Though iPod stands have become much less common over the last few years, Thought Out has remained committed to this particular category of accessories, creating stands specific to the iPod touch, iPhone, and other Apple devices. The company’s latest stand, Naja ($30), is specific to the third-generation iPod nano, and unlike some of the previous versions we’ve reviewed has both good looks and versatility on its side. Another company, Papadakis Technologies, has released Soaripod ($30), a similar stand that works with the iPod touch and original iPhone. We look at both products in our combined review below.
Named for a venomous, thin species of snakes, Naja can be summarized as a black 36” length of flexible pipe that’s bundled with a metal and rubber iPod nano holder. Though the pipe isn’t especially useful when it’s straightened and flattened, it can be shaped into a coiling, circular base with a pivoting neck, just like a snake. The advantage of this design is that the Naja stand can bend and turn at any point, providing you with a view of the nano’s screen from any conceivable angle, even including ones that are down-facing. Thought Out’s nano holder has rubber feet that can maintain their grip on the nano even when gravity’s working against them, and since they don’t interfere with the device’s bottom ports or controls in any way, you have complete access to audio, charging, and the like.
Soaripod is based upon a similar premise, except it replaces Naja’s key parts with ones that may or may not appeal to different types of users. Instead of the 36” flexible metal and rubber pipe, you get a 12” plastic pipe made from 21 interlocking ball joints that can be twisted and repositioned together. While the length difference seems significant, Naja has been designed to see at least a foot, perhaps more of its base coiled for stability, while Soaripod can be attached to a desk or table with a metal table P-clamp. This clamp lets your iPod touch or iPhone stand roughly as tall as the iPod nano would on Naja, as well as on similarly oddball angles, without the need for a coiled base. Should the table or desk not fit the P-clamp, you can coil the plastic joints to form a stand that works on many different angles, albeit at a lower height than the Naja. Papadakis also includes a carrying case so Soaripod can be carried around and used during travel, as well.
Another Soaripod semi-advantage is in its device mounting system. You get a black harness that can hold either the iPod touch or original iPhone, adding a ratcheting belt clip to its back. This holder permits full access to each device’s headphone port and/or Dock Connector port, as well as the iPhone’s speakers, though iPhone users notably get unfettered access to only one port or the other at a given time; the other will be slightly obstructed by a lip in the plastic.
The holder is attached to a glossy black plastic box that’s at one end of the pipe, and can be detached when not in desktop use—when separated, it serves as an iPod or iPhone belt clip mount. We prefer cases, but this isn’t a bad feature, as Naja’s iPod nano holder has no use when detached from its pipe. The only durability issue we noticed with Soaripod was that a stress fracture developed in the plastic mounting bracket at the end of the pipe, possibly after our initial attempt to attach the iPod/iPhone mount didn’t work out perfectly. It didn’t break off during our testing, but we could see this happening under the wrong circumstances.
We wouldn’t give the edge to either of these mounting solutions overall, as they’re for different devices and have different advantages that some users might prefer for their own needs. However, we found Naja to be especially interesting in that it’s the cleanest-looking design yet from Thought Out; this may only be due to the simplicity of the parts used to build it, but it does look good. Soaripod, by contrast, isn’t as sleek of a design but does a nice job of accommodating two different products, as well as adding a table clamp feature we haven’t seen elsewhere. Both of these products are pretty good values for their $30 asking prices, and are worthy of our general-level recommendation.
Company and Price
Company: Papadakis Technologies
Compatible: iPod touch, iPhone