NewerTech NuStand for iPad Has Design Flaws

| In-Depth Review

Nustand glamorThe Newer Technlogy NuStand Alloy stand for iPad is designed to hold the iPad upright, in portrait or landscape mode. Major design flaws, however, prevent it from fulfilling its potential.

This stand is basically an arch with a symmetrical slot in the center. The problem is that the iPad is not symmetrical: the front is flat and the back is curved. The result is that while the iPad can, if not jostled, sit upright in the slot and the intended 15 degree lean back angle, a slight bump can cause the iPad to rock forward. That’s because the flat face of the iPad offers little resistance in the slot, and the slot isn’t designed to prevent the rock forward. See the figures below.

In this second position, the center of gravity of the iPad falls outside the footprint of the stand. As a result, the iPad is unstable, and a very, very slight bump by a hand, a swivel chair (or a cat) results in the iPad falling flat on its face, possibly damaging it. Allowing the center of gravity of the iPad to go outside the footprint of the base is not good engineering.

Nustand - stable

Intended position, 15 degree lean back

There are other problems with this stand as well.

  • The stand is too small and the arch is too low. As a result, even with the short 30-pin plug supplied with the iPad, the cord is forced to turn at a sharp angle, and that crimp, with pressure, could cause the cord to fail in time.
  • The iPad’s home button is not easily accessible. One can reach under the arch with a little bit of effort, but doing so over and over will be tedious.
  • If you place the iPad in the stand, and then, later, wish to attach the 30-pin connector, you’ll have to lift out the iPad, snake the cord through the slot, then attach the cord. Then you’ll have to replace the iPad, and pull the cord back through to keep it out of the way.
  • When the cord is snaked through the slot in portrait mode, it stays out of the way, underneath the arch. But of you then turn the iPad to landscape mode, the cord will have to be pulled further through, and then it also competes with space inside the slot. That just creates a headache when changing orientations.

Nustand - unstable

Second, unstable position

There is another stand that, by comparison, has exactly none of these design problems, the Keynamics iPad stand, previously reviewed. You can also get a feel for that stand in the picture below. With the Keynamics stand, the cord can easily be attached without removing the iPad. The iPad is constrained to lean backwards, and in that mode, the center of gravity is well placed over the foot of the stand. It’s easy to change the orientation of the iPad. A shell case on the iPad doesn’t interfere with the cradle, and one can even push a keyboard under the iPad if desired, a little bit, if space is tight.

Keynamics stand-2
Keynamics iPad Stand has none of the same problems

I had a discussion with Newer Technology about the tip over issue. Their marketing manager pointed out that their testing consisted of pounding on the table, and I believe that the iPad won’t flop over to the unstable position as a result of that. However, there are other failure modes, as I described above: a swivel chair that knocks the iPad or a brush with the hand while reaching for something else. My feeling is that the slot should have been designed so that the iPad just can’t flop over to the unstable position.

This stand will work with some of the thinnest iPad cases, like the Newer Technology NuGuard Shell that I previously reviewed. However, that shell, because it preserves the shape of the iPad, doesn’t prevent the iPad from flopping over to the forward position. Making the slot wide enough to accommodate these kinds of thin cases results in not enough constraint to hold the iPad firmly at the intended 15 degree lean back angle.

The fellow I spoke with admitted that easy access to the home button is, in fact, a problem with this design.

On the positive side, this is a very nice, handsome piece of aluminum. The slot is well padded so as not to scratch the iPad. The four feet are also padded to that it won’t scratch the desk surface.

Customers who are considering this stand should know that it’s very well made and can do the job if great care is exercised. However, in the worst case scenario, often dictated by Murphy’s Laws, the iPad can become unstable in the stand and fall over. Because of that possible failure mode, I cannot recommend this product.

Product: NuStand Alloy

Company: Newer technology

List Price: US$24.95

Pros:

Solid, weil-made, handsome piece of alloy metal.

Cons:

Too much slack in the slot allows the iPad to flop face forward to an unstable position. In that position, a gentle nudge knocks the iPad on its face.

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