Now that I have found the Gripster, my search for the ultimate iPad holder/stand combo is over. The Gripster has been sold under a number of names–Targus SpinPad, S&D Spinpadcase, and others. From what I have been able to find, the version I have (branded as the Native Union Gripster) has been modified to accommodate the iPad 3 and 4, but it will still work with the iPad 2. The other lookalike brands are advertised only for the iPad 2 and may crack if used on the slightly thicker iPad 3 and 4.
My husband bought one of the S&D Spinpadcase brand ones for his iPad 2, and it seems a bit flimsier than the Native Union brand one that I have. And though mine only shows the Native Union brand name on the outside of the case, the inside of the shell has the Spinpadcase brand name printed on it. I believe S&D Spinpadcase was the original maker, then for a while it was sold under the Targus brand, but eventually it came under the Native Union brand and was improved and updated for the newer iPad.
Okay, with that confusion out of the way, let me tell you about this fantastic multifunctional case!
The Gripster consists of a hard shell that covers the entire back of the iPad and snaps on very easily. Attached to the center of the shell cover is a rotating grip/hub with a D-shaped handle. The handle swings out to any angle (within a 180-degree range), and the hub rotates 360 degrees, locking into place every 45 degrees for 8 locked positions. This design allows you to use your iPad one-handed, as well as in a number of table-top positions.
This is the first stand I have found that is virtually limitless in the standing angles it provides–for both portrait and landscape orientations. And, it’s also very comfortable to use one-handed. You can hook a thumb through the handle, grip the base with your fingers, put your wrist through it, and more. Because the design doesn’t put the handle dead center, it allows you to hold and balance the iPad more comfortably than any of the holders with a fixed-center hand strap.
The Gripster is compatible with Apple’s Smart Cover and has cutouts for all the iPad ports. It provides full back protection from scratches, though I doubt the hard shell would give much protection if you were to drop your iPad. The back of the Gripster is a shiny plastic that attracts every smudge and fingerprint. I wish it came in a matte finish, but the shiny plastic does look nice when it’s clean. The rotating hub and handle portion of the Gripster have a rubberized matte finish.
Depending on where you buy it, you can find the Gripster in a number of colors. I have seen it in black, white, gray, silver, red, and blue. Bed & Bath & Beyond sells all the colors online.
I have been using the Gripster for a couple of months now and it is fantastic! No matter what orientation or angle I want for my iPad, the Gripster can do it. The handle can also be flipped out to use as a carrying handle or to hang the iPad on a knob. For one-handed use, I have found a variety of ways to hold it, so I can vary my position and avoid soreness from staying in the same position too long.
When I don’t have a table handy, I fold my Smart Cover in half and use it to support the Gripster on my lap, in bed, or on the arm of my chair. I still use my CoylCushion for reading in bed, and the Gripster makes it even easier to the get the precise angle I need, and prevents the iPad from shifting and sliding on the pillow.
The Gripster does add a bit of weight and thickness to the iPad, but the tradeoff is worth it for the incredible flexibility it offers. The Gripster is always with your iPad, and repositioning the iPad with the Gripster is nearly effortless. My only regret about the Gripster is that I didn’t buy it in red!
Visit Amazon to purchase any of the iPad Holders mentioned in this article.