Long-time Gear Diary fans may remember me from my stint a few years back as our resident “Stunt Reviewer.” Well, like a bad penny, I’ve turned up again and Judie and the gang have been nice enough to welcome me back to contribute the occasional review or announcement, specifically for the “Yum Log” section where we take a look at kitchen, food and cooking products and gadgets. In the couple years since I stopped writing here, I’ve been a full-time food blogger for the Nashville Scene in my home town and an occasional contributor to regional and national food magazines and blogs, so hopefully I’m at least as qualified to write about these topics as I was to test an anti-poison ivy cream.
So what’s first in the new review queue? How about the Belkin Kitchen Cabinet Mount for iPads and other tablets? I do a lot of cooking at home, and despite the fact that I just turned in a cookbook I wrote to my publisher last month, I’m much more likely to use my iPad to source a recipe than any of the multitude of cookbooks that occupy so much shelf space in my kitchen.
Of course that means exposing my precious tablet to any number of countertop dangers – acidy lemons and limes, clouds of flour and corn meal, sharp knives clattering across the cutting board etc. (Yeah you should see me when I cook. It’s a real Lucy episode in there sometimes.) The iPad is an ideal device to assist you when you’re cooking, because not only can you keep the recipe in view at all times, you can do so many other things that a regular cookbook can’t. Need to figure out a substitute for that spice that was formerly in the bottle that somebody PUT BACK IN THE DRAWER AFTER IT WAS PRACTICALLY EMPTY? (Sorry. Sensitive subject.) Google it. Can’t remember how to cut up a whole chicken into eight pieces? Let my kitchen hero Alton Brown . Try that with you momma’s copy of “The Joy of Cooking.”
So if the iPad is so useful, but also in so much peril on the countertop, it only makes sense to get it out of the way. That’s where the good folks at Belkin come in. They have designed a mount for the iPad (or any similarly sized tablet) that not only keeps the technology out of harm’s way, but that actually raises it to cabinet-level, which is probably ergonomically better for you anyway.
This is achieved through an ingenious bit of design that allows you to hang the mount beneath your kitchen cabinets while still holding the device firmly in the mount and stably attached to the bottom of the shelf.
You probably won’t want to use Belkin Kitchen Cabinet Mount all the time since it does make it difficult to open and close the cabinet door, and if you’re rich enough to have an iPad that you only use for recipes, just go ahead and eat out more often. Fortunately, the mount folds up compactly for easy storage either in a drawer or in the cabinet.
To attach the mount to the cabinet, simply unfold the support leg from the back and hang the device from the edge of your lowest shelf.
Don’t attempt to insert your tablet at this point, because we’re nowhere near secure yet! At the bottom of the mount is a dial which adjusts the position of the support arm.
Turn it until the arm is snug against the bottom of the shelf, and you should now have a pretty stable configuration. Close the cabinet door to give the mount a little bit of extra security and you should be good to attach your tablet to the mount.
I did have a little difficulty with the fact that the width of the lip by which the mount hangs from the top shelf is not adjustable, so if you have some especially deep custom cabinets you may encounter some difficulty. Definitely check the stability of your set-up before hanging any expensive electronics from the Belkin mount.
If everything is copacetic at this point, simply depress the button on the side of the attachment flange and open the sliding mount as wide as it will go. Insert your tablet and slide the clamp down to hold it snugly. That’s all there is to it.
When properly mounted, your tablet should be stable enough for you to navigate around the web on, either with or without a stylus. If you’re particularly heavy-handed, you might encounter a little bouncing as you press against the screen, but for the most part navigation was easy.
It was certainly convenient to keep the iPad at eye level while I was working. I’m pretty scientific in the kitchen, so I like to make sure that my measurements are exact That’s why everybody wanted to be my lab partner in AP Chemistry. The Belkin Kitchen Cabinet Mount was very effective at keeping my tablet safe while also maximizing my counter space. If you use your tablet in the kitchen often, or love someone else that does, this might make an excellent holiday gift.
Details and ordering can be found on the company website.
Belkin Kitchen Cabinet Mount # F5L100tt
What I Like: Streamlined and unobtrusive; easy to store away when not in use. Sturdy mount to hold tablets
What Needs Improvement: An adjustable hanging flange that could handle deeper cabinets would be nice