The holy grail of mobile devices like the iPad mini, in my opinion, is a bulk-free, cable-less charging system that can position Apple’s diminutive tablet in various ways.
Category: iPad stands
Works With: iPad mini
The iPort Charge Case tries to make this dream come true, but it doesn’t quite hit the mark. While the iPort stand can indeed hold my iPad mini in both portrait and landscape orientation at a wide range of viewing angles, the need to place my gorgeously designed device into a bulky plastic case sort of kills the whole idea of “mini.”
The iPort Charge Case and Stand does indeed have some very valid uses in and around the home, but ultimately, due to the way it changes the use experience of the iPad mini, it isn’t quite the world-changer it hopes to be.
The case consists of two plastic pieces, one that fits over the majority of the rear of the iPad mini, and one that slides onto the top of the rear case to fit together in the back. The larger piece has two charging areas, each with two small metal contact points, that connect to the stand itself to charge the iPad. The charging happens due to the small “iPort” piece that fits into the case and plugs into the iPad with a lightning connector.
The stand portion of the iPort Charge Case and Stand is a solid chunk of weighted plastic with two contact charging buttons in the cradle area, where the iPad can be placed in either landscape or portrait orientation. It plugs into the wall via a thick cable connected to a wall wart-type charging plug. I needed to be sure, especially in landscape mode, to put the side of the case with the charging contacts down into the cradle, rather than the opposite side.
When I did connect the case to the stand, it took a bit of wiggling around to make sure solid, charging contact was made between the case and the stand. Just setting it into the cradle wasn’t enough; I had to be sure the contacts touched.
All in all, this kind of need to pay attention to detail obviates the “charge and go” nature of the whole system, as it’s fussier to get to work than just plugging in a lightning cable to the iPad.
Once I got the hang of getting the case to charge when I set the iPad into the display cradle, the iPad mini became very usable. The support panel on the cradle is able to move back and forward along a fairly wide angle of tilt, making the iPad mini very usable in the kitchen or on a side table. While many other iPad stands I’ve used tend to wobble a bit when I tap on the screen, the iPort Charge Case and Stand is a solid piece of business, with barely a wiggle present, even with careless use. Adjusting the angle is a breeze, as well: I simply press in the two chrome metal buttons on either side of the stand, and then tilt to the desired angle.
However, removing the iPad mini from the stand still leaves me with the iPort case. The added bulk really makes my iPad mini feel thick and heavy. I wound up taking it out of the iPort to use around the house, to read in bed, and to pass along to the kids. I don’t want the extra heft the iPort adds. I was, however, able to use the iPort case with Apple’s Smart Cover; there seems to be similar magnets on the left edge of the case that mirror those in the iPad itself.
The iPort Charge Case and Stand isn’t quite the world-changer it hopes to be.
Ultimately, the iPort Charge Case and Stand is a very good idea, but the implementation in this current iteration leaves a bit to be desired. If it weighed less, added less bulk, and was less fiddly to charge the iPad with, I might consider using it on the iPad mini in more than just testing circumstances. For now, however, I don’t see spending a hundred dollars on it.
Product Name: : iPort Charge Case And Stand
The Good: It’s solidly designed, and using the iPad in the stand is wiggle-free.
The Bad: The case adds too much weight and bulk, while the stand can be a bit too fussy to easily connect the charging contacts.
The Verdict For the price, this is a tricky one to recommend.
Buy from: iPort Store, Apple retail stores in US and Canada