If you’re looking for an economical way to support your iPad on a table, desk, or counter top, you can’t go wrong with the Fellowes Study Stand. And it can serve double duty for reading books, newspapers, and magazines.
We’ve reviewed a slew of stands for propping up your iPad for viewing its screen. Most of them have been specifically designed for the iPad or iPad 2—and are priced accordingly. But people have been propping up books and documents for decades using inexpensive stands, and unless you’ve got very specific needs, many of those stands work just fine with an iPad, as well. So in the spirit of frugalness, I took a look at Fellowes’ budget-friendly Study Stand, which currently sells for only $5 on Amazon.com.
Chances are if you are (or ever were) a student, or if you just like to read at a table or desk, you’ve owned a Study Stand or something like it. I’ve used one for years as a book stand, and while it has some limitations for certain kinds and sizes of books, its utility as a sturdy tabletop stand for either version of the iPad is unquestionable. It will hold up your tablet—either by itself or encased in pretty much any case or cover—with the best of them.
Made of heavy-duty, metal wire with a chrome finish, the stand’s two arms fan out to hold your tablet at a single angle (50 degrees or so from horizontal). After use, the legs fold neatly in to create a flat package—9.5 inches wide by 6 inches tall—that easily slips into any bag or pack. Though its sturdy build gives the impression of heft, the stand weighs less than 5 ounces.
The stand’s only other parts are six tiny rubber endcaps that fit snugly over the rough ends of the stand’s three metal rods. These prevent scratches to your iPad and any furniture on which you use the stand. They also serve to keep both stand and the tablet in place. Although the stand’s top bar is bare metal, its finish is smooth enough that it shouldn’t scratch the back of your iPad under normal use.
The Study Stand holds the iPad nicely in both both portrait and landscape orientations. Unlike many iPad-specific stands, even the thickest case or cover presents no obstacle, and you can connect your iPad’s dock-connector cable for syncing and charging regardless of how the iPad is sitting in the stand. On the other hand, the stand offers little in the way viewing or typing angles, though its single angle works fine in both orientations for viewing video or photos, or for using an external keyboard to type a series of emails or your doctoral dissertation. It’s biggest limitation compared to dedicated iPad stands is that it doesn’t offer a low-angle, “onscreen typing” position. (Of course, the the Study Stand is primarily for tabletops or other level surfaces, so it’s less comfortable—and less stable—on the couch, in bed, or on your lap.)
One minor issue I had with our review unit was that one of the fold-out arms was attached to body of the stand a bit lower than the other—low enough that one of the rubber endcaps couldn’t be pushed all the way onto the bottom of the stand, leaving the stand slightly tilted. I ended up simply leaving off the bottom endcaps, which has no effect on the iPad itself, but does leave a metal end in contact with my desk. Given the low cost of the Study Stand, I suspect this anomaly isn’t uncommon, so if you’re concerned about the finish of your desk or table, this would be something to watch for.
If you’re looking for a super-economical way to support your iPad on a table, desk, or counter top, you can’t go wrong with the Fellowes Study Stand. And it can serve double duty for reading books, newspapers, and magazines.