While iPad stands often feel like a dime-a-dozen commodity accessory after a decade of Apple tablets, we seem to be in the midst of a sudden renaissance for this product category. You have Kensington’s new StudioDock, which is impressive in both its size and feature set and comes with a price tag to match. Then there’s the Satechi Aluminum Desktop Stand that I wrote about Sunday and back in January. Now we come to a third high quality stand released this year that brings both great construction and a high level of versatility. This stand is the HoverBar Duo from Twelve South.
I’ve owned, used and reviewed a lot of iPad stands over the last decade, but this one is different. It’s an accessory that comes with two very different ways of using it, hence the Duo tag in the name.
First of all, the HoverBar Duo is a device stand, and a great one at that. It holds devices securely and the large weighted base, hinged arm and ball joint connector at the device mount allow the user the freedom to position their device pretty much wherever they want it.
Second, the HoverBar Duo takes a 180 and allows the user to leave the traditional stand base behind and replace it with a heavy duty mounting clamp that allows for all kinds of different location options.
That’s a lot going on for just one accessory, so let’s get into the details of how the HoverBar Duo works and what it can do.
Let’s take a look at the stand first.
Stan for this stand
As you can see, the base is substantial in both size and weight. This allows you a lot of freedom to position your device as you choose.
So why do I keep talking about “devices” when this is supposed to be an iPad stand? Even though it’s certainly geared toward iPads and can hold any of them, the HoverBar Duo has a device clamp that is spring-loaded to securely grip many different devices. It can support anything from a smartphone all the way up to both the 12.9″ iPad Pro and Surface Pro 7.
I even tried it with my Nintendo Switch for good measure.
This makes the HoverBar Duo a good deal more versatile than a lot of competing iPad stands.
Not only can the HoverBar Duo hold a variety of devices, but the long hinged arm and ball joint that the device clamp attaches to give you a lot of positioning flexibility. Whether you want to hold your device close to the surface the HoverBar Duo rests on for viewing or drawing, or hold it high to position it like a monitor, or next to a laptop or monitor to use as a secondary screen, this stand can handle it. The combination of the large weighted base and the long hinged arm is a real winner.
If I stopped right there, the HoverBar Duo would be a successful high-end iPad accessory. Now I feel an infomercial coming on…
But wait, there’s more!!!
The HoverBar Duo has a split personality. I say that because it isn’t just a stand. Removing the arm and device clamp from the base and replacing it with the mounting clamp transforms this accessory into something else entirely.
Let’s call it the ultimate kitchen or workshop accessory for your tablet.
Because of how substantial the HoverBar Duo is, swapping between the stand and clamp isn’t a a quick or easy thing. It isn’t too difficult, but it does require an allen wrench to remove a screw and then replace it when the other mount is attached. However, this allows you the ability to tighten and secure the mounts when you do swap them.
When it comes to using the HoverBar Duo with the mounting clamp, the first place my mind goes is the kitchen. That’s where you are likely to find the most surfaces that you can easily attach the clamp to. Kitchens have also become a very popular place to use a smartphone or tablet to either help you while cooking, or maybe distract you from it.
As you can see, there are plenty of surfaces that the HoverBar Duo will clamp to, even in the modestly-sized kitchen of a resort suite where these pictures were taken while my family and I were recently on vacation.
Of course, the kitchen isn’t the only place the HoverBar Duo works well mounted with its clamp attachment. For example, I also used it to hold my iPad Air at a hotel desk a couple of weeks ago.
Note how the ball joint allows the device clamp to rotate almost flat against the arm here, giving you even more positional flexibility than you might have expected looking at the other pictures.
Because of how sturdy the HoverBar’s mounting clamp is, the stand is rock-solid stable when used with it. As along as you tighten the clamp down sufficiently, your tablet is safe, even with the arm extended well beyond what the stand base could handle.
If there is one drawback to the HoverBar Duo, it’s that swapping between the stand base and the mounting clamp take some time, effort and a tool that you need to keep up with. However, that’s a very small gripe in the grand scheme of things. This design adds security and stability, and I’ll take that over a little extra convenience when it comes to holding an expensive device like an iPad.
Everything else about Twelve South’s HoverBar Duo is pretty outstanding. It is substantial (in a good way) and both functional and flexible. If this accessory were just a stand with a base or a stand with a mounting clamp, it would be a really good product. However, by putting the two together at a reasonable price for what you get, I think Twelve South really nailed it.
I mentioned at the outset that we have a glut of great tablet stands that have recently been released. That is true, but I think Twelve South has the best of these three strong products with the HoverBar Duo. It is the most flexible of the bunch and it’s also reasonably priced for the wide range of flexibility and functionality it delivers.
If you are looking for one tablet stand that can meet as many needs as possible, you should absolutely consider Twelve South’s HoverBar Duo. Unless portability is your biggest priority, I don’t think you can do better than this stand today.
The HoverBar Duo is available from Twelve South for $79.99.
The HoverBar Duo was provided for review on iPad Insight by Twelve South. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the About page.