Hands-On With the TwelveSouth HoverBar Duo Stand for iPads

Defying gravity, hands-free

Key Takeaways

  • TwelveSouth’s HoverBar Duo may be the most flexible, useful iPad stand yet.
  • $80 is a lot for a stand, but you get more than your money’s worth.
  • The HoverBar Duo manages to stand tall and yet fairly wobble-free.
The TwelveSouth HoverBar shown in two different configurations.

TwelveSouth

It’s not perfect, but TwelveSouth’s HoverBar Duo is the most useful iPad stand I’ve tried. 

The HoverBar Duo is a sturdy, jointed stand, a kind of robot-arm that holds almost any iPad or iPhone. Its spring jaw is strong, and the base is reassuringly heavy. It’s not as simple to use as some iPad stands, but that’s its nature—a little complexity brings a lot of flexibility. 

"With a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse or trackpad on the desk below, this is an almost perfect portable setup, much better than a laptop."

How Much?

All iPad owners should buy a stand, but $80? Isn’t that a bit steep? Yes and no. While $80 is certainly not cheap, in my experience, TwelveSouth's gear lasts a long time. If you opt for a cheaper jointed model, picked at random from an Amazon search, you’ll likely end up spending more in the end.

If you prefer a cheaper stand, then get something simpler. I've used the AboveTech/Viozon iPad Pro stand for years. You can get one for under $40, and because it’s so simple (a curved aluminum foot, like the iMac, with a clamp up top), there’s little to go wrong. But it’s limited and lacks the HoverBar Duo’s best feature: Its height.

High Flyer

Fully extended, the HoverBar Duo brings my 12.9-inch iPad Pro almost to eye level. When typing, that’s an ergonomic necessity to stop you craning your neck. With a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse or trackpad on the desk below, this is an almost perfect portable setup, much better than a laptop.

But the height also enables some other neat tricks. One is to bring the iPad up next to your computer display. With a Mac, you can even use Sidecar to turn the iPad into a second screen for your Mac apps.

TwelveSouth HoverBar Duo.

Charlie Sorrel / Lifewire

The height is also good for Zoom calls. It means the camera isn't peering up your nose.

The HoverBar Duo isn’t just about being tall. The jointed arm lets you set it at almost any height or angle you can think of. You can make it horizontal, to read while standing in the kitchen (or while showing off your cooking skills on FaceTime).

You even can drop the iPad down onto the desk while the stand supports it. This is actually one of the most stable options, and is great for sketching or writing with the Apple Pencil.

Stability

The tall, jointed design has one big downside—it wobbles. Not much, and not in a scary, treehouse-in-a-thunderstorm way, but enough to notice. My 12.9-inch iPad is also my TV, and I use a stand on a stool in front of the sofa to hold it in place. I used to use the Viozon stand for this, but the HoverBar Duo is better just because it’s taller. But it does wobble whenever I pick up my warm beverage from the supporting stool.

"I like the HoverBar Duo... I imagine I’ll still be using it with future iPads, whatever shape they may be."

This is physics. The HoverBar’s joints and sections are all stiff and well-built. It’s just that it’s long. With a giant iPad Pro on the top, the stand amplifies movements, as any lever would. 

You also can use the stand for an iPhone. The jaws are small enough for an iPhone 12 mini and big enough for a 12.9-inch iPad Pro from 2018 and later.

The previous—and bigger—iPad Pro will squeeze in, but it’s not a good fit. With a phone, you’re covering up the speaker holes, which may not be ideal.

Options

The HoverBar also ships with a clamp in the box. I haven’t used this, nor will I. It lets you mount the stand in more unusual orientations: hanging down from a shelf, for example.

An iPad mounted under a kitchen counter with the TwelveSouth HoverBar.

TwelveSouth

The HoverBar Duo promo photos from TwelveSouth show the clamp screwed to the underside of a kitchen unit, which is neat. A desk edge would also be a good fit. So far, I’m happy with the weighted foot.

The other downside is that getting a large iPad into the jaw is fiddly. With the Viozon stand, only one side of the jaw moves. You just press one edge of the iPad onto it, and then—when the jaws are wide enough—lay the top edge in.

With the HoverBar, both sides of the jaw move, so you have to pull on both simultaneously while also maneuvering the iPad in there. I’ve found the easiest way is to use the iPad’s edge to press the bottom jaw while pulling the top jaw up with a finger (there’s a finger-sized hole to allow this). It takes a bit of practice, and it will never be a one-handed job, but it’s not bad.

So, I like the HoverBar Duo. If you accept the design tradeoffs, then you will probably like it too. I imagine I’ll still be using it with future iPads, whatever shape they may be.

Was this page helpful?