Smarter Stand Price: $20 Rating: Recommend* If you find yourself constantly playing Goldilocks with your iPad's Apple-issue Smart Cover — "This angle is too low, but this angle is too high!" — the Smarter Stand was designed with you in mind. It's a Kickstarter crowdsource-funded development from an enterprising Los Angeles designer. Read on to find out what it does, how it works and what we thought of it. The Smarter Stand isn't really a stand at all, it's actually an accessory to Apple's iPad Smart Cover (or the new wrap-around Smart Case). Smarter Stand is a set of clips that grip to the edges of the hinged Smart Cover to manipulate the folds and give you way more angles for viewing.
These three orientations are the ones featured in the guide included with the Smarter Stand. Each one makes use of one or two of the clips (the kit we received came with three) to keep the Smart Cover's folding points rigid or allow them to bend. By placing the clips strategically across the folds, you're able to comfortably view your iPad at a 33-degree or 45-degree angle. Both orientations hit the reading and viewing sweet spot that Apple's Smart Cover, which only works at 10- and 80-degree angles, seems to miss. There's also a third position that sticks with Apple's 80-degree tilt, but manipulates the Smart Cover to provide a privacy typing shield. In our experience, it shielded 90 percent of the screen, sitting on a table, from someone standing a few feet away at eye-level. Sliding the clips between these three positions, though, was a bit of a struggle. Once you get them on, these clips stay snug on the Cover. On one hand, it's a good thing — I never felt as though I'd lose the clips to the floor or the bottom of my bag. On the other hand, I wish that moving from one position to the other was easier to accomplish without a struggle.
To keep your iPad from sliding from position, the Smarter Stand kit also comes with two non-slip pads. Unfortunately, the only way to use these is to stick them to the back of your iPad with the included peel-and-stick adhesive. Without the non-slip pads, the iPad was precarious to balance in each of the positions. It was doable on a steady table, but might prove impossible on an airplane ride or shaky cafe table. If your iPad is wrapped in the back with a tacky-feeling cover (like Apple's Smart Case), this won't be a problem. If not, you should be prepared to stick the non-slip pads to your gear. It's a shame that this problem seems to hurt the Smarter Stand's best customers: People who like to get added function from accessories without infringing on their iPad's native design. When you're not using your iPad and want to shut the cover, the Smarter Stand clips can slide onto the widest panel of the Smart Cover, allowing for the cover's original range of movement without inhibiting the Smart Cover's magnetic functions or its use as a screen protector. When you close the cover, the Smarter Stand stays slim and out of the way.
All in all, the Smarter Stand is a great, low-impact solution for anyone who loves their iPad Smart Cover, but feels like the 10- and 80-degree angles can be limiting. If this sounds like you, head over to Kickstarter and check out more about the Smarter Stand. While you're there, you can pledge to back the product and get a discount on the $20 MSRP when the Smarter Stand hits shelves: right now, $14 gets you a Smarter Stand kit in one of nine colors that match the Apple Smart Cover's color palette (the site says they're scheduled to ship in October). But be quick: The Kickstarter campaign wraps up on Monday, August 13.
Pros: Super slim profile. Holds iPad at more angles that are more convenient for viewing/reading. Inexpensive. Cover orientations are endlessly customizable. Cons: Non-slip pad must adhere to back of iPad (unless you have a Smart Case). Clips are tough to get on and slide around. Our Ratings: Strong Recommend Recommend* Weak Recommend Don't Recommend(Images: Taryn Fiol) Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. This specific product was provided by the manufacturer for testing and review purposes.