With the plethora of iPhone, iPod and iPad accessories that come across my desk for review it has become a rare occasion that I become excited about an Apple peripheral such as an iPad case. Today’s review item falls into the latter category.
OWC was kind enough to send technogog the Newer Technology GripStand 2/GripBase bundle for the iPad 2 to check out. This product has plenty of utility besides functioning as just a simple iPad 2 case.
The GripStand 2/GripBase bundle for the iPad is multi functional hard-shell case protects and secures the iPad to while allowing it to be viewed in any angle in both landscape and portrait modes. It has a removable handle/foot for portability and a base for more fixed iPad 2 viewing.
Its hard plastic composition is designed to keep the iPad 2 safe from most types of trauma. In addition the GripStand 2 / GripBase Bundle for Apple iPad 2 also integrates seamlessly with the Apple Smart Cover.
This bundle arrives into separate packages. The NuGuard GripStand 2 comes in a plastic blister package, you know the kind where you need a scissor to dissect and hope you don’t get cut by the plastic. I wish this type of packaging would disappear. /end rant
On the front we see an image of front and back views of the case holding an iPad 2. The back of the package has openings for the handle/foot and rubberized bumper pads along with a list of features printed on the cardboard insert.
The NuGuard GripBase arrives in a much friendlier cardboard box with front and side view pictures on the front of the box. The side has pictorial instructions on how to use the GripBase with the GripStand. On the back of the package is a list of features for this base stand.
Opening the GripStand 2 package we find the case, instruction sheet and a Velcro strap inside. The GripBase also comes with instructions and arrives in two pieces (base and stand) with a Phillips screw for putting the stand together.
The GripStand 2 is composed of a hard black TPU shell with a gray rubber liner on the inside of the GripStand2. On the left side of the case is a cutout opening for attaching an Apple Smart Cover. The periphery of the case has openings for the headphone jack, microphone, power button, find controls, speaker and dock connector. The interior rubber lining is designed to grip the iPad 2 allowing it to sit flush with the case.
On the back we find an open space underneath the power button for the camera lens, four rubbery pads to keep the iPad 2 from sliding on the surface that it is resting upon.
In the center of the case we find the circular foot that can be rotated in 360° or removed to make the GripStand 2 a low profile hard-shell case with an opening for the Apple logo.
In the center of the handle/foot we see the Newer Technology logo. The stand portion has a rubbery gray grip to keep the iPad 2 secure in one’s hands. This stand can pivot out along 180° axis.
Between the rotation of the circular handle and the pivoting stand the user can orient the GripStand 2 into almost any configuration; whether it is in portrait or landscape for viewing the iPad 2 or angling it to use the virtual keyboard.
There are two gray locking levers on the side of the handle that must be pressed together to remove it. Once this handle is off you can use the GripStand2 as a case or attach it to the GripBase to turn it into a desktop workstation. The GripBase also allows the iPad 2 to be viewed in most any angle in landscape or portrait mode.
The GripBase is composed of 2 pieces-a weighted base with a rotating central disc and an arm with an articulating disc designed to pivot the iPad 2. On the back of the circular pivot is the Newer Technology logo. The GripBase is composed of black and gray plastic. The articulating disc has the same two gray buttons for detaching the GripStand 2 from the stand.
Extending the foot allows the user to orient the iPad 2 in whatever position they choose. The GripStand2 can be placed in portrait or landscape orientations. The handle allows easy one handed control of the iPad 2. It should be noted that they handle/foot does add some significant bulk to the Apple tablet. Thankfully Newer Technology addresses this issue by making the easily removable by pressing the two locking lever buttons along the handle/foot’s sides.
When just using the case the rubbery pads on the back keep the GripStand2 from sliding around on whatever surface it rests. All of the controls and buttons on the iPad 2 were easily accessible with the case in place.
The included Velcro strap can be attached to the back of car seats headrest allowing the GripStand 2 to hang from it via its handle/foot. This is the feature my kids loved the most as the iPad 2 became a mount display for games and videos. Additionally the GripStand 2 can be hung from a hook via the foot providing a wall mount for the iPad 2.
With the handle/foot removed, the GripStand2 is a low-profile hardshell case that should keep the iPad 2 safe from mild to moderate trauma on its back and sides. The front screen is exposed unless using the Apple Smart Cover.
In terms of appearance the GripStand2 is not very stylish in its appearance. This is my only peeve with this product. The case masks the industrial design of the iPad 2 behind a dull black and gray shell which may bother some people. To me the utility of the case makes this less of an issue but hopefully in future iterations the GripStand2 will be more colorful or unique looking.
My favorite feature of the GripStand2 is the ability to lock it into the GripBase making the iPad 2 into a fixed display. Setting up the iPad 2 in this fashion allows it to be used in various ways not found with other iPad 2 cases. For instance I used it in conjunction with the app air display to make my iPad 2 screen into an additional monitor when connected to my MacBook Pro.
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The GripStand 2 and GripBase are designed to go together like peanut butter and chocolate. By itself the GripStand 2 is a highly functional and well designed hard-shell case but when used in combination with the GripBase do you feel like the iPad 2 gains a new level of interactivity.
This bundle offers a multitude of options; the GripStand2 can function as a hard-shell case or a portfolio one when used in conjunction with the Apple Smart Cover. The removable foot/handle allows the case to be positioned in a multitude of angles for interaction with the iPad 2.
Finally the included GripBase let’s the iPad 2 working as a fixed stand display which is great for presentations, teaching or functioning as an additional display screen.
Although aesthetically the GripStand2 is rather bland in appearance there is very little else to be critical about this set up.
If you are looking for an affordable multi-functional iPad 2 accessory then the GripStand 2/GripBase Bundle for Apple iPad 2 is the one to get.
+Works as shell case or portfolio (combined with Apple Smart Cover)
+Limitless positioning options using the built in handle/foot
+Allows iPad 2 to function as display screen when used with GripBase
+Can hang iPad 2 in vehicle or off wall
-Appearance is rather uninspired
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