The iPad 2 flourishes when used lounging on a sofa, or in those twenty minutes before heading off to sleepytown, when you crave that little gaming or email fix. But not everyone uses their iPad in this way. The HandStand iPad 2 case is perfect for those who find public transport the only place they get time for their dose of tablet fun.
From the front the HandStand case looks like a standard silicone protector, with a shell of flexible, high-quality and pretty thick rubber. But the real draw is on its back, where the 20cm diameter circle of power sits. And no, that's not what HandStand calls it.
This ratcheted rotating circle lets you hold your iPad 2 at almost any angle, gripped to your mitt with the band of 2mm thick elasticated fabric on its back. A felt pad on the inside makes sure the movement doesn't hurt the tablet's anodised aluminium backplate. Although like a nude brass statue whose naughty bits have gone shiny, it might have an effect over a year's use.
Thanks to Mobile Fun for supplying our gloriously pink review sample.
Crucially, the turning mechanism has enough strength to ensure your iPad won't lose its composure after being held for a while - as you read on the way to work, perhaps. The design of the case part is fairly thoughtful too, with cut-outs for all the major ports and speaker grill.
However, there are a few issues that turn us off this unusual case. There's a hard plastic outcrop on the back circle, upon which your fingers are meant to rest, but the ergonomics of this part are limited. There are no grooves to keep your fingers comfy, and the edges are only rounded very slightly to avoid severe discomfort.
There's a practical reason for the hand rest's lack of curves, doubling up as it does as a stand, propping your iPad up at a slight angle. It's a neat idea, but imperfectly executed. And unless you have arms of steel, the weight may become an issue too.
The case is 262g alone, a good 100g heavier than a simpler silicone sleeve. When the iPad 2's 600g causes some bicep ache after a while of one-handed use, the HandStand's significant extra weight won't help. It's inevitable really; the rubber shell has to be pretty thick and sturdy, and therefore weighty, in order to house the hard plastic circle without it waggling about excessively, but nonetheless it's noticeable. That said, your arm muscles can be much more relaxed without the grasping motion required when normally gripping an iPad 2, so the HandStand case's comfort benefits aren't totally an illusion.
All told we can't quite lose the feeling that a little more attention to detail would have resulted in a better case, though. It's well-made, offers some genuine bump-protection for your iPad and stands out from the reams of identikit rubber cases, but it's a partial rather than unmitigated success.
The HandStand iPad 2 case makes holding Apple's tablet in one hand much more comfortable, and it's well-made for something that many may dismiss as a gimmick. However, we'd hoped for slightly better ergonomics for £30.