Want something more substantial than a prop-up stand for your iPad? Look no further, writes Hugh John
iPad stands come in a variety of formats, by far the most popular being those based on Apple's own design – a concertina-style front flap that can be flipped over and configured, Origami-fashion, as a back support. The iPad is therefore effectively propped up in some sort of V shape.
Nothing wrong with that but the Mophie Powerstand is a whole lot better. Trouble is, there's a price...
The common V-shape stands use a basic design but there are a number of drawbacks. The structure lacks a certain rigidity, the viewing height of the iPad screen is always fixed – as is the viewing plane – so that no adjustments are possible to minimise the effects of glare from indoor light or sunlight. There are alternatives, but unfortunately the best of them all redefines the meaning of 'top dollar'.
The Mophie Powerstand is one of those objects of desire that could have been built to military specification and conceived in Apple's own design studios. Flat-packed, the stand measures around 8 by 8 inches and is a shade over one inch deep.
The construction is solid aluminium and surprisingly light. A curved support arm is hinged to the base and this articulation determines the viewing height of the iPad; anything from desktop level to approximately 5 inches above. The third part of the unit is a sturdy T-shaped piece with chunky rubber grips at either extremity of the T and a larger grip at the bottom; this is what houses the proprietery Apple power socket. When the iPad is pressed into this socket it is capable of being charged or synced via a USB socket set into the base of the stand. And – neat touch or perhaps overkill, this – when the juice is running through the device two subdued white lights glow in the base. Very Apple; very Mophie.
In fact, anyone who has owned or used a Mophie 'juice pack' (a portable battery backup) will recognise the similarity between the Apple and Mophie business and design models. Both deliver stunning, must-have products; both assume that the buying public will not quibble about paying substantially more for well-designed and engineered gear. It's certainly worked for Apple, why not for Mophie?
Unfortunately, in this instance a £130 price tag from Amazon is a hefty amount to fork out for a stand, no matter how well made or attractive. A cursory search for the next most expensive stand brings up one from Logitech that weighs in at a shade under £40
In the education sector this stand may well be bought by discerning teachers for their own use, either in the classroom or at home. But mass purchases? It's going to be a brave or wealthy education buyer who signs off on 20 Mophie stands for a classroom in the present economic climate.
Ratings (out of 5)
Fitness for purpose 5
Ease of use 5
Value for money 3
The Mophie Powerstand is an exceptionally well built and engineered stand for the Apple iPad. It is compatible with all iPads and the iPad Mini (either 30-pin or the newer Lightning connector). Both versions, £126 and £129 respectively (free postage), are available from Amazon.