the walls.
Twelve South gets away with what some would consider high prices for its accessories, including BookArc, by choosing really nice designs and materials. Cooler Master’s Arc sells for a premium over even those designs, yet doesn’t look or feel quite as nice, and also lacks any sort of active cable management. As a MacBook Pro stand, it’s fine, but not particularly well-matched to the materials used in current MacBooks, and as an iPad stand, it has little to offer other than simply holding a tablet in a standing position, which is not even a particularly good angle, at that. This is not a bad design, but it’s not a good one either; it’s just sort of okay—not well-crafted for iPads, so-so for MacBooks, and too expensive for what it does for either or both devices.
Company and Price
Company: Cooler Master
Compatible: All iPads, MacBook Pro