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Lifewire / Sandra Stafford
Compact when folded
Compass design prevents tipping
Kickstand creates ideal typing angle
A little pricey
Metal stopper in the hinge seems delicate
The Twelve South Compass Pro is the ideal everyday carry for people who like to keep it light. This adjustable tablet stand fits into small spaces where no other tablet stand can go.
We purchased the Twelve South Compass Pro so our reviewer could put it to the test. Keep reading for the full product review.
The Twelve South Compass Pro is an iPad stand for people who want to travel light. Its compact compass design offers a few viewing angles without sacrificing stability. I tested the Compass Pro around the house and in every pocket I could find.
The Compass Pro has a compact, foldable design reminiscent of a drafting compass. When completely folded, the stand is only half an inch tall and just over seven inches long. The stand is made of steel, so it’s noticeably heavy for its size.
When fully opened, this tablet stand balances on three legs and holds iPads at a 43-degree angle. The legs have small plastic feet to keep tablets secure on the stand. From the front, the feet are flush with the stand. Pressing the plastic button on the back of each foot pops them open.
The Compass Pro offers a couple of options for adjusting the viewing angle. The back leg has an extendable plastic foot that increases the viewing angle to 52 degrees. The second option is to open the kickstand, a short leg that displays iPads at a much lower angle 15-degree angle for typing and sketching. A stopper in the hinge keeps either the kickstand or the back leg from opening too far. Breaking the stopper breaks the whole stand, so it should be handled carefully.
I am the embarrassed owner of a Better Together organization pouch by Mochi Things. Owning a pouch that costs around $60 isn’t the embarrassing part. The embarrassing part is not using it because my old tablet stand doesn’t fit. The pouch’s flat pockets are intended for stationery supplies, not bulky plastic tablet stands. I didn’t appreciate the Compass Pro until I noticed my long-forgotten Better Together pouch, and it clicked.
My old tablet stand couldn’t fit inside any of these pockets, but the Compass Pro looks right at home.
The Compass Pro is slim enough to fit in any pocket. I do mean any pocket, so long as it’s long enough. The Compass Pro fits perfectly in the super flat front pockets of my Better Together pouch. Those front pockets are intended for cell phones or notepads, but the tablet stand’s low-profile build doesn’t stretch them out. Interior pockets are even better. My old tablet stand couldn’t fit inside any of these pockets, but the Compass Pro looks right at home.
When it’s time to leave the pocket and get to work, there are three ways to use the Compass Pro. The kickstand provides the lowest usable angle. Annotating text at this angle was comfortable since I could rest my wrist on the table and still each the entire screen with my Apple Pencil. I could comfortably use the touchscreen keyboard at this angle, too. This angle is useful, but I’m too wary of the hinge to use it for much.
Annotating text at this angle was comfortable since I could rest my wrist on the table and still each the entire screen with my Apple Pencil.
The higher viewing angles are where the Compass Pro excels. Either of them are comfortable to use for typing or viewing, and they both offer excellent stability. I pushed the upper corner of the display firmly, but that just made the stand swivel around the back leg, taking my iPad with it. I couldn’t knock it over unless I tried.
The little feet and the nonslip material kept my iPad on the stand, and the stand pivots around the back leg just like a drafting compass. The Compass Pro is suitable for iPads of any size, but larger tablets like the 12.9-inch iPad Pro distribute weight differently and have a higher center of gravity. They’re still stable, but not quite as much.
Despite my reservations about the hinge, I think the kickstand provides a good angle for writing and typing. Looking down at the touchscreen keyboard gets tiring after a few minutes, but that can’t be helped. The Compass Pro isn’t the tablet stand I would buy for hours of sketching, but it’s fine if that’s only an occasional need.
Since the compass design makes this stand pretty stable, I placed it on top of my secretary desk without worrying.
I mainly used the Compass Pro in the hands-free display position. The upright position props iPads up into a comfortable angle for watching videos or browsing Safari. Since the compass design makes this stand pretty stable, I placed it on top of my secretary desk without worrying. The stand itself doesn’t lift iPads at all, but it provides a bit more flexibility in terms of placement.
At around $60, the Compass Pro is a splurge. The kickstand is a weak point in the design, but portability is enough to redeem this stand. After all, sometimes other tablet stands just don’t fit your needs.
The Compass Pro is cleverly designed for maximum portability and stability. While it may be heavy for its size, it fits into those tight spaces that other tablet stands don’t. If you’re a minimalist in your work, the Compass Pro is worth spending a little extra on.
The AmazonBasics Tablet Stand is a cheaper alternative. This tablet stand is adjustable and sturdy. It’s made of durable plastic, so you can toss it in a backpack without worrying. If you’re happy with anything that gets the job done, you can get this stand for under $12.
A good pocketable iPad stand.
The Compass Pro is a portable tablet stand with a design that doesn’t compromise its stability. Though more expensive than the competition, its sleek appearance and compact size are guaranteed to turn some heads.
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