By Mike Riley on Tue, 11/12/2013
The iPad and tablet computing revolution is changing not only how we work and play, but also how we live—as we decorate our workplaces and homes with functional yet stylish furniture designs to match this new lifestyle. While several manufacturers have produced iPad stands and holders that bring the iPad and iPad Mini up to hands-free eye level, none of them have yet made an elegant piece of furniture intended for the living room or bedroom with just as much importance as a floor lamp or table. The Flote m2 Floor Stand intends to change that perception. Read on to see if it succeeds.
The Flote comes delivered in two boxes, one containing the heavy base and the other containing the remaining pieces. Assembling the Flote only took me a few minutes and consisted of screwing the center pole into the base and attaching the tablet cradle into the surprisingly powerful magnetic socket at the end of the boom. Then it was just a matter of placing the iPad into the spring-loaded cradle and positioning the angle of the boom and cradle to match the preferred hands-free viewing angle of the iPad. Since the center pole does not have the ability to adjust its height, the seated iPad can be raised and lowered by angling the boom and cradle respectively. I thought that this approach might limit the overall height of the Flote; but because of the length of the boom and the range at which it can be angled, I was able to adjust the Flote to accommodate a variety of scenarios—standing, sitting at a desk, relaxing on the couch, and lying in bed.
The center pole effortlessly glides to bring the cradled iPad closer to or farther from your eyes. There is no clicking or friction-induced stuttering, just a silky smooth rotation with a minimal push or pull on the boom. Check out the original Kickstarter video on the Flote website to see this fluid gliding in action. It is simple yet effective features like this that help emphasize that the Flote is a high-quality product. It’s also modern and attractive with its S-curved center pole and high-grade medal construction. However, the exposed metal edges on the cradle could be a problem for careless individuals. A hasty iPad seating or removal might scratch the iPad’s rear surface. Additional padding in the cradle would eliminate such a scenario. When I discussed this concern with Dave Cutler, the designer of the Flote, he mentioned the Flotes will have flat screws to minimize the risk of scratching a naked tablet. At least the cradle is large enough to easily accommodate a standard full-body iPad cover and that’s the configuration I used. As a bonus, I didn’t have to remove my iPad from its cover—a nice contrast to other iPad stands I’ve reviewed.
Speaking of inserting and removing the iPad or iPad Mini, it was initially a cumbersome process until Dave told me the proper way of doing so. The right way to insert or remove your iPad is to grip the finger tab on the back and press downward on the upper jaws with the thumb.
One last issue I encountered was while typing on the iPad when it was suspended in the Flote’s boom. Depending on how much force was applied with each screen tap, the boom would undulate or begin swinging away from me. Holding the iPad in place with one hand while typing with the other kept the problem from recurring, but it also made me an even less efficient typist on the iPad than I already am. It would be nice for future iterations of the Flote to have some elegant locking system that prevents this unwanted movement.
Even with these issues, the Flote is the best iPad floor stand I have reviewed to date. It might not be perfect, but it’s much further along on the road to perfection than any other purpose-built tablet floor stand. While you could build your own iPad floor stand using a microphone stand and a clamped iPad holder (such as IK Multimedia’s iKlip), the end results of this DIY effort might be functional but not very elegant. Conversely, the Flote m2 is both functional and elegant. It’s also a graceful work of industrial design that adds a touch of class to any room that it resides in.
Product: Flote m2 Floor Stand
Manufacturer: CRC Innovations
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars