Okay, yes, I admit the first time I saw this, my reaction was something like: weird steampunky fusion of tablet and mechanical spider. I don’t know which of us started singing “Spider Thing” to the tune of “Spider Pig” from the Simpsons, but both my husband and I have had the theme running through our heads for days.
Obligatory editorializing over, on to the review.
As is obvious from the picture, the Tablift Tablet Stand is a hands-free tablet stand, and it does work pretty much as advertised. I tested it with my iPad 4 in landscape orientation and my Nook HD in both portrait and landscape. The bungee thing which holds the tablet in place adjusted easily to all of them.
You can place the tablet in the stand in one of three positions: leaning forward (for when you’re lying down), straight up (we use that one for watching video in bed) and leaning backwards (for when you’re sitting up). All three positions are comfortable for the use to which they are intended.
It folds up (fairly) compactly. I’ve been keeping it on the lower shelf of my nightstand, and it fits well. We plan to take it camping with us later this month, and, while I wouldn’t take it backpack camping, for car camping, it should be fine. Unfolding and adjusting it for use is easy, and it feels like it will fold and unfold without issues for years. Everything is sturdy. We’ll see if the bungee stretches out, but I don’t think it will. Even when it’s holding my iPad, the bungee isn’t straining.
I asked (read made) my husband use it for about an hour one night, in bed, and while he doesn’t plan to use it every evening, he agreed it worked well enough. He was quite happy with using it as a stand to watch video on my iPad while cuddled in bed. (The cuddling was definitely not the biggest appeal here. 😉 )
I used this weekend for binge-watching Bones, and it’s more comfortable to use the stand than to keep my iPad propped against my legs.
Both tablets I tried felt as if they were being held firmly, but not so firmly that I was concerned about putting stress on the device. The whole thing survived the casual predations of our five-month old kitten who decided running under and batting at it while we were watching video was a good idea. Unfortunately, he refused to stay still long enough for the obligatory cute kitten photo.
The stand does have one significant disadvantage. It can’t be used while your tablet is in a case. I’m sure it would be compatible with a Smart Cover but not with anything that covers the back of the device. The grooves are too narrow, which makes sense. If they were wider, they wouldn’t support a naked device, and covers come in so many thicknesses that it would be impossible to accommodate them all. I doubt I’ll use it much for reading but for video and playing games, it has appeal.