When the Element Case Vapor Pro Limited Edition that Judie reviewed last month showed up at my house so that I could take a closer look I was immediately impressed. Element Case’s products have always been premium deals, but with the Vapor Pro it was clear they had truly upped the ante: and that was before even opening the box!! Yes, the packaging alone screamed “I am a quality product; I’m not inexpensive, but boy am I worth it!”
Yes, the packaging Element Case used evokes the same kind of experience that one finds when opening something new from Apple. In fact, in many ways they outdo Apple, since element Case actually included some nice extras along with the case itself.
It is for this reason that I should not have been surprised to find that the new Element Case Joule Chroma iPad Stand takes a similar path. Truth be told, Element Case is one of those companies that can’t just be called an accessory company. No, they are one of the few companies whose products are more like fine jewelry than accessories; and they have the packaging to boot!
The Joule Chroma is impressive right from the start, and it is for that reason that we’ll be looking at a step by step of the unboxing experience before actually taking a look at the stand itself.
When the Joule Chroma arrives you will find it in a heavy-lidded box with a circle of printed cardboard wrapped around it. The cardboard slides off with ease so there is no tearing involved.
The box itself is simple and had a stylized E embossed in it. If this looks a bit like a box for a fine watch you are not far off. I suspect that was the experience Element Case was going for… And they succeeded.
Lift the lid and the attention to detail is clear. The inside of the lid has a bright pink color liner. (I’m color blind, so I actually didn’t take note of it until Elana was “oohing” and “ahhing” over the stand AND the packaging.)
Inside is a nice case for the Joule Chroma. It too is held closed by a cardboard band.
The case itself has a zipper and is clearly intended for use shuffling the Joule Chroma from one place to another.
Unzip the case and open the lid and you will find…
The Element Case Joule Chroma. (No surprise where they got the secondary name from, is there?)
As Judie remarked when we initially posted news of the first version, “This has certainly got to be one of the most elegant iPad stands I’ve yet seen!”
This takes that statement to an entirely new level thanks to the bright, bold colors available. I was initially going to request black for the review unit, but I was convinced to go with a bright color by my wife. She was right! I looks great!
So let’s take a closer look at the actual stand.
From Element Case:
Everyone loves the simple and elegant design of our original Joule stand for the iPad. Now it’s available in 6 new colors for both iPad 1 and iPad 2. The new Chroma line offers 6 colors with a stunning satin, deep luster finish paired with a plush color matched Ultrasuede™ liner.
The Joule has a three position tilt foot that is magnetically attached for quick and easy angle adjustment. In any of three positions, the carefully designed geometry ensures that it won’t tip over when engaging the iPad’s touch screen display.
The Joule Chroma is CNC machined from a solid chunk of aircraft grade aluminum. Its simple shape and vibrant anodized color scheme is sure to steal the show away from your iPad.
It’s beautiful and always functional.
Magnetically attached tilt foot allows for quick and easy view angle adjustments
Rubber pads at the bottom assure a firm grip on any surface
An Ultrasuede® lined recess holds the iPad comfortably and securely
Includes a soft molded lycra zipper case
A speaker port to amplify sound output
Designed and made in California.
Except for the color and packaging, the actual stand is largely unchanged from the original. I reviewed it here, and my thoughts and impressions are pretty much unchanged.
The Joule is basically a carved aluminum bar and a recess that holds the iPad. The new Chroma line comes in 6 colors and the finish has a soft satin feel to it. The recess is lined with “a plush color matched Ultrasuede™ liner” The material not only offers scratch protection but also keeps the iPad from sliding to one side or the other.
A notch in the center provides access to the Home Button for those times when the iPad is placed in the stand in portrait. (I activated the extra developer multi-touch gestures on my iPad so the Home Button, and the cutout for it, are actually unnecessary.)
The three holes in the back of the Joule are precision cut at three different heights. The included and matching leg fits inside the holes perfectly and is held in place by a strong magnet. Each hole gives a slightly different viewing angle.
The magnets are a great feature in that you can change the angle in seconds yet the legs only comes out when you consciously choose for it to do so.
The leg is wrapped in a rubber gasket at one end to protect whatever surface it is on and the Joule itself has rubber bumpers pre-installed. (This was not the case on the review unit of the first Joule.)
As you can see, the Joule Chroma is the same as the original Joule right down to the location of the cutout that amplifies the sound coming from the speaker and the etching of the Element Case logo and name in the upper left (Although it is much easier to see against the blue of the Joule Chroma.)
Another angle showing the familiar design and craftsmanship.
The Joule Chroma is meant for real world use and in this arena it excels. Once placed in the stand my iPad 2 is help tightly at the angle of my choice.
It works just as well in portrait and, thanks to the heft of the Joule Chroma, the iPad is equally secure despite the possibility of it being a bit top-heavy.
You can see just how precise the fit is. This angle is, at least in my experience, best when using my iPad at my desk as an extension of my MacBook Air.
And it fits perfectly despite my using a BookBack skin I purchased from DodoCase.
So what do I think of the Joule Chroma? Let me quote from my original Joule review since I like this new version just as much — if not a bit more, thanks to the bright color and the great case.
I love it. It is beautifully made and remarkably useful. It is simple yet functional. When the iPad is not inside its low profile means it won’t take up much space AND it looks good. The three angles provided by the various cuts in the back let you have your iPad at the perfect angle for whatever use you are making of the iPad at that moment. The fact that the leg is held in place by a magnet means that changing the angle takes two seconds and in each position the iPad is totally stable. When in portrait the iPad’s Home button is still accessible and the speaker is unblocked. When in landscape the iPad can be synched and charged.
And despite my initial hesitation with regard to ordering one of the bright colors I love the bright blue color and soft touch finish of the Chroma version.
So is the Joule Chroma worth $149.99? Let me once again quote myself,
That depends… Obviously this is not the right stand for someone looking to hold their iPad in the least expensive way possible. If, however, you want an iPad stand that is not only functional but also has the look and feel of fine jewelry… this is a great choice. As Elana has taught me… most of the time you get what you pay for. Yes, you will pay a good deal for this iPad stand, but what you get is awesome.
Personally I love this stand. I like the look… I like the feel… I like the functionality… a lot!
The Element Case Joule Chroma comes in Blue, Red, Orange, Pink, Silver, Black and.
What I Like: Awesome unboxing experience; Beautifully made; Machined perfectly; Holds the iPad in either landscape or portrait; Holds the iPad securely at one of three different angles; Low profile when not being used; Color finish is gorgeous and soft to the touch; The case is a nice add-on; Made in the USA
What Needs Improvement: Nothing except that the price may scare some potential buyers away and so I end with a footnote:
The Element Case Joule Chroma is jewelry for your iPad and iPad 2. As with fine adornment for your body you will pay to adorn your iPad in this manner, but you will LOVE the stand once you buy and start using it.