A week or so ago I was sitting in the local coffee shop eating a bagel, drinking coffee, and writing a review when a guy sitting at a table near me came over to ask about my writing setup. He was fascinated by the Stowaway Bluetooth keyboard and the Satechi R1 Arm Hinge Holder Stand. It was the first time I started using the R1 Stand and I was still getting use to incorporating it into my mobile writing station, which typically is nothing more than my keyboard and my iPad 2 propped up on its Smart Cover.
I told the guy as much and he thanked me and left. Not more than ten minutes later a woman interrupted me to ask about the R1. I let her take a closer look and smiled while she flexed the double-hinged arm and hefted it, appreciated the R1’s weight.
Barely 15 minutes after the woman left another man queried about the R1. He said, “When I first glanced your way I thought you had brought in a desktop computer, until I looked closer. That’s pretty neat!”
And so it went on for the next hour. The shy or more harried took noticeable looks from a distance while the more social offered approving comments about my setup and the R1 in particular.
I’m sitting in the coffee shop again today while writing this review and the glances continue. It would appear that Satechi has a winner on its hands. But do they really?
The Satechi R1 Arm Hinge Holder Stand (that’s actually the truncated name!) is a tablet stand made of nicely machined aluminum and sporting two hinges, which lets the R1 fold into a flatter profile for storage. The R1 has a matte finish and has rubber mark guards in strategic places (on the bottom of the large foot and the cradle that holds your table).
Instead of creating a stand specifically for a naked iPad 2 Satechi wisely opted to let their stand accommodate the broadest range of tablets possible by using a cradle to hold your device. The benefit is that the R1 can hold an iPad 2 with its cover folded back or other relatively thin tablets.
With the cradle you give up a bit of security. Since the stand doesn’t have a death-grip on your tablet as stands made specifically for the iPad might, and relies on gravity to keep it in place, it is conceivable that the device could fall out of the cradle if positioned poorly. However, that should not be much of a concern, just don’t position it poorly. It is a stand, after all, and not a mount. I’ve been using the R1 for over a month and have never had a tip-over incident.
Breakfast with my iPad 2, keyboard, and Satechi R1
Another difference between the R1 and some other stands are the hinges. Other stands that lift the tablet off the table tend to have only one hinge to adjust tablet’s presentation angle. The R1’s second joint allows some height adjustment and, as I mentioned earlier, lets you fold the whole affair into a packable package. That extra elbow also opens more position possibilities, not all of which are useful, but options now exists where they never did with other stands.
A closer look at the R1 hinges
Using the R1 is a joy. I only have an iPad 2, but the R1 is substantial enough to hold larger, heavier tables and still feel stable. The higher screen position makes extended writing sessions a tad more comfortable, and it adds a bit of pizzazz to my otherwise staid writing station. The hinges stay put too, in whatever position you set them, so there’s no drifting down due to the weight of your iPad. You might want to check that with heavier devices, however.
How long the hinges will remain tight is anyone’s guess; there’s no way to tighten them, so if does start drifting after lots of use then you’ll either have to put up with it or buy a new stand (or complain to Satechi). The R1 comes with a 1 year warranty.
My only real complaint is that it would be nice if the R1 folded flatter. The included cloth sack helps, but a flatter package would present fewer hard edges that might ding more delicate backpack or briefcase companions. Also, even folded and sacked, the R1 is bulky and that may make some want to leave it at home.
It folds, but it could be flatter
It’s great to review a device the does what its makers claim it will do. The Satechi R1 Arm Hinge Holder Stand may be a mouthful, but it works as advertised. Plop an iPad or other tablet in the R1’s rubberized cradle and feel confident it will hold your device at the height and angle you set it at, creating a more comfortable writing session while making it all look good, too.
Beyond the fact that the R1 is well engineered, the extra hinge is the real differentiator. It lets you adjust the R1 to accommodate a wider variety of positions some others stands will never be nimble enough to execute. If it folded flatter it would make carrying the R1 a bit easier, but given that other similar stands don’t fold at all, it’s hard to complain.
The R1 works and works great. If you’re in the market for a tablet stand I suggest the you take a look at the Satechi R1 and Get It Now*!
|Satechi R1 Arm Hinge Holder Stand
Compatible 7” to 10” tablets: iPad, iPad 2, ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab, ViewSonic gTablet, BlackBerry Playbook, HTC Flyer
* Note: My rating system goes like this;
- Get it Now! - Highest rating and an absolute must-have
- Highly recommend - Minor flaws, but a great product
- Recommend - Flawed, but still a solid product
- So-so - Problem product that may find a niche market
- Avoid - Why did they bother making it? A money waster.