iPad Accessory Review: TwelveSouth Compass Mobile Stand for iPad

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Here is an early draft of the email I sent to Apple accessory-maker TwelveSouth yesterday after opening their new Compass Mobile Stand for the Apple iPad.

My name is Dan Cohen and I am one of Gear Diary’s Editors. I just bought a Compass and will be reviewing soon.
It is by far one of, if not the, best accessories I have bought/received for my iPad. Beautifully built, thoughtfully designed and a great price-point.

Well done.

Dan Cohen

Sent from my iPhone

It kinda says it all… but why not read the rest of this review anyway?

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From TwelveSouth:

Compass is a stylish compact folding stand that lets you use your iPad in two different modes. First, as an easel, Compass displays iPad in both portrait and landscape modes. Second, flip open the secondary leg and Compass now holds your iPad at the perfect angle to let your fingers fly across iPad’s onscreen keyboard.

Forged from heavy gauge steel, this slim, travel friendly stand lets you enjoy both hands-free and hands-on use of your iPad anywhere your iPad goes. iPhoto slideshows to Keynote presentations, Compass lets you see and do more with iPad. Compass folds up to the size of candy bar, requiring very little space in your backpack, computer bag or purse. Store it in it soft travel sleeve, which matches the Apple iPad case, and you’re ready to go.

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I’m using more of the product promo shots than usual here so that you can get a good sense of just how substantial this stand is. It is one of those times when the actual product looks as good as the sharp product shots. It is made of rather hefty metal and is perfectly finished so the metal shows no tool marks whatsoever. The rubber that keeps it from sliding on the flat surface and prevents scratching the iPad is so well secured to the metal that there is zero play in it. And the quality of the rubber is on par with the rest of the Compass’ quality. The joints are equally strong and suggest that this is one accessory that will remain in use when you are on your seconds and third generation iPads.

As you can see in this picture, there are two different legs near the joint. The one in use in this picture puts the iPad at a rather steep angle for reading Like this…

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While the leg within it will hold the iPad at a more shallow angle for typing.

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Like this…

Twelve South explains the Compass quite well on their site when they write…

It’s an easel and an instant theater.
Perhaps the biggest strength of this gorgeous sliver of steel is its versatility. Used upright as an easel, Compass lets you view and interact with iPad in both portrait and landscape modes, even if you keep your iPad protected in the Apple case. Use portrait mode for things like iPhoto slideshows, browsing the iBookstore or flipping through an online news article. Turn your iPad on its side, in landscape position, and Compass becomes the ultimate portable theater. Enjoy your favorite YouTube videos and feature-length movies anywhere you go, while keeping your hands free for popcorn and beverages.

Point Compass to work mode.
Compass is an iPad stand designed for those who want to work on their iPad. Designed with a fold-away secondary leg, Compass instantly goes from an easel to a pint-size work station, angled perfectly for typing on iPad’s onscreen keyboard. Compass makes typing on iPad super comfortable so you can put in long stretches in Keynote, Pages or Numbers without the neck-ache that comes from working with iPad on your lap. Compass is a small, totally mobile tool that can be used on planes, airports, hotels, coffee shops, cafes and even in boardrooms. When folded flat, this tiny, yet sturdy, iPad stand takes up minimal space inside your briefcase, backpack or computer bag. In short, Compass gets the job done.

Part of the beauty of this stand is just how portable it is. At just 7-inches long by 1-inch wide it is “about the size of a candy bar”. Throw it in your bag and you are good to go… regardless of what you plan to do with your iPad.

As Twelve South puts it…

simply fold out all three legs and fold down the two iPad supports and you’re done. To switch to typing mode, all you have to do is fold down the secondary leg on the back of the stand. Then position Compass so the secondary leg rests on your work surface and you’re set to start typing your latest Facebook update or editing a spreadsheet in Numbers. Compass is an easy-to-use, multifunctional stand that lets you give your lap a rest while watching or working on your iPad.

I got the stand and was immediately wowed. I liked it so much that I brought it with me when we had dinner with my iPad-loving father-in-law. He looked at it, used my iPad in both the viewing and typing position and said, “Can you get me one of these?” To which I replied, “I already ordered it!” 🙂

The Compass is available directly from TwelveSouth’s Website or from Apple retail stores.

MSRP: $39.99

What I Like: Beautifully built; totally portable, holds the iPad in two different, and usable, positions, great price-point for this quality and usability

What Needs Improvement: Not… a… thing

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.