iPad Accessory Review: Newer Technology NuGuard GripStand/GripBase

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With all of the tablet focus on the iPad 2 (and new rumors about the possibility of an iPad 3 release coming less than a year after a second generation device) it is easy to forget just how many original iPads are in circulation and serving their owners remarkably well. In fact, there are many people who don’t feel the need for the FaceTime camera and are opting to get a discounted first-generation iPad instead. (We were out to dinner last night with friends who recently bought refurbished original iPads for that very reason and have no regrets.)

As a result it is certainly worthwhile to continue discussing some of the accessories that make the iPad 1 even more useful than it already is. One such accessory comes from Newer Technology. The NuGuard GripStand/GripBase bundle is an amazingly versatile case/stand the system that is remarkably useful and surprisingly inexpensive. For under $40 the bundle, available in white or black, gives you a protective case, an adjustable handle/stand, and a rotating desk base that work seamlessly together. It’s so good, in fact, that I’ve begun using it rather consistently with my 16 GB Wi-Fi iPad one.

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From the Company:

Get a grip on all your iPad display needs.

The Newer Technology® NuGuard® GripStand™/GripBase™ bundle is the multi-use solution for using your Apple® iPad® on the run or at a desk. The hard plastic protective shell of the GripStand grips your iPad snugly while enveloping it in a shock-absorbing inner rubber liner. The removable, skid resistant desktop stand can be swiveled 360° and positioned at virtually any angle for viewing or typing needs. The desktop stand also doubles as a highly effective one hand grip so you can use your iPad while standing or walking. And to take presentations to the next level, the NuGuard GripStand handle can even be rotated to use as a hook to hang your iPad on the wall in either landscape or portrait orientation.

Going mobile with your iPad is a breeze too. During transport, flip the iPad around so the glass is facing into the protective case for extra protection.

Use the GripStand’s desktop stand as a handle to carry your iPad like a briefcase. Or, when travel bag space is a consideration, just twist the desktop stand to remove it.

When you want to turn your iPad into a desktop workstation, the GripStand’s shell locks into the GripBase to provide a fully adjustable viewing angle in landscape or portrait modes along with 360° rotation. The wide, weighted base makes it virtually impossible to knock over and perfect for any high traffic areas.

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We have seen other systems that combine iPad protection with a stand and all of them begin with the same basic structure. This is no exception. The systems begin with a protective shell that wraps around the iPad and then various accessories connect to the shell for added functionality .

In this case the protective shell has a hard outside and soft interior. This sort of hybrid approach gives good, strong protection and enough soft “give” to truly protect the device when in use. It also ensures a good grip on the iPad without the uses of straps or other means of “locking” it in place.

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When you look at the protective shell from the back you quickly notice that in each of the four corners the softer material comes through from the interior and is, in fact, raised a bit above the rest of the case. This has a dual purpose. First, it actually makes it easier to get and keep a good grip on the iPad. Second, it serves as “legs” if you place the iPad on any flat surface with its screen up. The soft material protects whatever the iPad is sitting on, insulates the iPad from vibrations, and provides a non-slip surface that ensures the iPad won’t move.

In this photograph it appears that there is a “vanity window” that allows the Apple logo to shine through. I’m not a big fan of such a design but in this case the open circle is not there just because of the Apple logo but rather, it is there so that the base or stand can connect with the iPad and shell.

As you can see, the corners are protected and much of the bottom as well. The dock connector is left open as is the speaker.

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The volume controls and mute/rotation button are accessible as well. They are a bit recessed because of the thickness of the case but I haven’t found it to be a major issue.

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One of the two accessories that came with the bundle is the GripStand. The GripStand’s interior circle clicks into the open circle in the case and stays in place quite securely. It is difficult to see in this photograph but there are two buttons, one on either side of the circle, that, when depressed, release the grip.

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The exterior circle lifts up from the center.

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That means you can have the iPad at a nice viewing angle on your desk and it will stay there.

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The circle moves freely but there is enough resistance that the iPad will remain at whatever angle you set for it. So long as you do not press down directly on the top corner of the device it won’t go anywhere.

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Or you can create a far greater angle. At this angle or something a bit shallower you can easily type away on the iPad.

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Here’s a view from the side with the iPad at a steep angle.

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And here is a view from the back with the iPad in the portrait at a rather steep angle.

When I first saw this combination of the shell and the GripStand I was skeptical with regard to how effective it might be. I’m not anymore. It works beautifully.

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The second “accessory” that comes in the bundle is the GripBase. It arrives in two pieces that need to be screwed together. This takes all of 13 seconds.
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After that you get a solid base with a familiar circle at the top that clips into the case.

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The interior circle of the base rotates a full 360. This is more convenient than you might at first realize and makes the iPad a better desktop companion than ever. For me it makes the iPad perfect for leaving up email while I work on my MacBook Air.

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The base can result in the iPad being held at a higher level than it is with the GripStand.

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Here’s the view from the side.

Now here’s the interesting thing about this design. As noted, the base itself rotates 360° around. That lets you change the viewing angle with ease. At the same time, the section that is connected to the iPad can be placed at pretty much any angle you choose. In addition if you pull it down as far as it can go the iPad can be almost in contact with the surface it’s sitting on while, if you lift it up all the way and rotate the case around, you get this higher angle.

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Here’s what I mean. The case is rotated and lowered all the way down so it sits at a significant angle but at the lower part of the base.

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Another view.

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Lifting the arm up and spinning the iPad around, however, yields this –which has the iPad at near eye level. The degree of flexibility this offers is not immediately seen but is remarkably appreciated once you start using it.

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In all this is probably the most flexible and stable multi-use system I have seen. The fact that it comes in at a price of $39.99 is pretty remarkable to me. Yes, the shell that wraps around the iPad is a bit on the thick side but the degree of protection and usability that you get is well worth the trade-off.

The only downside that one might raise at this case is the fact that it’s for the iPad 1 when we are already well into the lifecycle of the iPad 2. Well, if that is your criticism you are in luck! The same system is available for the current generation iPad and can be found here. Better still, that bundle also has a low price of $39.99. And there’s even one more bit of good news, the iPad 2 protective case is designed so that it works with Apple’s SmartCovers.

If you are looking for a case that also functions as a stand and gives you extra flexibility when using your iPad this is the combination I can recommend without hesitation. For details and ordering check out the NewerTechnology web site.

MSRP: NuGaurd GripBase and BripStand Bundle- $39.99; GripStand- $29.99; GripBase- $19.99

What I Like: good protective case that has both a hardshell for real protection and a soft carrier for our protection; you can use the case alone or with either of the two accessories; the grip base allows the device to sit at a variety of angles in either landscape or portrait; it also makes it easier to get and keep a grip on the device; the stand is incredibly flexible and rotates 360°

What Needs Improvement: some may find the protective case it did on the chunky side; I wish the company would sell the iPad to protective case loan at a lower price so that anyone who purchased the system for the first generation device simply needs to upgrade the case


Categories: Reviews