The Cooler Master JAS Mini is small, light, very simple, offers almost infinite viewing angles, and fits well with the Apple design aesthetic. I travel a lot, about 150,000 miles a year, so the weight of my gear is very important to me. With some trips taking as much as 36 hours door-to-door, any extra ounces in my gear bag have me walking crooked for days after. So I walked down to the local Apple Store to find a stand for my iPad Air to use on airplane tray tables for games or movies, and for at my desk(s) typing with the Apple Bluetooth keyboard I carry. My criteria were: size, weight, viewing angles, and stability.
I pulled all the available stands off the wall and immediately rejected all but two because of weight, size, or design. The two that remained were the Compass stand, for which I’d read many good reviews, and the JAS Mini that I’d never seen before. I took both out of their packages and whipped my iPad out of my bag. The Compass was well designed but seemed unnecessarily fussy, with lots of little parts to deploy. And it didn’t feel as stable as I wanted with those two tiny feet as all that was holding my iPad up off the desk.
The JAS, on the other hand, cannot be simpler. It consists two curved pieces of anodized aluminum stock, held together in the middle by a large hinge. Wide rubber feet in the front and back provide lots of stability and keep the stand from sliding. The front foot contains an outward facing groove that the bottom of the iPad fits into. Two rubber O-rings on the hinge protect the back of the iPad. The iPad sits almost on the surface the JAS Mini is resting on, keeping the center of gravity exactly where I want it, very low. This is handy when experiencing unexpected turbulence at 30,000 feet. The hinge in the middle is infinitely variable, offering every angle you’ll need, from typing almost flat, to almost 90 degrees upright. The hinge has just the right amount of friction: it’s easy to adjust but will never adjust itself. You can use the JAS Mini with a smart cover or a smart case so there’s no fiddling to take things apart first.
The JAS mini is a light-packer’s dream: it weighs 2.2 oz, and folds flat to 4-1/2” by 2-1/4”. It’s earned a permanent spot in my gear bag and I use it at home, my office, and everyplace I travel. I should mention that the JAS Mini is listed for use with the iPhone and iPad mini. Cooler Master suggests you use one of the good-looking but much larger iPad-specific stands they offer for my Air. But the Mini has worked great for me and I don’t want the extra size and weight. Here’s an Apple Store link to the JAS Mini. It’s $29.95, online or in person.