Tablet stands are a dime a dozen nowadays, but few can boast the same level of build quality and flexibility of the Tablift. Initially funded by a Kickstarter back in 2012, the Tablift tablet stand is a product with one simple purpose – allowing you to use your favorite tablet in whatever position you darn well please. Whether you are on the couch tweeting while you watch your favorite TV show or slouched in bed, the Tablift is made to hold your tablet so you don’t have to.
I’ve spent a a good amount of time using it with my Nexus 7 as well as an iPad and, while it does have a couple issues, I have gotten a lot of good use out of it.
The Tablift keeps it extremely simple with its design. Sitting atop four adjustable legs is a solid base that houses your tablet of nearly any size. Attached to that is the strap that keeps your tablet from falling into your face during late night browsing in bed. It’s no more than a bungee cord with a clip on it, but it works perfectly. The legs are extremely flexible (if a bit difficult to move sometimes), but stay locked into position really well. It takes a surprising amount of force to collapse the base and make the legs spread out, so unless you accidentally put all your weight on it I suspect that it is near impossible to accidentally knock it over with normal use if set up properly.
Another ingeniously simple touch is the fact that it has notches on its base at different angles. Whether your tablet is sitting at, above, or below eye level there is always a way to have it sit comfortably. It may also involve some finagling with the legs to make the front ones shorter or taller, but almost every angle imaginable is possible.
But, to put it bluntly, the Tablift is ugly. At first glance it looks like something from War of the Worlds with its spindly legs, bulky midsection, and jet black coating. Especially after using it in some places around the house, it becomes apparent just how much of an eyesore it is at first. No matter where you put it, it’s going to look like some mix between modern art and a cybernetic spider with the terrifying face of a Nexus 7.
I’m sure its off-putting appearance will be a turn off for some, but the design is pure function of form and that’s perfectly fine by me. Even the way it handles multiple screen sizes and how they are held is rather brilliant. That strap I mentioned previously can simply loop through a hole in the center of the midsection to make it “shorter” and accommodate different screen sizes. Whether it was my wife’s 10″ iPad or my own 7″ Nexus tablet, they were always held in snug and never once felt like they would fall out.
There are however some issues with its size and weight. Partially a side effect of the Tablift’s dedication to keeping the stand as solid as possible I’m sure, but the device is an absolute monster. Weighing in at xx lbs, it instantly reduces how portable it and your tablet becomes if you ever want to take it out of the house. It’s a little collapsible, but not nearly enough to make it truly portable. If a zombie apocalypse were to break out while walking around town with this in your backpack, it would be your weapon of choice, no doubt.
Doing one thing and doing it well is what the Tablift does best. No matter where you want your tablet to be docked, be it on the couch, in bed, on a table (while you’re standing), or even on the floor, it is not going to disappoint.
Even from the first couple hours of trying it out, I never had a single doubt that the Tablift would lose grip of my tablet. If it tells you anything about my confidence in it’s ability to hold on tight and for the base legs to not slip out of place, my primary use for device was above my kitchen sink. It’s not an even surface whatsoever, but I was able to put the legs and different angles on different objects and it held without swaying one bit.
The bungee cord that holds your device in place is extremely tight. To be honest, I was worried about it bending my Nexus 7 at first just because of how tight it holds on, but there is not even the slightest hint of that. Instead, it was just always snugly at eye level while I did the dishes.
Tablift is actually advertised for use on your couch or in bed and it works flawlessly as well. Even on a big soft couch with plenty of moving and odd angles, the Tablift’s legs held strong and would always keep my Nexus 7 back in it’s original position when I stopped moving.
Dropping tablets and phones on our faces while using them in bed is kind of a fate we’ve all just accepted as a fact of life, but the Tablift solved that issue pretty easily. It’s not perfect at doing this if you want to lay down flat, but with some trial and error with the legs you can get it just how you want it and comfortably watch YouTube or do whatever you want. Even still, it works best if you prop yourself up with some pillows, which may not be the ideal use.
This solid build quality and range of angles doesn’t come cheap however, as purchasing a Tablift will set you back $60. This is where my only real hang-up with the product comes. The folks at Tablift were kind enough to send me a unit for review, and while I certainly enjoyed my time with it, I can’t imagine I’d pay the cash for it if push came to shove.
If you really need a free-motion stand for your tablet and nothing else, then the price tag absolutely justifies it. The problem with the price comes with versatility. As I mentioned previously, the Tablift is a extremely heavy and not-at-all portable. You’ll have the choice to use it at home and have houses guests question why you have a giant mechanical spider in your home and that’s about it. Taking it anywhere is pretty impracticable due to its bulk.
In a world of much cheaper docks that also include speakers and other add-ons, paying $60 for just a dock and nothing else isn’t an easy pill to swallow unless you absolutely need the extra range of motion. But even after being satisfied enough with the product, being on my couch is not something I can’t live without at the end of the day.
If a Tablet stand to let you use your device of choice on your couch is what you want, and you are willing to pay $60 to get it, you will absolutely not be disappointed in the Tablift. It is an undeniably solid device that does exactly what is says flawlessly. While a bit on the ugly side, it does not compromise its function or design for the sake of looking pretty – which something I really appreciate about it. And that does it for our Tablift review!