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LapWorks iPad Recliner

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At a Glance
  • LapWorks iPad Recliner

LapWorks has long made a number of good portable laptop desks and stands, so it was only a matter of time before the company entered the iPad-stand market. But while LapWorks' laptop desks tend to be slim, portable, and elegant in their simplicity, the company's iPad Recliner is surprisingly bulky.

The Recliner consists of two main pieces: A large, curved body made of silver-colored plastic with black-rubber along the top and bottom, and a black-plastic, adjustable leg in the back that attaches using a bolt and hand-tightened nut. A square, plastic piece covers the top of the bolt, and that square piece fits in a wide groove in the body of the Recliner. By loosening the nut, you can adjust the height at which the leg fastens to the stand's body—and thus the angle at which the stand reclines. The Recliner can hold your iPad anywhere from approximately 20 degrees from horizontal to around 15 degrees from vertical.

The design of the Recliner is such that you don't need to tighten the nut for the stand to be stable—the weight of the stand itself keeps the leg from moving. In fact, if you don't tighten the leg's bolt, it's easy to quickly adjust the angle of the Recliner by simply lifting the leg off the desk and then using your finger to move the leg up or down in the groove. However, if you don't tighten the nut, the leg will slide on its own when you lift the stand.

As mentioned above, the Recliner is quite bulky: 8.2 inches wide at the widest point, and a whopping 13 inches deep with its leg at the position that provides the lowest angle. This depth presented a problem for me on both the desks in my office, as I regularly had to clear room for the Recliner to fit. Even in its most upright position, the Recliner is nearly 9 inches deep. And unlike other iPad stands we've tested, the Recliner's all-plastic design looks and feels, well, plasticky.

When you place your iPad on the Recliner—the stand's deep, shelf-like base accommodates an iPad in even the bulkiest of cases—the iPad is held in place by the aforementioned rubber strips. The stand is quite stable—thanks to the extra-deep base, there's no way the Recliner is going to tip over, no matter how hard you tap or type on the screen. However, since your iPad sits directly on the deep, solid base, there's no room for connecting a dock-connector cable to charge or sync unless you position the iPad in landscape orientation (or flip the iPad upside-down so the dock-connector port is at the top).

Instead of the soft-rubber or silicone feet used on most iPad stands I've tested, the Recliner has rubber "rails" on the bottom to hold the stand in place. The hard-rubber used for these rails isn't as tacky as a softer material would be—the stand slides more easily than most of the other stands I've used—but once you place your iPad on the Recliner, the added weight keeps the stand in place reasonably well.

The wide range of angles you can achieve with the Recliner is a definite benefit. However, while a number of iPad stands have a "typing" position that positions the iPad at a slight incline for easier touchscreen typing, the Recliner isn't very usable for this purpose. Even at the Recliner's lowest angle, the deep, shelf-like bottom of the Recliner got in the way of my hands when I tried to use the iPad's onscreen keyboard. And if you opt to not tighten the leg's adjustment knob, resting your hands on that protruding base results in the stand shifting upright.

Unlike LapWorks's laptop desks and stands, the Recliner is bulky and feels a bit clunky in use. But it's also solid and provides a wide range of angles for propping up your iPad. If you've got the desk or counter space and your main use for an iPad stand is to keep the iPad upright for watching video or using an external keyboard, the Recliner will do the job. But if you're looking for more versatility—for example, better portability, the capability to charge and sync while in portrait orientation, positions that are more conducive to onscreen typing—there are better options out there.

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At a Glance
  • The Recliner provides a solid base for an iPad when watching video or using an external keyboard, and it offers a wide range of angles. But it's bulky and a bit clunky to use, and it isn't as versatile or attractive as a number of other products in the same price range.

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