Just over a year ago, when I still used the first generation of the iPad, I reviewed an innovative product called the FreeOneHand, a device that fit around the four corners of the iPad and provided a handle so that you can hold the iPad in one hand. It quickly became one of my favorite accessories for my iPad, and I continued to use it with the iPad 2, even though it wasn't a perfect fit (for example, it covered up the camera). There is now a second generation version of the FreeOneHand that works with both the iPad 2 and the third generation iPad. It combines everything that I loved about the original FreeOneHand with a design that better fits the newer iPads and with a new collapsible handle. Ever since the company sent me a free review unit of this $40 product a few weeks ago I have rarely removed it from my third generation iPad. I love this iPad accessory.
The company sent me the white version of the new FreeOneHand, but it also comes in black. Since I use a black version of the iPad, that is the version I would have selected if I had purchased this item myself, but the white version looks fine too.
Like the original, this version fits around the four corners of the iPad. To use it, you first slide the side of your iPad with the home button into two of the corners, then you snap each of the other two corners around the iPad. Because the iPad 2 and third generation iPads are thinner than the original iPad, the second generation of the FreeOneHand is slightly harder to attach to the iPad, but you get the hang of it quickly.
Once your iPad is in the FreeOneHand, there is a knob on the back of the iPad that you can easily hold with one hand in multiple positions. Holding the iPad by this knob is much easier on your hands than holding the iPad just by the sides. Because less effort is required, you can hold your iPad with just one hand and for much longer before your hand experiences fatigue. If I have a long deposition or brief to read on my iPad, the experience is much better when I can hold my iPad with the FreeOneHand.
There are two primary ways to hold the device, both of which are shown off in these two pictures from the FreeOneHand website that I used with my review of the original unit. The first position is to slide the knob between your fingers. The second position is to put your thumb through the holds and grip the knob. I find myself alternating between both positions.
Here I am using the first position with the new FreeOneHand:
I also like using the FreeOneHand when I am giving a presentation with my iPad or when I am using it in court. The FreeOneHand gives you a much better grip on your iPad so that it is far less likely to slip out of your hand.
The second generation FreeOneHand has cut-outs to accommodate all of the holes and switches on the iPad 2 and third generation iPad, plus a hole for the camera. But the best new feature is the collapsible grip. With a simple push you can make the grip almost completely flat.
My main problem with the first version of the FreeOneHand is that it took up a lot of space when traveling. The collapsible handle solves this problem completely. I now keep my iPad in the FreeOneHand almost all of the time, and when I travel back and forth to work I simply collapse the handle and slide it into the Tom Bihn Ristretto bag that I take back and forth to work every day.
One final improvement in the new FreeOneHand is that the knob itself is more rubbery. Thus, you can use the FreeOneHand to prop up your iPad at an angle on your desk and the more rubbery knob provides enough friction to keep the iPad in place when you tap the screen. (The prior version would slip.)
The new FreeOneHand works with the Apple Smart Cover. I usually remove the Smart Cover completely when I am using the FreeOneHand since it just gets in the way of the FreeOneHand, but I like that I can easily attach the Smart Cover to protect the glass on my iPad when I slip it into a briefcase or the Ristretto.
The FreeOneHand is a fabulous device that makes it much easier to hold your iPad in one hand for an extended period of time. The new collapsible grip is great for when you want to slip your iPad into a briefcase or bag, and allows me to keep the FreeOneHand on my iPad pretty much all the time. If you like to lean back in a chair or a sofa and hold an iPad with one hand, I suspect that you will love the FreeOneHand as much as I do.
Click here to get FreeOneHand (second generation) ($39.94).