capsule review

Macessity KiiPad

At a Glance
  • Macessity KiiPad iPad stand

    Macworld Rating

    For using an external keyboard with your iPad on your desk or at a counter, the KiiPad stands out for its solid-steel construction, super-stable cradle, and stow-the-keyboard design. Provided you aren’t...

We’ve reviewed a number of desktop iPad stands, but none of them has been focused specifically on using the iPad with an external keyboard. Macessity’s $40 KiiPad, however, forgoes features such as adjustable height and multiple angles in favor of a low-profile design aimed at iPad wordsmiths.

Made from a single piece of solid steel and weighing 2.2 pounds, the KiiPad isn’t travel-bag friendly, but at just 12 inches wide and 5 inches deep, the KiiPad’s footprint on your desktop or countertop is only about half an inch wider and deeper than Apple’s Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard.

That size isn’t an accident—the KiiPad is specifically designed to be used with Apple’s keyboard. When you’re not typing away, they keyboard slides neatly underneath the KiiPad. With just over an inch of vertical clearance, the KiiPad also works with Targus’ Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard for iPad, Logitech’s Tablet Keyboard for iPad (outside of the Tablet Keyboard's own travel case), and similarly sized third-party iPad keyboards. Three openings in the rear—one in the middle and one on each side—make it easy to push the keyboard forward so you can slide it out. Four wide, plastic feet keep the KiiPad’s steel edges from scratching your work surface.

On top of the KiiPad is an iPad stand made of three metal chunks forged from the same piece of steel. The largest slab, 3.8 inches wide and 2.7 inches high, supports your iPad from the rear. Two smaller tabs, each approximately 0.7 inches tall and 1.0 inch wide, provide a solid “lip” to keep the bottom of the iPad from sliding off the front.

Together, these three supports keep your iPad propped up at an angle of approximately 50 to 55 degrees from horizontal in either landscape or portrait orientation—unlike with many other iPad stands, you can’t customize the angle. I found this single angle to work well for viewing the iPad’s screen while using an external keyboard. My only complaint about these steel supports is that they’re bare—if you’re not careful about placing your iPad in the KiiStand, the edges of the large rear support could scratch the back of your iPad. I recommend getting a couple felt or silicone pads for the top edge of the rear support.

In either landscape or portrait mode, your iPad is rock-solid stable. Firmly tapping even the top edge of the iPad’s screen results in little more than a minor vibration, and it’s easy to use all onscreen controls. This stable design also makes the KiiPad a good “easel”-style stand for drawing and sketching, and you can even play games while your iPad is sitting in the KiiPad. And, of course, you can watch video and view photos.

The KiiPad accomodates either an original iPad or the iPad 2, either bare or inside any but the thickest protective case. The only caveat here is that the thicker the case, the more upright your iPad will sit. Interestingly, if you’re using Apple’s Smart Cover, the magnets in the Smart Cover attach your iPad firmly to the KiiPad, making the setup even more stable.

In addition to the lack of multiple viewing angles, a drawback to the KiiPad is that its low-profile design means your iPad’s screen is positioned just above your work surface, forcing you to look down while you type. For longer external-keyboard typing sessions, a stand that puts the iPad closer to eye level, such as Rain Design’s iRest, or positioning the KiiPad on a shelf or other elevated location, would be better ergonomically.

Macworld’s buying advice

For using an external keyboard with your iPad on your desk or at a counter, the KiiPad stands out for its solid-steel construction, super-stable cradle, and stow-the-keyboard design. Provided you aren’t bothered by its low-to-the-desk viewing position, it’s an appealing option for iPad-centric writing.

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At a Glance
  • Macworld Rating

    For using an external keyboard with your iPad on your desk or at a counter, the KiiPad stands out for its solid-steel construction, super-stable cradle, and stow-the-keyboard design. Provided you aren’t bothered by its low-to-the-desk viewing position, it’s an appealing option for iPad-centric writing.

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