In a world where iPads constantly topple over at the merest touch, ElementGEAR releases a top-of-the-line solution that will have iPad owners standing at attention, but at what cost?
Sure the iPad is comfortable enough to sit in your hands for extended periods of time, but doesn't it look lovely upright? And wouldn't it be great if you could actually touch it while propped upright and it didn't topple over, as it does with Apple's own iPad dock or the flimsy triple-fold case the company made available at launch?
That's the sort of stability the ElementGEAR Joule stand for the iPad provides, but a steep price tag could very well keep it beyond the reach of many pad-players.
Stylish: Of all the iPad stands I've tried over the past three months, the Joule is by far the most aesthetically attractive. The design is simple and powerful: one thick, heavy cylinder with a wedge cut in it to hold the iPad, a dipped centre for accessing the home button in portrait mode, and an oval cutout for the speakers, and a magnetised metal rod that fits in one of three holes in the back of the cylinder, delivering three different viewing angles. It's simple, stylish design is an excellent complement to the iPad itself.
Solid: The Joule is the champion of stability in a market filled with less-than-ideal iPad stand solutions. The iPad sits snug in its velvet-lined wedge, supported by a simple metal pole with rubber around the tip to provide stability and grip. There are no moving parts, just two simple pieces that combine to provide unparalleled stability in both landscape and portrait orientations. The Joule has stood up to both angered forum-reply typing and heated games of Plants Vs Zombies HD in each of its three positions, never faltering once. It may not have the versatility of some of the other stands out there, but how many angles do you really need?
'Spensive: How much would you pay for a simple, solid solution to the need for an iPad stand? With Apple's own flimsy plastic solution retailing for $US30, I'd gladly pay double that for one that works. Unfortunately, the Joule retails for more than four times the official Apple stand; $US129 for the standard model, and $US139 for the anodised black and silver models. That's a hefty price to pay for propping up a piece of equipment, even one that looks this good and gets the job done so well. With many less-expensive stands on the market with a wide-variety of extra features, laying out $US130 for the Joule might be a pretty hard sell.
Before making an investment in ElementCASE's Joule stand you might also want to consider the fact that it does come in two parts, and anything that comes in two parts is rendered useless if one part becomes lost. I lost track of the rod for mine while at E3, which leaves me with a stylish but ultimately useless cylinder. ElementCASE is actually releasing a special case for the Joule next week, to help combat this issue.
The Joule also contains no hole in the base for the charging adaptor, meaning you'll have to turn your iPad on its side or upside-down to charge it. It's not a big deal for mean, as I generally charge while watching Netflix in landscape mode, but your mileage may vary.
The Joule iPad stand is an incredibly attractive and extremely stable way to present your iPad to yourself and the world around you, but it takes a lot more disposable cash than many would be willing to shell out to make it yours. Now how much would you pay?
The Joule iPad stand is manufactured and sold by ElementCASE. Retails for $US129.00 ($US139.00 for black or silver). A unit was given to us by the manufacturer for reviewing purposes.
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