The RingO iPad 2 Wall Mount, Car Mount, and Table Stand
Apple's iPad occupies an interesting space in the tablet market. As the Cadillac of its peers, the iPad has been replacing the home computer for many users who don't require the power and performance of a laptop or desktop. Dutch company Vogel's is betting that by making tablets more convenient to use, the number of such users will grow. Their new RingO mounting system provides the gear you need to go hands-free just about everywhere you go, even in the car, and is the most comprehensive package of tablet mounting hardware that I've seen to date.
By installing a universal RingO shell on your iPad, it becomes compatible with a variety of different mounting devices, including the table stand, the car mount, the wall mount, and the flexible mount. They're available individually, or as a set for $119.99. While not cheap, this is a fair price given the iPad's target audience. This should not be a prohibitive expense for someone who already spent $499+ on an iPad and is looking to get more use out of it.
The use cases for each these mounts are fairly obvious:
- The car mount affixes the iPad to the back off a headrest so that your kids can watch their annoying cartoon of choice.
- The wall mount gives your iPad a home in a common area (a free clock-face app is included) or a useful wall location such as a kitchen or workout room.
- The flexible mount is perfect for an office desk, and yes, I'm sure the joke is already on the tip of your tongue: the bathroom wall.
- The table mount props up your iPad on any flat surface, which you assume would have limited utility being that the RingO is smart cover compatible, but we'll get to that later.
Each of these products works well, but not in any way that stands out to competitor's products that serve the same purpose. Much like Voltron, though, the true power comes out when all of the pieces are used together. If you're going to need any combination of different tablet mounts, you might as well go with a common system, and RingO looks to be the best game in town. Adopting a common system for tablet mounting fits in with part of the Apple philosophy you are already embracing: everything should be intuitive and "just work," so why wrestle with different cases and clips for the different places you might use the iPad?
To snap an iPad in or out of its mount is a two-hand job, but it's incredibly easy. Pressure clips placed on each side will naturally meet your fingers when you grip the iPad. All that's required is a simple squeeze and pull, yet it requires just enough effort that you'll never question the grip these mounts have on your precious electronics.
The mount themselves, as I described above, are fantastic. The only complaints come from the RingO shell itself, which has some issues when used in conjunction with a smart cover. While the product claims to be compatible, it is so only to the minimum degree. Much of the "Apple magic" wears off when the smart cover has to content with the RingO shell, since the added bulk prevents the smart cover from folding into a horizontal stand (better keep that table stand mount handy). Speaking of the bulk, the RingO shell is quite slim at 17mm, but the size increase is still noticeable and will take some time to get used to.
An added inconvenience is the lack of magnets built into the back of the RingO shell, which means that even when used outside of its mounts, a RingO-equipped iPad's smart cover no longer has anything to grab on to while folded back. Hold the iPad the wrong way, and you'll have a floppy smart cover falling all over place.
Given all of these issues, you'll quickly find yourself choosing to either ditch the smart cover, or keep the iPad out of its shell. The only saving grace in that decision is that the car mount does come with a screen protector film (which are actually necessary to prevent glass shard injuries in the case of an automobile accident). Knowing that you are already protected from scratches might make saying goodbye to that smart cover just a touch easier.
As an added bonus, the RingO shell actually serves as an acoustic chamber, amplifying the audio from your iPad's speakers. This sort of passive audio amplification uses the same concept as cupping your hand under your smartphones speaker to boost its volume, except the case's body dose all of the work for you.
Even withstanding some of the complaints, its hard not to like the RingO system for what it delivers. I'd even like to see a more high-end product that incorporated inductive charging into the mount and shell system. As technology evolves, people are going to begin consolidating their devices, and the tablet may wind up being the survivor. When the day arrives that my tablet has become my home automation controller, I'm going to want a RingO mount in every room, so it's great to see that Vogel's is already ahead of the curve with a quality product.
Pros: Sturdy, easy to use, passive audio amplification, does not obstruct camera, reasonably priced as a complete set.
Cons: Barely-existent smart cover compatibility, does not dock or charge the iPad.
Disclaimer: Vogel's provided evaluation hardware for use in writing this post.