Necessity truly is the mother of invention and Tom Nelson of Austin, TX has invented a way for iPad users to safely hold their iPads in the air with one hand for demo purposes without danger of dropping them and without blocking the screen. The product is called the Onhand X-Band
I was totally intrigued when I saw this product demonstrated, because I frequently find myself in the position of using my iPad to demonstrate apps for either the iPad itself or apps designed for the iPhone. I also use my iPad to teach others how to get started using an iPad. The fear of dropping my iPad is very real. There is no warranty against user clumsiness.
Usually companies ask me to review their products. This time I asked. I wanted to see if it worked as well as it seemed to work. For instance if someone with very small hands (like me) could use it as well as someone who has large hands, like the person I saw using it. I also wanted to see if the product really stayed in place throughout a real class session.
The X-Band is composed of 5 mm neoprene with nylon backing on both sides for comfort. The four corner “dog ears” are made of heavy 5 oz chaps leather. They are fastened with heavy-duty stitching and rivets. The rivets are covered so there is nothing to scratch or otherwise mar the iPad.
Using the X-Band
The center part (blue portion) is stretchy so it is easy to attach it. Once in place, it is up to the user to find the most comfortable hand position. The most common options are shown in the following images, but I found it to work best for me to put my hand through the center circle.
X-Band Hand Placement Options
I used it for a 30 minute session with a small group that included demonstrations of several iPad applications. I moved the iPad around a lot as I looked at it to manipulate the various functions and then turned it to show the participants. I never had the feeling that my iPad was in any danger of slipping or falling. At the end of the session the X-Band was as securely in place as it was when I began. The only casualty was my arm from holding up an iPad for half an hour because I’m such a wuss.
The Bottom Line
The X-Band is a simple, clever product with one function that it does very well. It allows the user to safely hold up an iPad with one hand to visually share the screen contents with others without fear of dropping, leaving the other hand free to work the iPad. At US$19.99 it is a good investment to help protest an investment of several hundred dollars.