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Old 07-27-2010, 11:12 AM   #1
scottjl
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Thumbs up Twelve South Compass mini-review

Received my Compass iPad stand from Twelve South today and thought I'd write up a mini-review after using it for a little bit. I won't include any images, you can see quite a few on Twelve South's web site.

The Compass is a metal easel type stand modeled after the old style compass you might have used in school to draw angles. It is made of silver machined aluminum with grey silicone along the various edges that may come in contact with your iPad or work surface to prevent scratches. It has several hinges that have solid metal pins for secure movement. The solidly built unit weighs 6.91oz (~196g) and comes with a small black velvet carrying pouch which has a red elastic loop to secure the case closed.

Folded up it is about 1" at its widest point and half that at the narrow (silicone covered) tips. It unfolds into a standing tripod configuration complete with extended pegs to hold an iPad in portrait or landscape positions. Given the very open nature of the design it easily accommodates the iPad in my Apple case and will likely support all but the thickest cases as well. The two pegs extend about an inch from the support legs and are completely covered in silicone as are the tips of the three legs that touch your work surface. The open frame does not hinder a cable connection in any way. In either portrait or landscape position the iPad leans back against the frame, a comfortable angle for viewing the screen if you are sitting in front of the iPad. If you are laying flat next to the stand (say in bed) it will be pointing up and be more difficult to see.

In addition to a standing position the easel has a "laid back" position using an additional peg leg (about 1.25" long) similar to the propped up position the Apple case allows. Portrait mode in this position works but is slightly unstable, landscape mode distributes the weight evenly and is less likely to tip. This configuration is useful for typing with the iPad (with or without the wireless keyboard) or watching movies while sitting on a plane. Again cable access is not hampered in any way.

The whole unit can be unfolded and folded within seconds, quickly packed away when the flight attendant tells you that you'll be landing shortly.

In addition to the previously mentioned case there is a small one-page instruction guide that includes suggestions on what to do with over-the-top packaging the compass comes in. If anything this is my only complaint, Twelve South seems to like to over-package their simple devices. Yes. I could reuse the box as a pencil box or gift box for another item, but I'd much prefer to recycle a simple cardboard box rather than the included plastic and fabric lined cardboard container.

The instruction sheet mentions using the stand with other devices like smart phones by adjusting the width of the spread supports. It easily held my iPhone 4 although it looked out of place on the large easel.

Overall, I give the Compass stand a 4.5 out of 5 rating. It is solidly built, very functional, packs up small and will work well without taking your iPad out of most any case. I believe it is fairly priced at $40 for the quality of materials used and workmanship put into the stand. If you're looking for a stand I would highly recommend this one.


A comparison note, I also previously purchased Twelve South's BooksArc stand which sadly goes unused. Also selling for $39 the stand works well for a naked iPad but I found it awkward to use with the Apple case, even though Twelve South makes the claim that the combination works well. This is a solid crafted piece of metal in an arch shape. A very unique and pleasing look it just was awkward for me to use and resulted in me putting it off to the side and ignoring it. Maybe it will go up on eBay now. I'd give this stand a 2 out of 5 and can easily recommend the Compass over the BookArc.
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Old 07-27-2010, 12:43 PM   #2
HarryT
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This sounds very useful indeed. Thanks for the review, Scott.
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