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Entries in Floorstand (3)

The Flote m2 floor stand review

For many people the iPad has become a part of everyday life. We use it for communicating with our friends and family, for consuming news and entertainment media, for organising our lives, for creating works of art and even playing games. As Apple works hard at reduce the size and weight of the iPad, it becomes more accessible, more intimate.

It’s so embedded in our lives that we often multitask when using it. Therein lies the problem. Like us, you’ve most likely tried to prop up your iPad in all kinds of precarious positions. Propping it up against a couple of cushions for some bedtime reading is pretty easy, but neck fatigue soon sets in. Propping it up on the corner of the bath to watch a movie is a little more challenging, and certainly has bigger risks than muscle fatigue!

This is where an iPad floor stand helps. By allowing hands-free iPad usage, the iPad can become even more accessible in a host of situations. But what makes the Flote m2 worth its $299 price tag? Why pick the Flote over other cheaper floor stands?

Key features

The Flote is an impressive piece of design and a remarkable example of quality engineering. It consists of three key components, a heavy base, a foldable telescopic arm and a spring loaded clip, all constructed from high quality lacquered metal, no cheap plastics here!

The clip is perhaps the most innovative aspect of the design. As you can see from our photos, the clip is held in position at the end of the telescopic arm by a powerful magnetic ball joint. This joint allows for close to 360° of movement. It is spring loaded and be opened to 20 centimetres, or thereabouts. Not wide enough to grasp the iPad Air by it's short edges, but plenty wide enough to grasp it by it's long edges.

The base is very heavy. The weight is necessary though, for without it the stand would topple with the telescopic arm at full reach.

This combination of parts makes the Flote the most useful iPad floor stand we have ever used. It means the iPad can be positioned a metre above ground height while extending a metre across a desk, sofa, bed or bath(!). It means that in its full vertical position it can hold the iPad almost 2 metres high. In any of these positions the magnetically attached ball jointed clip can itself be positioned at practically any angle. It’s quite remarkable.

What we liked

It’s beautiful, certainly the most beautiful iPad floor stand we’ve seen, and as we have already mentioned, it’s something that even Jony Ive would be proud of. The silver lacquered finish complements Apple products perfectly. The solidity is reassuring, and the build quality almost faultless.

We’ve been using the Flote for a couple of months and have found it to be more useful than any other floor stand we’ve used previously. Being able to ‘hover’ the iPad at almost any practical height and at all angles makes the iPad even more usable in certain situations. It’s not just iPads, almost any current tablet, e-reader or large smartphone (phablet) will fit the clip. For example, we were just about able to use it with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, albeit in a rugged case.

A few concerns

We have just a couple of concerns, things that you should be aware of before considering the Flote. The weight of the base, a necessary feature of such a flexible stand, means that it’s only luggable. By luggable we mean that carrying it from room to room is possible, but not recommended. I carried it for just over a mile in order to take the photos you see here, let’s just say it was a good workout!

The clip features rubber pads to protect the iPad from scratches. They work as intended when the iPad is in position, but the edges of the clip could potentially scratch the iPad when putting it into the clip. For this reason, we would not recommend using the Flote with a naked iPad. The clip is big enough to take almost any sized tablet in any sized case, and we recommend that you take advantage of this.

Wrap-up

For some people the Flote will make life with the iPad more enjoyable. Watching movies, FaceTiming family, reading, even painting are all enhanced by the Flote, but for the disabled or the elderly, the Flote could well be indispensable. It’s not cheap, but then neither is the iPad, and like the iPad you are paying for the quality of the industrial design and it's extra utility over lesser products.

It’s impossible to cover every question in a review, so if you have anything specific you’d like to know about the Flote, please ask us in the comments section below.

Purchase link: The Flote m2 floor stand

Standzfree review - Creative usage and concluding thoughts

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If you've not yet read the first part of our Standzfree review please go and do that now, it's a well built iPad floor stand that I've used everyday for the last two months. Watching movies, reading books and video calling are all greatly enhanced by the Standzfree floor stand, but what about some more creative uses?

I've been compiling a list of things I've used Standzfree for, some of which may surprise you. I'll start with the obvious and move on to some that you may not have considered.

Painting

As Susan highlighted in a comment on yesterday's post, Standzfree is a near perfect way of holding the iPad for painting. Painting with the iPad whilst being completely free to move around and use both hands is quite liberating. Though the iPad will wobble slightly whilst being held in the Standzfree floor stand, if you are using a low resistance stylus like the Sensu or Nomad, you'll be just fine.

Music creation

Standzfree will truly come into its own during live performances, and should come in handy to any musician with limited desk space. Whether you're play a virtual piano or playing a real guitar whilst reading music on the iPad, Standzfree comes in handy.

Virtual desk space

I regularly use a bluetooth keyboard when composing long passages of text on my iPad. It's a solution that works fine whilst seated at a desk, but trying to balance both the keyboard and iPad on my lap whilst sat in the lounge is a pain. With Standzfree, I can sit and type comfortably with the keyboard on my lap and the iPad suspended just above it.

An iPad tripod

This one is a bit esoteric, but if you regularly conduct video interviews Standzfree could be your new best friend. Standzfree can act as a perfectly usable tripod. The ball and socket joint combined with the flexible neck make it almost ideal as a camera tripod.

Wrap up

At the $99.95 the Standzfree iPad floor stand is not an insignificant purchase. However, if like me, your iPad has become your primary computer, both for consuming and creating content, then this fantastically flexible accessory could be for you.

If you have any questions about Standzfree, just ask me in the comments section below and I'll do my best to answer them.

Standzfree is available for purchase from Standzout.com at a price of $99.95.

Further reading: Part 1 of our Standzfree review

Standzfree review - Could this fantastically flexible iPad stand be an essential accessory?

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Looking for a suitable object or surface on which to prop up my iPad has become something of habit of mine. The new iPad has almost totally replaced my MacBook for practically all most home computing needs and many of my work computing tasks. Its simple slender design, without the fuss of a laptop's clamshell case or the bulk of a desktop's frame makes for a more intimate (especially when creating content) and much more zen-like experience.

However, there are times when the intimacy of the iPad turns out to be a weakness. Having to constantly hold the iPad with one, and sometimes both hands, can, in some situations, suck much joy from the experience. This is certainly true when consuming media - watching movies, reading books, listening to music, etc., but, as we shall see, it's also the case for many creative endeavours.

Perhaps Standzfree, the flexible floor stand from Standzout, could step in to provide a perfect solution? That's what I intended to find out.

Hardware and design

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Standzfree arrived flat-packed ready for self assembly. Essentially, it consists of just three components. The base, a sturdy V-shaped metal plate about 5mm thick. The neck, a flexlible metal tube. The head, a ball and socket joint connected to a plastic iPad frame. The materials used are of a high quality. The painted black metal base and neck seem extremely tough, even after two months of daily use there is not a single scratch, dent or ding to be seen. Though the plastic frame seems somewhat less robust, my initial fears have turned out to be completely unfounded, Standzfree is built to last.

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Setup and general use

Using the tools provided with the kit, I had Standzfree fully assembled in less than 10 minutes. As I was planning to test Standzfree with an iPad 2 and the new iPad, I had to apply the three foam spacers to the centre of the frame and the two corners.

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Fitting the iPad into the frame is simple. You push two corners of the iPad into the two corners of the frame, you then simply push the iPad into the frame and wait for the satisfying snap as the clip on the opposite end of the frame pops into place. It's a simple yet effective way of holding the iPad in place without obscuring any ports, switches, cameras or the speaker.

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Adjusting the neck and head of Standzfree is effortless. You achieve the height and general position that you require by bending the neck. Out of necessity, the neck is quite stiff, but at no time did I ever feel that it was too rigid. Fine tuning the angle and rotation of the iPad (it can be rotated through a full 360°) is accomplished with the ball and socket joint. It's entirely possible to tighten the ball and socket joint to the extent that the iPad will stay in any position under its own weight, but still remain free enough to reposition with only a minimal force.

During the last two months I've used Standzfree to great effect. With the iPad held in Standzfree, watching TV and movies is a complete joy. Whilst sat on a couch, Standzfree enabled me to position the iPad at the perfect height for movie watching. It also, of course, left me free to flick through a magazine or do some work on my MacBook without any hinderance.

One scenario where Standzfree truly comes into its own is reading in bed. Like most people, I enjoy reading my favourite book or newspaper whilst being fully relaxed and comfortable. Reading in bed on the iPad with the aid of the Standzfree is just the most relaxing reading experience I've found, you really have to try it for yourself to appreciate it! Lazy Sunday mornings are now complete.

Video calling via FaceTime or Skype is also greatly enhanced with Standzfree. It's possible to position the iPad at the perfect height and distance from those engaging in the video call. It really does make for a much more satisfying video calling experience than holding the iPad in your hand or propping it up on a nearby desk. If you spend quite a bit of time video calling, Standzfree could be your perfect accessory.

Another unexpected use for Standzfree was as a speaker stand of sorts. The iPad comes with a huge range of music playback options and a good, but small, internal speaker. With Standzfree I was easily able to position the iPad in any room of the house and at a height that gave the small iPad speaker the best chance at filling the room.

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As you can probably tell by now, I'm quite taken with the Standzfree floor stand. Head back here tomorrow for part two of this review, where I'll be exploring some of the more creative uses for Standzfree and offering my concluding thoughts.

Standzfree is available for purchase from Standzout.com at a price of $99.95.

Further reading: Part 2 of our Standzfree review