When an accessory maker decides to shift a traditionally metal accessory to plastic, it immediately gains the ability to produce something similar — maybe better, maybe worse — at a more aggressive price. So when Griffin announced Loop ($30), an iPad stand that sells for only 60% the cost of its earlier A-Frame, we understood immediately where it was going. By comparison, the similarly all-plastic iPad Recliner from LapWorks preserves a metal stand price point while using cheaper-feeling and -looking materials, offering more versatility while receiving demerits for its under-designed back half. We review both of these plastic stands in separate articles today.
Griffin’s approach with iPad stands has been a lot more fashion-conscious and less brainy than we’ve come to expect from the company over the years. The aluminum A-Frame uses a plastic-aided hinge and sculpted rubber pads to adjust and safely hold an iPad inside while only modestly changing its viewing angle to your needs. It looks nice, feels completely solid, and holds an iPad—that’s it. Loop operates on the same principles, but drops the metal in favor of a nearly black semi-glossy plastic oval that’s topped with a considerably smaller layer of gray hard rubber. Softer, lighter rubber is on the bottom to keep Loop from slipping around on a flat surface.
With apparent visual inspiration from JBL’s lineup of organically curvy, alien iPod speakers, Loop’s plastic has dimpled curves, two sharp slots in its sides, and a declining elevation that make it considerably taller at the peak 2.5” back than in the sub-0.5” front. Something’s inside the shell to make it feel more substantial than the rubber and plastic would naturally be, and though $30 isn’t cheap for something so technically simple, it looks and feels good from every angle.
It works well as a basic iPad stand, too. Rather than offering any sort of tilt or rotation mechanism, Griffin’s design allows for two total viewing angles and two device orientations, nothing more. If you want to use the iPad on a desk like a keyboard, the bottom dimple in Loop is there to keep it on a gentle angle for you, steeper than a traditional keyboard so that you can still see the screen without hunching over.
Otherwise, if you prefer to prop it up for video or other purposes, you just drop the iPad into the two side slots, either in landscape or portrait orientation. Here, the iPad is roughly an inch off the table’s surface—fine for most nightstand and desk needs—with enough room at the bottom for a landscape iPad to be plugged in to a Dock Connector cable. A curve near the back lets that cable pass under Loop and stay there.
And that’s really all there is to it: Loop isn’t fancy, and for the price—the lowest of all iPad-specific stands we’ve yet tested—it doesn’t need to be. If you’re looking for a budget-priced option that will blend in on your nightstand or desk, this is a good place to start, and you can decide for yourself whether to spend additional dollars to upgrade the material to metal, achieve additional viewing angle versatility, and potentially raise the iPad higher than an inch off of a flat surface. For users with the two most common iPad stand needs, Loop will be enough to do the trick.
Company and Price
Company: Griffin Technology
Compatible: iPad (2010)