Three years ago, I reviewed an iPad stand by Thought Out called the Stabile PRO. I gave that product a great review at the time, and three years later I am still using it every day in my office. That stand holds my iPad up almost as if it is a monitor, and I frequently look at a document on my iPad in that stand while I am drafting a memorandum on my PC's monitor right next to the Stabile PRO. I highly recommend the Stabile PRO, and the only real downside is the price. (It currently costs $109.99 when you buy it from Thought Out.) Thought Out recently developed a new entry-level stand, made out of the same materials but at a fraction of the price at $29.99. This new stand is called the Simplex. Thought Out sent me a free sample for a review, and I've been trying it out for the last week. The Simplex is a fantastic stand. It isn't as versatile as the Stabile PRO because you cannot adjust the angles, but it works really well.
The Simplex is made of steel, and it is very strong. Thought Out says that this is solid American 13 gauge steel, 0.9 inches thick, and weighs 1.25 pounds. If you needed to reach for an object on your desk to use in self-defense, this would be a good one to reach for. How a product rates as a self-defense item is not normally a feature on my checklist for iPad accessories; I mention it in this review simply to emphasize that this is a high-quality, substantial product.
The strength makes the Simple incredibly stable, and four non-skid feet on the bottom of the Simplex keep it in place on your desk.
The four arms of the Simplex are covered with vinyl holding pads, so your iPad only makes contact with the soft vinyl surface and won't get scratched.
The overall design is so stable that you can tap and swipe your iPad with any degree of force that you want — from an iPad mini to the largest 12.9" iPad Pro, in either portrait or landscape orientation — and the iPad will stay in place. The iPad doesn't currently support 3D Touch like the iPhone does, but if Apple does bring that technology to the iPad in the future, the Simplex stand will be ready for it.
The Simplex isn't raised as much as the Stabile PRO. Thus, your iPad doesn't look like it is acting as an external monitor, and instead simply looks like it is on a stand.
The bottom of the iPad when sitting on the Simplex is about 1.5" off the surface of your desk. If your iPad is in portrait orientation with the Lightning port on the bottom and you are charging your iPad, that 1.5" is ample space for the end of the cord to connect to the bottom of the iPad.
Design is subjective, of course, but I like the look of the Simplex. From the front, when your iPad is on it, you barely see the Simplex at all.
But when the Simplex is just sitting there on my desk, I think it looks almost like a work of art, a sleek design made out of a single sheet of steel.
Unlike the Stabile PRO, you cannot adjust the angle of the iPad. In the Simplex, the iPad is in a fixed 55° viewing angle. But in my extensive use over the past week with my iPad Pro 12.9", I found the angle very pleasing to use. I had to slightly look down to look at a document and then slightly look up to glance back over to my PC monitor, but there was nothing awkward about it. And when I spent an extended period of time reading cases, exhibits and pleadings with the iPad on the Simplex, I found my iPad to be at a great viewing angle.
I've been comparing the Simplex to the Stabile Pro because both come from Thought Out and they both have that solid steel which makes them heavy, strong and stable. Thought Out suggested that I also compare this product to the P2 Stand by Elago, and Thought Out even sent me a sample of the P2. The P2 is the same price as the Simplex, holds a tablet at a similar angle, and if you just look at a picture of the two products you might think that they are similar.
But the P2 is made of aluminum, not steel, so it is much lighter. The P2 is also smaller than the Simplex. And the arms on the Simplex are more spread out. For all of these reasons, the P2 is much less stable than the Simplex. Indeed, Elago doesn't recommend the P2 for the larger iPad Pro, and instead recommends the larger P4 (which I did not try) which looks like a larger P2 and is still made of aluminum. Also, the P2 doesn't completely cover its arms in vinyl like the Simplex does, instead just putting a small cushion where the iPad sits in the two arms. I'd be a little afraid of an iPad getting scratched by the edges of the arms of the P2.
I figured that Thought Out sent me the Elago P2 because it knew that the Simplex would compare favorably, so I did some searching online to see if there are any other high quality iPad stands made of solid steel with vinyl covered feet etc. I couldn't find anything that looked like it might match the Simplex, although given the huge universe of iPad accessories out there perhaps there is something else that I just didn't run across. But it really doesn't matter if the Simplex is completely unique or if there are similar products out there. What counts is that the Simplex is a sturdy, high quality, very nice stand.
After using the Stabile PRO for three years, I know how much I love that stand so it is the one that I will probably continue to use most of the time in my own office. But if I had never before used either product, I suspect that the $30 price would make me gravitate towards the Simplex.
If you are looking for a nice stand in this price range to provide sturdy support for your iPad when you are working at your desk, the Simplex is an excellent product. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Simplex to any attorney or other professional.
[UPDATE: Thought Out just provided me with a discount code for iPhone J.D. readers. If you use code O11OES40030 between now and August 19, 2016 for any $50 purchase direct from the Thought Out store, you will get a 20% discount.]