By Mike Riley on Thu, 07/31/2014
Upon unboxing the FLOTE Orbit ($129.99), my college-age daughter Marielle enthusiastically grabbed it and asked if she could use it at her dormitory. I granted her request on the condition that she participate in reviewing the product. Here is that review.
The FLOTE Orbit is designed specifically for holding tablets and fits best when placed on a countertop or desk. Its sturdy base keeps the stand in place even if someone bumps into it. Given Orbit’s wide padded grips, the stand can accommodate a range of devices besides iPads. The Orbit can also grip tablets sheathed in protective covers. The spring-loaded handle in the back keeps these grips clamped sturdily to the tablet, yet it is still easy to release the device from the Orbit's grip. This is a far simpler design than the preset frame or plastic corner edges that some stands use. Also, because of the minimalistic design of the stand’s clamp, the Orbit won't block your tablet's power ports and headphone jacks.
Orbit makes use of a powerful magnet ball-joint in the back of its clamp to allows for very specific angles and maximized accuracy. But the Orbit does have its downfalls; the stand's sturdy base is also incredibly heavy, which makes it inconvenient to carry from one location to the other. It’s best used in a long-term stationary setting.
All of the stand’s pivoting movement centers on its single magnet ball-joint. The stand cannot be raised or lowered; To turn your tablet left or right, the entire stand must be rotated. Due to the strength of the magnet and base, adjustments to the stand cannot be done with a light directional tap. Instead, both hands must be used when positioning the device. The the upside of the Orbit’s magnetic grip is you don’t have to worry about the stand tipping over when changing tablet positions. Since the stand’s height is not adjustable, it is best suited for countertops if standing, and if sitting.
Orbit is a very specific stand and thus might not fit everyone’s needs. For the person who is more accustomed to lying down while reading or watching movies on their iPad, they might not find the Orbit very useful. For those individuals, I would recommend checking out the FLOAT m2.
The Orbit is also an expensive indulgence. Its sleek and clutter-free style speaks its price. As such, the Orbit might thrive best in professional, high-end settings. Businesspeople who rely heavily on a tablet would benefit from the stand. The Orbit could also suit those who work, play, or just enjoy using multiple screens at home. Oftentimes, I would use my tablet to look up recipes. Instead of having my iPad get covered in ingredients and buried somewhere on the counter, I used the Orbit to help to keep my iPad above the chaos. Thanks to the Orbit’s stature, it fit nicely into these more crowded environments.
Another useful setting that the Orbit came in handy is when working on my comics. My tiny desk accompanies my MacBook Air for typing dialog, and my iPad seated in the Orbit is positioned on the other side. I use the iPad to Skype or listen to music while I work on both the iPad and laptop for drawing panels. Thanks to the Orbit, my desk is more spacious and cleaner. Overall, I would recommend the Orbit to anyone who is a dedicated tablet user looking to conveniently and elegantly save space in their home or office.
iPhone Life rating: 4 out of 5 stars