For the past year, Just Mobile has had the smart aluminum iPhone and iPod touch stand market virtually to itself with the Xtand, offered in separate $40 versions for the iPhone and iPod touch. Now PC case and cooler maker Thermaltake has arrived on the scene with not just a competitor but a whole new brand: Luxa2 is its Apple-friendly badge, and the H1-Touch Mobile Holder for iPhone and iPod touch (
$50 $60) is its first iPod and iPhone accessory. [Updated June 16, 2010: Months after our review, Luxa2 subsequently repriced H1-Touch, leading to the revised rating and further details at the bottom of this review.]
H1-Touch is, essentially, an device-agnostic version of the two Xtands, using nicely designed arms that can flex open or closed to gently pinch any iPhone model, the iPod touches, and iPod classics; only the nanos are too small to be grasped. A very slightly sticky black rubber surface holds the device in place for the rubber-tipped metal arms to grasp, and then you can spin the device through a full 360 degrees of freedom while inside.
Minus the iPod classic support and the ability of one stand to accommodate all of these devices, the Xtand can do the same general things, as well. But it lacks H1-Touch’s integrated hinge, which lets you adjust the viewing angle of the screen to any position from slightly beneath a flat 90-degree angle to basically upside down and backwards, such that the back of the stand is showing rather than its front. This hinge is a major advantage of the H1-Touch over most of the competing products we’ve seen, which stick the device on an angle that’s more or less fixed relative to the stand.
The only reasons some people mightn’t like the H1-Touch are two in number: its higher price and the design of the stand. As we’ve noted in prior reviews, even $40 is a little on the steep side for an accessory that does nothing more than hold an iPod or iPhone is a specific viewing position without including any form of electronic integration—Dock Connector cable, audio, or video—and $50 places this model at a higher price point than both of the Xtands; you’ll need to decide whether its flexibility and likelihood of working with future iPhone and iPod models helps to justify the premium.
Thermaltake attempts to justify the premium by including two Swarovski crystals and a chrome-finished Luxa2 logo on the back of the stand, but these touches collectively struck us as cheesy and not especially well-implemented; the A and 2 on the unit we received for review were both out of place. We suspect this isn’t the case with most shipping units, and don’t even notice the problem when using the stand in its normal position, but tiny cosmetic issues like this do take away a little from an otherwise impressive product. It bears mention that the stand is otherwise extremely solid-feeling, thick aluminum with a rubberized pad on the bottom for stability; apart from the minor issues, it looks and feels well-made.
All in all, H1-Touch is a very strong first iPod and iPhone accessory release from Thermaltake: though it’s a little pricey and less than perfectly assembled, it’s also the best iPhone- and iPod-compatible stand we’ve yet seen in terms of functionality and versatility. Though it’s on the fine edge of our A- and B+ ratings, we’d push it into the higher A- category based on the fact that it’s a stand that’s actually worth keeping around for current and future devices; the ball’s now in Just Mobile’s court to do better.
[Editor’s Note: Luxa2’s decision to raise H1-Touch’s price after our review and A- rating has led us to take the rare step of stripping H1-Touch of our high recommendation. As a consequence of its price change, this stand is now more expensive than the majority of its peers and does not offer enough additional benefit to justify the higher rating. It is still a well-designed stand, however, and merits our general recommendation.]
Company and Price
Compatible: iPod classic, iPod touch 1G/2G, iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS