Twelve South’s Compass is a compact, elegant, and multi-functional stand for the iPad. Made from heavy gauge steel, the Compass provides sturdy support for your iPad while you watch movies, read articles, or type. But, it folds up compactly and fits in an included case, so you can stick it in your backpack or bag and take it with you. At $39.99, it’s not a cheap stand, but it’s certainly not as expensive as the Joule ($129) which we reviewed here.

The Compass arrives neatly packaged in a fairly small box. When you open the box, the Compass sits displayed on a red, velvet like surface. Included in the box is a thank you card and a black soft case for the stand.

The first thing you’ll notice when you take the Compass out of the box is how solid it is. This is not a flimsy piece of equipment. The front legs fold out to the side, and the back leg angles out behind, so essentially, the Compass becomes an easel. Two feet fold forward from the front legs creating a place for the iPad to sit. Although the stand itself is made of steel, any surface your iPad touches is covered in silicone, so you needn’t worry about metal-onmetal scratches. The two front legs where the iPad rests have silicone pads; the circular top of the stand sports a silicone insert (which ingeniously displays Twelve South’s emblem); and the bottoms of all the legs are covered in silicone as well, so the stand will not slide on slippery surfaces. The design of this stand is aesthetically pleasing and utilitarian—beauty and function are seamlessly integrated.

You can position the iPad on the stand in portrait or landscape orientation for viewing pictures, watching movies, or consulting a recipe while cooking. The 60 degree angle of the stand is not adjustable. Although Twelve South states on its website that you can move the back leg forward slightly to create a more upright angle, they do not recommend this because it makes the stand less stable.

The back leg contains a smaller foldaway leg that positions the iPad comfortably for typing. This really adds to the value of the stand, in my view, because not only can I use the stand on my desk to display pictures, I can also take it to meetings to type notes directly on my iPad (no external keyboard necessary).

What’s Macgasmic: The Compass is a must-have accessory for anyone who wants a beautiful and portable stand for their iPad. It folds up into a compact 7 x 1 inch package when it’s not in use. But when you want a solid, unobtrusive easel for your iPad, the Compass unfolds into an elegant, no slip frame. I especially appreciate the fact that the Compass offers a perfect typing configuration, because typing on the iPad when it’s on a flat surface is terribly uncomfortable. Another added benefit to the Compass’s design is that you can use the stand while your iPad is in a case. This is one of my major criticisms of other stands on the market: many don’t accommodate an iPad in its case. So, you either have to ditch your case or not use a stand. The Compass works whether your iPad is sleekly naked or in a comfortable, protective cover.

The easel foot doesn't fold flush

What’s Not: I only have one minor criticism of the Compass iPad Stand. After I un-boxed mine and unfolded all the legs, I noticed that one of the easel feet did not fold back flush into its metal leg. Honestly, this does not affect the function of the stand at all; it’s merely an annoyance. Some readers might not be happy that you cannot adjust the viewing angle of the stand. So, if that’s important to you, you might need to look elsewhere for a stand that offers multiple viewing angles.

If you need a stand for your iPad, you should definitely take a look at Twelve South’s Compass. Like all of Twelve South’s designs, the Compass is elegant, well made, and useful. Plus, it is compact enough to carry with you anywhere.

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