There is certainly no shortage of various desk and lap stands for Apple’s ever-popular line of iPads – and it can be difficult to find great products with quality materials and design in the sea of accessories already available. The folks at Just Mobile have committed themselves to doing just that, and have proven themselves a cut above the norm in the accessory market in our previous product reviews – but will they maintain that reputation when it comes to iPad stands?
We took a look at two of their premium stands to find out!
Say hello to the Just Mobile Encore and Slide stands – a pair of premium, precision-crafted aluminum stands that aim to dress up your iPad (and your desk) in a fine industrial manner that even Apple’s Jony Ive could be proud of. Among the central ideas behind these stands is simplicity – a minimal, elegant design that is simple and attractive, yet still highly functional.
Just Mobile Encore
First up is the Just Mobile Encore ($59.99, link) – the most advanced of the two stands.
While the Encore is more advanced than its counterpart, the slide, “advanced” may be too strong of a word. The reality is that the Encore really couldn’t be much simpler in its design – it’s made up of just a solid aluminum base ring, and a hinged aluminum arm. Despite its simlicity, however, there’s more to the Slide than meets the eye.
First of all, the aluminum base is weighted perfectly, and is just the right size to support any iPad – even the heavy 4th-gen model – without leaning or tipping on its footing. If the base were much smaller, it wouldn’t be stable, and if the base were much larger, it would be far less elegant. The design of the Encore is all about balance – and Just Mobile has done a superb job of finding that balance.
While I’d normally be worried about an aluminum support arm (and its tendency to scratch an iPad), Just Mobile has cleverly rubberized the arm to prevent any scratching concerns – and to grip the back of your iPad a bit better than a traditional aluminum arm would be able to.
The Encore is designed as a desktop display stand for your iPad. As such, it’s not particularly well suited for lap use. That being said, I found that I was able to manage the stand on my lap as long as I was sitting in a normal, non-reclined position. I also found the stand well suited for both portrait and landscape iPad orientations for both a full-sized iPad and iPad mini.
I did find myself wishing that the encore supported a littlbe bit of height adjustment, to accomodate various desk or table heights – but Just Mobile decided to stick with simple elegance rather than adding an abundance of features. The fact that it folds flat for portability is also a plus.
While it’s true that the Encore could be more functional – being better designed for lap use, for instance – it’s relatively low price and simple elegance make a statement of their own. The Encore’s real strength, is its ability to securely maintain your iPad at any angle of your choosing, in either portrait or landscape mode, and looking great while doing it. It achieves this brilliantly, and I highly recommend it.
- Solid, durable, high-quality build.
- Folds up for portability.
- Elegant and sturdy, and matches the look of your Apple products.
- Supports a wide variety of viewing angles.
- Not well situated for lap use.
- Doesn’t include a solution for docking, leaving your sync cable out in the open to detract from its elegance.
Just Mobile Slide
Up next is the Encore’ssmaller, more affordable counterpart: The Slide. In comparison to the Encore, the slide offers a simpler design comprised of a unique aluminum plate with a curve at the end to grip your tablet. On the opposite end is a metal cylinder with a weighted black rubber and metal tube as its core. Popping the tube out of its cylinder allows you to adjust your iPad’s viewing angle, and then lock it into place by setting the tube directly behind.
While the design seems so simple that it’s hard to imagine it functioning ideally, the Slide, surprisingly, is able to hold your iPad sturdy in a wide variety of positions, whether for typing or watching movies. It also manages to do this whether or not your iPad has a case. It’s an extremely intriguing concept that is as elegant and functional is it is unique.
In my experience, the Slide is better suited for lap use than the Encore – although once again, it’s primary purpose is as a desk stand. The only real drawback to the slide is that it has no “memory”, or ability to return your iPad to the exact same angle after removing it from the stand. Instead, you’ll need to position your iPad with the tube each time you set it into the stand.
At $39.95 retail, you’ll have a hard time finding any other stand that offers comparable quality for less. It’s a great deal for a precision aluminum stand. In many ways, I even like it better than its counterpart, the Encore, although admittedly, each stand serves a slightly different purpose.
- Solid, durable, high-quality build.
- Extremely thin and light, and can be tossed in any bag.
- No “memory” for holding your tablet position between uses.
The Just Mobile Encore ($59.95, link) and Slide ($39.95, link) are both excellent products, and I have a hard time recommending one over the other – it ultimately boils down to personal preference. Both are excellent choices, and competitively priced among other high quality stands. As such, I give them a joint rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. For more information on either stand, visit Just Mobile’s product page on the web.