When I saw the Grablet, I had to try it. I knew it would be smaller and lighter than the Hand-e-Holder I had been using, and it offered many configuration options. Plus, it came in my favorite color, red! The Grablet consists of a plastic piece that snaps onto the back of your iPad, to which is attached a pair of straps with a handle.
The design is such that the straps and handle can be arranged in different ways, allowing the Grablet to be used as a one-handed iPad holder, a multifunction hanger, and also a protective case. The plastic back piece has cutouts for all the iPad ports, and is compatible with the Smart Cover. The front of the Grablet extends upward beyond the glass of the iPad at the corners and will protect the iPad screen from scratches if it’s placed face-down on a flat surface. However, the Grablet does not provide full back coverage, and I doubt it would protect the iPad much from a significant drop.
The Grablet’s two adjustable straps clip onto the back piece, and can be threaded through your choice of two different handles – simply choose the handle which is more comfortable or convenient for you. One of the handles wraps around the straps and is held together with Velcro, and has a metal ring tucked inside, which can be brought out for hanging the iPad. The other handle is flatter less bulky.
I found that I preferred to use the first handle (with the velcro) because doing so made it easier to adjust the straps or to free the straps if I wanted to hang the iPad. I could make one strap shorter and one longer in order to grip the iPad with my fingers around the handle and my thumb hooked on the edge of the iPad–a position I used often for one-handed reading. I also found it comfortable to hook my thumb and fingers through the straps in different ways for one-handed use. Because this (velcro) handle was thicker, I could use it to prop the iPad at a low angle on a table. I also figured out a few ways to use my Smart Cover in conjunction with the straps and handle to get a couple more table-top positions.
For one-handed use, the Grablet was the best of all the holders I had tried so far. The flexibility of the straps and handles made it easy to change my holding position when one position became uncomfortable. I liked the option of being able to hang the iPad from the straps, and I found many different ways I could prop the iPad using a combination of the handle, straps, and Smart Cover.
However, I did have to use another accessory–the Smarter Stand, discussed below–to really take advantage of the Smart Cover. On its own, the Grablet interfered with using the Smart Cover as a stand for the iPad. Also, the Grablet does not easily convert into any portrait orientations for table-top use. When I wanted to use my iPad in portrait, I’d have to hold it, or fold my Smart Cover into a triangle to use as a prop for a low angle.
The Grablet is pretty reasonably priced, especially considering all the configuration options it gives you–until you pair it with the Smarter Stand, as I did.
The Smarter Stand isn’t really a stand at all–it’s actually a set of clips that attach to the Apple Smart Cover or Smart Case to give you more configurations for propping the iPad on a table. It also comes with a silicone non-slip pad that you need to stick to the edge of your iPad to prevent it from sliding on smooth surfaces when you use the Smarter Stand clips. Without the Smarter Stand clips, Apple’s Smart Cover gives you two standing angles for your iPad. The Smarter Stand extends this to 5 or more table-top positions. It comes in 10 different colors choices, including clear.
I actually did not use the Smarter Stand clips in any of the configurations they advertise for it. I found a way to use it in conjunction with the Grablet that gave me two table-top positions that were ideal for my use. I used two clips on the outer-most hinge-point of the Smart Cover. This allowed me to fold the Smart Cover in half and prop the iPad in a viewing position by wedging the edge of the Smart Cover under the Grablet’s handle. For a lower angle typing position, I would leave the clips in the same place and hook the edge of the Smart Cover under the strap clips at the top of the Grablet. A bit difficult to describe, so here is a photo showing the two positions.
Used in this way, I did not need the silicone bumper provided–which is good because the first one was ruined when I tried to apply it, because the adhesive came off along with the backing strip as I peeled it off. Normally, the Smarter Stand includes two clips and one non-slip pad, but for a limited time they are packaging them with three clips and three pads. Though I did get some use out of the clips, overall, the Smarter Stand didn’t impress me, and it’s overpriced for a few small pieces of plastic and some rubber.
Another thing about the Gripster and Smarter Stand combination is that it added so much clutter, and detracted considerably from the sleek and simple elegance of the iPad. All these straps and clips were lighter and less bulky that previous accessories I had tried, but they just didn’t look good.
Fortunately, I found the amazing Gripster next.