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Joule iPad Stand Review: Stylish But Expensive

Illustration for article titled Joule iPad Stand Review: Stylish But Expensive

One month into the future, and I love my iPad more and more every day. I use it constantly, for pleasure and work. Lately, I keep it next to my computer on a Joule, a solid aluminum stand.

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Great Design...

Handcrafted in California in plain aluminum or anodized black, the Joule has a beautiful design. It reminds me of classic 70s European products. It's probably the only stand that actually matches the iPad design, even more than Apple's own. The slot in which you place the iPad is lined with black velvet, which sets the tablet firmly in place while avoiding any damage. It feels nice and solid, adding welcome weight to the iPad.

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Illustration for article titled Joule iPad Stand Review: Stylish But Expensive

...Not to So Good Function

It has three positions. The upper one is good for watching anything from a movie to a web page—I use mine to keep an eye on Twitter and some web apps, like Campfire. The lower position, which puts the iPad at a very low angle, is useful good for typing or while you are planning to stand up while doing something else (like cooking and following a recipe in Epicurious).

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You set these positions using an aluminum pole that magnetically attaches into three holes on the back of the base. I like this design as much as I don't like it: While this system is simple and works perfectly, I wish I didn't have to detach and attach the pole manually. I would have preferred a mechanism that allows to set the iPad to any angle by just pushing or pulling it.

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My other complaint is the lack of a built-in dock port, meaning that in its portrait position, you can't charge the iPad unless you put it upside down, with the docking cable sticking up. (This is neither convenient nor elegant.) But then again, if it had a docking port, you won't be able to set it to landscape mode without the cable sticking out a different way.

At $129, these two complains would make the Joule a no-no for many people. But if you have money to spare, you like the aesthetics, and you can appreciate fine craftsmanship, you will like the Joule. The good news for Gizmodo readers: They still have the GIZMJ3 discount code open, so you can get yours for $99.

Illustration for article titled Joule iPad Stand Review: Stylish But Expensive
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Great design, solid built.

Illustration for article titled Joule iPad Stand Review: Stylish But Expensive
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Nice magnetic pole support design.

Illustration for article titled Joule iPad Stand Review: Stylish But Expensive
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iPad's angle can't be easily adjusted.

Illustration for article titled Joule iPad Stand Review: Stylish But Expensive
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It costs too many rupees.

Illustration for article titled Joule iPad Stand Review: Stylish But Expensive
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Doesn't have built-in dock port, which is not elegant, but necessary if you want to use the iPad in landscape mode.

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DISCUSSION

I hate to bring up an old conversation, but I truly wish Apple would simply release a version of the iPad with a standard fold-out keyboard (perhaps that could switch to horizontal or vertical) similar to a Windows tablet so that it could solve all of these stand / angle issues. I just do not see carrying around both this dock and the iPad with me anywhere, and it still does not solve all of the angle issues of having the sucker on my lap.

The big advantage of the iPad is the "always on" feature which makes it a truly grab-anytime device for all of the daily uses the inter-tubes can bring to daily life - but having to spend a hundred bucks for a device that could be solved so easily based on the form factors used by Windows tablet systems seems silly to me. Yes, the standard iPad should stick around for people that refuse to admit that having a keyboard on the device is useful for no other purpose than having a built-in dock.