Arkon Travel Tablet Stand Hardware Review

Arkon Travel Tablet Stand Hardware Review

Jun 30, 2015

Easy does it.

Yep, that is my moto when it comes to accessories for electronics. You can the coolest high falutin’ helpers, but in the end, it just seem like the best accessories are easy to handle, move and implement. Why have a piece that is more complex than the smartdevice it is supposed to support?

The Arkon Tablet Stand is one that seems to fit this bill… at least, on the surface.

The retail unit Arkon sent us was simply packaged, and contained the unit for review and documentation. It possesses a unique design; at first glance, with the unit folded, one might be forgiven for not being impressed. At rest, it looks like a somewhat irregular piece of plastic. Closer inspection shows that it is actually made of three joiined pieces — arms, if you will — that can be pulled apart from an axis. The axis is intricately constructed, such that the arms move somewhat independently of each other, but are still able to form a shape. Two matching form the base, and the third arm, which is padded and jointed, becomes an adjustable support. It is simple, yes, but the way it is conceived allows it to be pretty sturdy in action.


A strong point for this solution is the overall efficacy. because of it’s adjustable nature, it can be used with several devices of different sized in either orientation. The back support can be adjusted, and this allows the viewing angle to be tweaked, which can be invaluable; the base arms have grooves, which help with stability.

The uses are too many to list. It was used to create a “monitor” to type up this review. It can be used to take in media, videochat, or everyday browsing. It just works.

Obviously, the portability is a big benefit. Because it can be folded up, it easily fits in one’s go bag, or even pocket. I was even able to tuck it into a tablet sleeve with the tablet.

All the moving parts give me pause; the arms are a bit stiff, and the ratcheting system could be a point of weakness down the line. This is conjecture on my part, so I am willing to give the whole piece the benefit of the doubt.

For now, it’s on my favorites list.

Samsung Ultimate Accessory Pack Review

Samsung Ultimate Accessory Pack Review

Feb 16, 2015

Ah the fun of buying new a smartphone! It’s always great having a brand new device to fiddle with, play games on or just enjoy using, especially if it’s a behemoth like the amazing new Note 4. However, a new phone means having to buy a new raft of accessories. Luckily, our friends at Mobilefun have a useful bundle of vital accessories available to get new owners of Samsung’s phablet up and running.

Billed as the Ultimate Note 4 Accessory Pack, this kit contains everything that a new smartphone owner might need.

First is the ever useful Micro Suction Desk Stand. This is a universal stand that will work with any phone model. It is a small, easily portable stand with a micro suction pad that sticks instantly to any phone. Using it is as simple as pushing the phone firmly onto the pad. Mobilefun have managed to do this in such a way that the sticky pad does not feel sticky at all to the touch and does not leave any nasty sticky residue on your device. The connection between the phone and the stand is very strong too; shaking the stand around will not dislodge the phone and you can rest assured that it will not fall or slide off. The stand even includes a plastic plate that can be stuck to the stand. This allows phones without flat backs, such as those in cases to be used with the stand without having to remove the phone from the case. This is a really nice feature.

Next is the Universal In Car Mount. This is a very important item for most any mobile phone owner. It sticks securely to the dash of your car and allows a clear view of your phone for actions like GPS and voice replies to SMS. The holder’s arms support any phone from the gigantic Note 4 to smaller iPhones. The suction cup uses a unique twist-lock mechanism that causes the device to stick fast to glass. It also includes an adhesive pad that allows it to stick to other surfaces like plastic.

I found this a bit problematic however. I tested this by sticking the phone to my fridge. After about half a minute the phone holder itself came away from the suction part and my phone ended up on the floor. The second item I tried, the suction cup failed and the entire holder ended up on the floor. While a great idea and very simple to use, I would not trust this device with very heavy phones.

Next is the Universal Car Charger. This is a familiar charger than plugs into your cigarette lighter and charges your phone. The device also includes an additional USB port to allow charging of two devices at once. This is very good.

There is also a smaller mini desk stand/desk stylus included. This is small enough to fit in a wallet and is very useful.

Also included is a basic Perspex case. It only covers the back of the phone, but it feels solid and does the job. 5 screen protectors are also included.

All up the Samsung Note 4 Ultimate Accessory Pack is a solid pack of useful items. The stand and the car charger work great and the case and screen protectors are a good starter set, although the car holder is a bit unreliable. For $30.99 its a bargain. Recommended!

Thanks to our friends at Mobilezap for providing the items for this review.

Bracketron NanoTek Stand Hardware Review

Bracketron NanoTek Stand Hardware Review

Jan 16, 2014

We drop quite a lot of money on mobile devices. With good reason, too. They are the ultimate business, entertainment and everything in-between tools. But after purchase, it just makes sense to dress them up right. Protection. Accessibility. Extended functionality. And more.

Some accessories promise to give a combination of features, and this is just what the Universal NanoTek Stand from Bracketron purports to do. It comes in silver or black (we received a silver review unit).

The stand itself comes in very subtle but strong appearance. The main stem is made out of aircraft grade aluminum, and curves into a short sided V-shape. A wide T-shape is cut into the metal frame for cabling, and each end has black padding. Nothing is sharp or overly demonstrative, with soft edges and an appreciated lack of glinty touches.nano2

What is truly intriguing is the advertised NanoTek technology. It works in a slick way as a soft adhesive, so that a smartphone leans back in the the cradle, held by only this black material. It’s pretty slick, and makes for easy placement and retrieval. The adhesive is strong enough to hold my cased HTC EVO 4G LTE, though not permanently; really weighted devices tend not to be held in place, but larger phones, such as an uncased Sony Xperia Z, work just fine without leftover residue. In my experience, it tended to help to wipe the padding periodically.

The T-shape slot for charging cable isn’t effective with my phone in the upright position (the charging port is the left, not the bottom), but works swimmingly with devices that are more conventionally constructed. It does work with my phone in landscape orientation.

In practice, the stand is reasonably sturdy, balanced on flat surfaces and feels durable. Because of its portability and design, using with a keyboard or as a consumption holder is possible. In this, it provides multiple usfage opportunities, good for a somewhat permanently placed accessory or even as a part of a go bag.

It’s another fine tool from a trusted company, and it is always pleasant to try something so small but yet relatively useful.

The NanoTek Stand can be obtained from the Bracketron website for $29.99, and elsewhere, like Amazon for $18.86 before shipping. It comes with a year-long warranty.

KickStarter Spotlight: The Catchall

KickStarter Spotlight: The Catchall

Dec 19, 2013

This week’s KickStarter Spotlight focuses on a small project; something that is awesomely cheap and might help the less organized like myself. Every night I leave my phone, wallet, keys, and other extraneous peripherals scattered across my apartment, and then frustratedly spend 15 minutes the next morning scrambling around trying to find a misplaced item. I have tried it all, bowls, nails in the wall, even a custom dock or two; no dice. My more frugal side asks the inevitable question; why would I buy something that I could easily either make my own, or simply grow some responsibility and remember to put my wallet on my desk at night. Two things will sway this small voice: a product that is visually interesting as well as inexpensive.

Viola, that very product is exactly what The Catchall is; a smartly-made bedside stand that is constructed of two interlocking, self-supporting piece of wood that have spaces set aside for glasses, keys, a charging phone, a wallet, pens, and a watch or bracelets. The whole “charging phone” aspect is probably the most crucial, however, without it this whole project would be entirely 1980’s and not worth it. A small slot is cut out in the bottom of the ledge that holds the phone and allows the phone to sit upright with the charger falling though the bottom. No finagling cords through a the back of a encapsulated stand that crimps the end of the cord, and it also frees the cord up to be used for something else other than just charging.


The construction is also very intriguing. Two pieces of high quality, all hardwood plywood connect to create a bottom edge and upper back that support themselves and serve as something that creates a good amount of visual interest. The whole thing is cheap to boot, the sanded, unsealed version is going for just $20, and with an extra $5 the whole assembly will be sealed with a clear coat giving a great light wood sheen. Personally, I ordered the unfinished option because I wanted to stain it myself, and I am actually fairly grateful I was given the option. So, as I said before, this week’s Spotlight shines on a small project, but one that is accessible to many because of the low price and nearly universal need. Please give The Catchall a look and consider helping deserving entrepreneurs and their incredible product.

KickStarter Spotlight: F.U.M.M.

KickStarter Spotlight: F.U.M.M.

May 29, 2013

Start looking around KickStarter for a while, especially in the smartphone section, and one thing becomes apparent. People are really working hard at making the next great smartphone holder. I could go a long time doing these KickStarter spotlight on different projects that, with varying degrees of adherence, will grip tight to iPhone and Android alike. But, today we have picked out one of the best, and seeing as it is such a popular topic that has been mostly avoided it was due. What I was most looking for was a high degree of flexibility; both in the variety of phones it can hold, and the amount of different positions it can hold said phone. This week our spotlight shines on a simple and incredibly versatile device that goes by the acronym of FUMM. While it probably is not the sexiest product name, it stands for Flexible Universal Mobile Mount, which could not be any more accurate.

The mount looks great; being made of two black pads connected by three hard, malleable tubes. On both ends are two magical silicon nano suction pads that incredibly grip to any flat, clean surface without any adhesive or tricky positioning. This works by using millions of tiny suction cups instead of the typical single, large one. The connecting tubes are designed to hold their shape for an extended period of time and the project’s page details how exacting the developer has been about obtaining the correct product from suppliers.


While I do not regularly use stands like these very often, I very easily could see myself using something like this every day. The FUMM is small enough to be easily stashed away because of it’s incredibly thinness, and it is not out of the question to place it in a back pocket for a while. My experience with those silicon nano suction pads has been hit-or-miss, but as long as the consumer is willing to clean it and keep expectations leveled there is no reason to believe they will be let down. If this product was on the market and I was forced into buying a stand I cannot see any reasons why I would not pick this up. What makes supporting their project even more enticing is that, for a limited time, pre-orders are only going for $30 which is $5 off a very reasonable market price. The FUMM seems to be well on its way to KickStarter success with more than $4,500 raised in just 4 days. As always, this project will only be funded if it is fully funded and with over $30,000 still to go every little bit helps.

KickStarter Spotlight: Podprop

KickStarter Spotlight: Podprop

May 2, 2012

One often mocked feature of my HTC EVO 4G is its convenient kickstand. People just love to comment on that flimsy piece of plastic that allows me to prop my phone precariously on its side calling it ‘excessive’ and ‘worthless’. However, for the few times I watch movies or display clocks, (such as the previously reviewed DoubleTwist Alarm) the ability to stand my phone on its side is an overlooked convenience. Most phones, however, do not come with this inherent feature, and for those who read from them at night or just want to keep notifications in view at a desk are left wanting. A recent KickStarter project has an almost stupidly simple design that delivers a consistent and flexible hold for basically any device while still allowing for charging. Podprop is a stand for any electronic device, be it an tiny iPod Nano to a gargantuan PSP and anything in-between.

Made out of a durable polyurethane foam this stand can be placed on any surface, flat or not. The stand has two grooves in its central well to allow for portrait and landscape display, and it is encased in a durable vinyl coating that firmly grabs onto anything that does not fit in the well; allowing for viewing at any angle and greater device compatibility. At the bottom of the well is a hole that allows chargers and cords to be inserted through a small channel that runs along the base so the Podprop stays flat on the ground even while charging.

The Podprop is debuting in four colors and will be exclusively be made in America. A bonus for fans of a previous blog post about the Pebble E-Paper watch; the Podprop was specially designed with that product in mind. So, help give the Podprop a chance, retailing for around $15 this is a cheap buy that is only possible with the aide of the internet.