iPad Accessory Review: Rain Design iRest for iPad and iPad 2

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There are some companies that understand that it is not form OR function but rather form AND function. Such companies, few in number, have an ability to design products that look great but also function with a simplicity that makes you wonder how you ever went without. Of course Apple leads the pack in this regard but there are others who follow suit. Sonos is one such company. (I write this while Garbage’s song “Push It” is blasting from two Play:5s set up as a stereo-pair.) I LOVE their products. Rain Design is another such company. Their designs are simple, elegant and work.

I reviewed the Rain Design mStand last December and loved it. It is as simple a design as you are going to find yet it looks great, is a quality product that is remarkably well made and does EXACTLY what I need in a stand for my MacBook Air. I wasn’t the only one impressed by it and Elana promptly “stole” it. I liked it enough that I immediately bought a second one and we both continue to use it daily. That says it all.

The company was kind enough to send another of their products for review. The Rain Design iRest is a stand designed for use with both the iPad and iPad 2.

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It works great if you are reclining but it works equally well as a desk stand, especially if you are using it with a Bluetooth keyboard. It has quickly become my favorite way to use the iPad at home. Let’s take a close look at the Rain Design iRest.

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From Rain Design:

The iRest lap stand makes reading and watching with the iPad more comfortable on the sofa or bed. With extra refinements like soft foam cushions and torque hinge to get that perfect viewing angle, you can enjoy hours of entertainment with less hand and neck strain. Remove the cushions and the iRest converts to an elegant desktop stand, perfect for viewing recipes in the kitchen or typing with a wireless keyboard.

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Features:

• Only stand in the world designed for super comfortable upright iPad use on the lap (both landscape and portrait mode)

• Works with Apple smart cover.

• Hands-free usage of iPad on the lap and couch.

• Weighs less than 15 oz

• Functions as desk stand

• All cushions can be detached

• Folds down for extra portability

• Works for all tablets less than 0.47 inches (1.2 cm) thickness

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When you pull the iRest out of the box you immediately know it comes from Rain Design. The water drop on the front is a clear giveaway but so too is the quality construction from blemish-free aluminum and black plastic and rubber accents that look good AND protect your iPad from scratches.

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I was surprised that the back “leg” of the iRest is made from clear Polycarbonate. I’m used to Rain Design using aluminum and inquired as to the design choice. This is what I was told:

We chose a clear material to add accent and style to the iRest.  We also took into account that since the iRest might be taken to the bed or couch, it should feel more comfortable and not be too ‘metallic’ to the user.  The material Polycarbonate is chosen for its strength and durability although it costs more than lucite and perspex.

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I totally forgot about the back leg “extenders” and started using the iRest as it was when I pulled it from the box. It worked just fine and offers a totally stable platform for the iPad.

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I love the fact that it can be set to pretty much any angle you want and there is nothing to tighten thanks to there being just the right amount of resistance built into the hinge. It is tight enough to hold position but loose enough to easily change the angle. Nice!

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Of course there ARE legs that connect to the iRest. These make the stand even more stable than they would otherwise be AND they make it super-comfortable to have the iPad and iRest sitting on your lap if you are reclining. That’s part of the idea behind the iRest. With the legs it is great on your lap. Without the legs it works great as a desktop stand. The flexibility is great!

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The legs simply screw into the Polycarbonate base. It is as simple as that. No muss. No fuss. No tools or skill required. From box to set up and usable is a 25 second process.

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Once the legs are in place the iRest creates a completely and totally stable stand for the iPad. It wasn’t unstable without the legs, far from it, but with them… the iPad isn’t going anywhere you don’t want it to go.

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Rain Design notes that the iRest will work with the Apple Smart Cover. It does better than that and works with pretty much all of the cases I have in my current iPad-case rotation.

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The cover of my current favorite iPad case (the Beyza iPad 2 Executive II Case thanks to Judie) simply flops over the top of the iRest. As you can see, the iPad can sit at a nice angle for typing but the iRest works just as well if the iPad is set to a steeper angle and being used to watch video.

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And if the back legs of the iRest ever start looking a bit worn or you misplace them you can always replace them. (I love that Rain Design doesn’t force you to buy a set! Need one replacement leg? Buy one replacement leg!)

All in all the Rain Design iRest stand for iPad and iPad 2 is the most comfortable, stable and useful iPad stand i have tried. The versatility, combines with the nice design and easy functionality, makes it a winner. No wonder it won MacWorld Best of Show at CES 2011!! And at under $50 I think this is a bargain. Yeah, I like it that much. Details and ordering can be found here.

MSRP: $49.90

What I Like: Well designed; Flexible; Works with both generations of iPad; Quality material and workmanship; Can use iPads while still in most cases; Use on your lap or on a desk

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.

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