Category: Keyboard stands
Works With:iPad, Apple Wireless Keyboard
Price: $67 as tested
The Nimblstand is an accessory for the Apple wireless keyboard, a kind of organizer and iPad stand which can be used on the desk or the lap. As such, it needs to be compared to the InCase Origami Workstation, the established gold standard for such things.
Which isn’t to say that the Nimblstand doesn’t have its own distinguishing features.
What It Is
The Nimblstand is a perfect fit for Apple’s aluminum Bluetooth keyboards, with a cylindrical slot into which you slide the cylindrical battery compartment of the keyboard. It also has slots at the back for propping up the iPad. There are two of these, one to use while typing, and one to use while, uh, not typing. In both cases, there are two angles to choose how steep you want the iPad to stand. The idea is that you can use it easily on your lap or on a desk.
Whichever orientation you choose you can access the home button through a cutout on either side, and there’s also a nifty wedge that can be slitted into the back for an even more stable base, This slim wedge fits underneath the keyboard when not in use.
There is also storage for a Wacom stylus in the base, and a hole to prop it up and keep it to hand when in use. Finally, there’s a little hole in the top so you can see the status light of the keyboard within.
The Nimblstand is as small and compact as such a case could be while still remaining steady in use. It’s also very light and a weight-saving cutout in the accessory wedge/stand acts as a handy handle for carrying it.
The large base is also good for resting the iPad on the lap while typing, and the same rubber strips that stop it slipping on the desktop will help to grip your thighs. And the dual-angle slots, which let you put the iPad at a steep or shallow rake whichever way round you’re using it are really great for laptop typing, letting you have the screen almost flat and in line with the keyboard.
In “drawing mode,” the Wacom stylus is angled away from you and kept in easy reach of your left hand. In short, it’s mostly pretty well thought out.
The first thing you’ll notice is the cheap-feeling plastic. It feels a lot like those plastic paper-grips that form a three-sided spine to grab the edge of school projects, and it has similarly sharp edges. That’s not to say it isn’t tough. It’s just that this particular plastic, while strong and light, doesn’t feel like it should be in a $50 stand.
The next part is the hole for the home button. When the iPad is set at its shallowest angle, the button is close to the hole and easy to access. But in its steeper orientation, you have to poke deep down to get to the button, Considering that you’ll be using the Apple keyboard here, which doesn’t have a home button on it, this seems like a big problem.
Last on the list of annoyances is the Wacom stylus. The stylus is great (one of my favorites), and you can order the Nimblstand with one included, but the hole that props it up is a little annoying. First, you really need to line it up exactly to get it to stay in there – hardly conducive to quickly putting it aside to type something – and second, it is super annoying when you leave it in this “ink-pot” whilst typing, as it pokes out and hangs over the left edge of the keyboard. The solution is of course not to keep it here while typing, but to stow it in the base.
Is this better than the Origami? No. The Origami not only acts as a protective case for the keyboard (the Nimblstand leaves the keys uncovered), but it’s also $20 cheaper. Then again, the Origami can’t be used on your lap (not without pain anyway) and doesn’t have multiple angles.
It’s fair to say that they have quite different use-cases, but both are designed for portable use, and here the unobtrusive and simple design of the Origami wins out. The Nimblstand is cool on a desk, but if you’re using the iPad on a desk, you don’t need a portable stand.
Product Name: : Nimblstand
The Good: Light, tough, comfortable
The Bad: Cheap-feeling plastic, hard-to-access home button
The Verdict A specialized piece of gear that does its job well.
Buy from: Nimblstand