I love my iPad; I mean, I really love it. If I could figure out a way to get it to completely replace my laptop, I would do it. I use it to watch movies, read books, follow my Twitter feed, and lots of other things. As a nerd– and this is no exaggeration– it’s the kind of device I’ve been waiting for most of my nerdy, computer-geek life.
It does have some issues, though, one of which is that, after a while, you do get tired of holding the durn thing up. It’s not that it’s so heavy but, like reading a book on the beach, eventually your hands get fatigued and you feel the need for a break. Sure, it’s okay to rest the iPad on your stomach while reading but that doesn’t work well when you are, for example, watching movies and TV shows. Sometimes, you just want to clamp the iPad in place and relax while using it hands-free.
Arkon has just the accessory to make this happen. The Tablet Table Mount is a universal tablet holder that is designed to work with many different tablets. Of course, I only have an iPad 1 so that’s what I used to run it through its paces. What did I think? Read on!
Here’s how Arkon describes the device:
Arkon’s Universal Heavy Duty C-Clamp Mount for Tablets features an innovative holder that adjusts to fit any 7″ – 12″ tablet and a 22″ adjustable aluminum arm. The C-Clamp base allows mounting on most flat-edged tables, desks and counters, or other flat-edged surfaces.
- Innovative, adjustable holder fits any tablet 7″-12″ with or without a case or skin
- 22″ adjustable aluminum arm with C-clamp for table or counter mounting
- 3 articulating joints and 360° rotating head allow for optimum positioning
- Aluminum construction: lightweight and strong
My fear was that this was going to be like the Pixar’s lamps (image below)– lightweight arms, cheap aluminum, really weak springs, with a cheap plastic C-clamp that will hold it in place for a couple of minutes, but that can be dislodged with the slightest bump. I had plenty of those as a student, and definitely didn’t want to trust my precious iPad to one!
Image courtesy of Lighting Universe
I was relieved when I opened the box: this was a heavy-duty aluminum stand, not like something that was squeezed together from kitchen foil.
The mount came in only two pieces: the two-arm portion, and the mount that gets clamped to your iPad. As I said, the armature is solid, high-quality aluminum that feels solid and reliable. The mount is plastic and has two movable, rubberized “feet” on each side that hold the iPad in place. It mounts on the end of the armature by clicking together via a plastic tab/slot combination. I would have preferred a padded metal mount rather than plastic, but this is decent-quality plastic, and holds the iPad solidly.
I have an iPad 1 and use it with the Apple case. I kept my iPad in it’s case and the stand worked just fine; I had no worries that it would slip out. I was especially glad to find that the spring that holds the feet in place is strong, and provides a good feeling of security.
There are three areas at which the mount can be adjusted–at the base, at mid-arm, and at the back of the mount itself.
(Yes, that’s my chair; I like brocade! Sue me!)
As you can see, you can lift up or down, or rotate, along either of the major joints to bring the mount to the right height for you. I didn’t have much trouble getting the stand adjusted, although like every adjustable mount I’ve ever found, getting the height, the level, the angle, and everything else just right required a lengthy period of fussing.
(That’s Rosie the Shih-tzu/poodle mix, wondering just what the heck I’m doing.)
During said fussing, I found two issues with the C-clamp which holds the whole mount to the table: first, the clamp portions were just a little too short, so when I swung the arm in and out, no matter how much I torqued down on the knob that held the C-clamp tight to the table, it wiggle around and started to slide off the table. (The pieces I’m talking about are in the photo below, pressing against the top and bottom of the table.)
The second issue is with the lower arm adjustment device. As you can see, it’s a little lever; you turn it one way, it loosens, and you adjust the arm; turn it the other way to tighten it down in place when you have it adjusted. But if you look closely at the picture, you might notice something:
If it looks to you like the lever is bonking into the table, you would be right. I was able to wiggle and waggle it so that it could be tightened enough, but I was never able to get it quite right. It may be that there is some way to fiddle things around so that that lever doesn’t bump into the table, but I fiddled for a while and wasn’t able to find it.
The other difficulty I had was, once I got everything into place, the arm didn’t stretch quite enough to center on my chair– even after moving the table quite close the issue remained. Now, if you’re sitting at your desk and have the mount attached to the desk, this probably wouldn’t be a problem. I , however, was really hoping to be able to sit in my favorite chair–I’ve had it for 30 years!–and watch movies on my iPad without my arms getting tired. Alas, if I tried, I’d get a crick in my neck, which isn’t good because I already have chronic pain in my durn neck. But this might be a problem just because of the specific way in which I want to use the mount; you’ll have to judge for yourself.
In the end, while I think that the Arkon stand is a good gadget, I don’t think I will be using it very much– the amount of persnickety adjusting you need to do, combined with the fact that it’s not quite long enough to center my iPad at eye level while I’m sitting in my chair means it won’t get a lot of use. So for the money, it doesn’t quite work for me. But if you have different needs–maybe you’re clamping it off the side of a desk, or some such–perhaps it’s the device for you. Check it out, think about it, and let us know below if you give it a go.
What it is: Arkon C-Clamp Tablet Stand
What I like: Solid construction; easy to set up; good range of motion
What needs improvement: The joint adjustment at the base (kept bumping into the table when I rotated the stand); the length