The introduction of the iPad ushered in the era of an entirely new category of device accessories. Among the impressive “add-ons” to come to market have been stands to allow for hands-free use; the tablift is one such accessory. The $59.95 stand isn’t the most refined hands-free tablet holder we’ve seen, but it more than gets the job done.The stand looks to solve a number of issues. First, it is designed to work with most any tablet. That’s a good thing, since not only are there more tablets available than ever before, but companies continue to experiments with different sized devices as they move from one generation to the next.
Second, it looks to hold tablets securely and at a number of different angles, so it will work in pretty much any viewing scenario. Finally, it offers a secure base that won’t require the user to balance the device precariously on their knees or wedge extra pillow under one leg when using the tablet in bed. Does it succeed in accomplishing their goals? Let’s take a look.
Let’s get this out of the way immediately. As the title of this review indicates, this accessory is anything but refined. The packaging is fine, but it’s not exciting. The experience of taking it out of the box is fine, but it’s not exciting. And the actual hardware is fine, but it’s not exciting. Are you seeing a pattern here?
But before you come to the conclusion that I don’t like the accessory let me say this: the tablift isn’t exciting, but it doesn’t have to be since it gets the job done, and it gets the job done well.
From the company:
…the perfect solution for solving the challenge of using your tablet hands-free in bed, on the couch, or just about anywhere other tablet stands don’t dare go. The tablift works with virtually ANY tablet, full sized or mini.
What makes the device so functional is the combination of four independent flexible legs, a three-position base and an elastic holder that keeps the tablet where it needs to be. Let’s look at each of these three aspects of the tablift.
Four Independent Flexible Legs:
Each of the four legs can be positioned in such a manner that, when put together, they can create a firm base on the most varied of surfaces. It might take a bit of adjustment to get the stand both solidly footed AND holding the tablet in a horizontal position but once that is achieved the tablet will stay put without the need to keep one hand on it at all times.
A Three-position Base
Depending on your position you may want your tablet leaning a bit forward toward you or you may want it leaning a bit away from you. This is especially important if you are trying to get the best angle for minimal glare. The base of the tablift has three large slots so you can position your tablet in the manner that offers the best, and most comfortable, viewing angle.
An Elastic Holder That Keeps the Tablet In Place
Once you have determined the right viewing angle for your needs you simply take the elastic cords, pull it up to the top of the tablet and place the hard plastic “clamp” on top. The elastic does the rest.
I would have appreciated the “clamp” having a soft material covering it since it comes into direct contact with the tablet and I hope they add that in version 2 of this product.
If, however, you find that there is too much elastic for the tablet you are currently using, this was the case with my iPad mini, you simply pass the strap through the base and, in the process, effectively shortening the strap.
It is far from the most refined approaches to holding your tablet in place but it works!
If you are looking for something that is aesthetically pleasing and looks like a work of art, something that Apple themselves might have developed, then keep looking; the tablift is not for you. If, however, you want a stand that really works and will let you watch video on your iPad or read a book on your Kindle handsfree, then you might want to check this product out. It truly is an unrefined stand that gets the job done.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample of the tablift
What I Like: Works!; Holds your tablet in a variety of positions and creates a solid base on almost any surface; Device agnostic
What Needs Improvement: Not attractive or refined; Clamp is hard plastic that comes into contact with your precious device