capsule review

The Lap Lounge makes the iPad 2 comfy to use

At a Glance
  • Targus Lap Lounge for iPad 2

    Macworld Rating

Much iPad use takes place when you're sitting on the couch, laying in bed, or relaxing on the patio, but most iPad stands are designed for use on a flat surface such as your desk. I sometimes used a throw-pillow to prop up my iPad on my lap, but that solution isn't very secure—one sudden move, and my iPad can topple to the ground and get damaged.

Targus's $50 Lap Lounge for iPad 2 aims to fill this use-the-iPad-in-comfort niche. Specifically designed for the iPad 2, the Lap Lounge securely holds your tablet in a plastic frame within a beanbag-cushion base that sits comfortably on your lap and lets you prop up your iPad, depending on your degree of slouch, at any number of viewing angles. The iPad fits snugly into the frame, either bare or with the very thinnest of protective back shells, but leaves the iPad's screen exposed.

If you need more of a propped-up angle than your legs provide, you can raise the rear edge of the built-in frame to form a stand—tension in the frame's hinge keeps it firmly in place, even when tapping the screen. This works fine for landscape orientation, but using the iPad in portrait orientation is a little awkward, as you must remove it from the plastic frame, rotate it 90 degrees, and then re-insert it. (There are two small, plastic tabs that keep the iPad secure in this position. The plastic feels a bit sharp, though, and while I saw no evidence of scratching during my testing, it seems like there's a potential to scratch the iPad's screen or aluminum sides.) While there's an opening in the frame for Apple's dock-connector cable when your iPad is in landscape orientation, you can't charge or sync when in portrait position.

The Lap Lounge features a number of thoughtful touches, such as a zippered side pocket that stores a carrying handle and can double as a place to store earbuds and small accessories. And if you're the type that uses a stylus with your iPad, there's a convenient stylus-storage loop on the side. Targus also says the design of the plastic frame should provide built-in sound amplification by directing the iPad's sound toward you, but I didn't notice the iPad's volume sounding any louder or more distinct while using the Lap Lounge.

In terms of size, with comfort comes bulk—unless you're traveling to your summer home and staying put for awhile, the Lap Lounge is not something you'd want to carry around with you. At 12 inches wide, 10.8 inches deep, and 3 inches thick, and weighing 1.7 pounds, it's more transportable than portable.

A few small aesthetic details about the Lap Lounge bugged me. One is the beanbag section's beige color. I know it's neutral and goes with anything, and I'm sure some people will have no issue with it, but it's a really light beige that's a prime candidate for dirt and stains. It would be nice to have a choice of other neutral colors, such as grey or black. The plastic frame, a lighter beige, is clean and sleek enough, but much like the color of early-1990s computers, it comes off as a tad cheap-looking.

Still, Targus has the right idea with the Lap Lounge, and many folks will appreciate the comfort and flexibility of the design. At $50, the price is reasonable, although I wish the product were more attractive-looking—more Apple-like, if you will—and had a better design for holding the iPad in portrait orientation. Notwithstanding those issues, this iPad stand may be perfectly suitable for your needs.

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At a Glance
  • Targus Lap Lounge for iPad 2

    Macworld Rating
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