Back in elementary school, I remember when our class got the original iMac, in all its Bondi Blue glory. At the time I saw it as a machine to play games like Nanosaur and Bugdom, but in hindsight it helped foster my growing computer literacy—a skill that would prove invaluable. Flash forward to today’s classrooms, where computers like iMacs have been replaced by tablets like the Apple iPad. Despite the many advantages of tablets, they’re not the most comfortable devices to use. Belkin has developed the Tablet Stand with Storage ($39.99 direct) with education and ergonomics in mind. It not only provides comfortable positions for propping up and typing on tablets, but also gives students a small compartment for toting supplies from classroom to classroom.
Design and Features
The Tablet Stand with Storage is designed with gentle curves, sturdy plastic, and grippy rubber surfaces. It has a wide base and lip, suitable for larger tablets like the iPad, and a translucent storage compartment. The lip on the front allows you to prop tablets upright, which is useful for watching videos or browsing the Web, while the sloping top allows for a more reclined position, for typing or tasks that require a lot of touch input.
The stand is compatible with every iPad, Kindle Fire, Galaxy Tab, and basically any tablet that is less than an inch thick. I tested it with an iPad 2 and an iPad mini—both fit fine, though I found that the lip covered a bit of the screen on the mini when in landscape orientation. The top of the stand is covered in a slip-proof rubber, which holds tablets securely in place in the more reclined position. While it’s no substitute for a physical keyboard, typing using the stand is more comfortable, as you don’t have to crane your neck over a flat desk to see the tablet’s screen.
The transparent storage compartment measures about 7.5 by 4.5 by 2 inches (HWD), making it a good space for pencils, scissors, calculators, cell phones, and whatever other small supplies students might need—it’s not big enough for books or notebooks. There’s an indentation on the front for popping open the storage space, but I found it required a bit of force to open. You also can’t open the storage with a tablet propped up in the stand. It is, at least, secure when closed, meaning it will be good for students who need to carry the stand from classroom to classroom with supplies in tow. It’s reminiscent of those classroom desks with storage compartments underneath, only smaller and more portable.
Belkin also makes a $24.99 Tablet Stand that shares a similar look and feel, but nixes the storage compartment in favor of a thin, light, and easily stackable design. Both models are available in two-tone blue, two-tone green, or gray finishes.
Both the Belkin Tablet Stand and Tablet Stand With Storage are simple but thoughtfully designed, and useful in classroom settings. The former is simple and easy to deploy or store with minimal setup and a stackable design, while the latter features a storage compartment that makes it easy for students to tote their supplies from class to class. Most importantly, both will help promote proper posture and improved angles for typing and other touch interaction. My biggest concern is the price—at $25 or $40 a pop, they could weigh heavily on already constrained school budgets. Then again, if you have enough funds to furnish a classroom with iPads, investing a little more for an improved experience is probably worth it.
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Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc