Some people, I understand, treat their iPad and iPhone with the dignity of a foreign potentate or a domestic feline. I treat mine more like a preschooler treats a teddy bear, dragging them with me from bed to work and back again, and bringing them along on cross-country road trips.
In such circumstances, for example watching Archer on Netflix while lying on a futon in the back of a cargo van, the usual set of stands and cases don’t cut it. That’s why I was delighted to come across the Breffo Spiderpodiums for iPad and iPhone in a random computer store in Washington state. That’s right, these aren’t manufacturer samples — I shelled out my own cash for them.The Spiderpodium is well-named, because it’s precisely what you’d get if you somehow managed to convince a spider and a podium to mate.
The Spiderpodium is well-named, because it’s precisely what you’d get if you somehow managed to convince a spider and a podium to mate. It has ever-so-slightly unnerving segmented legs surrounding a tiny platform. The legs — eight of them — bend easily but stay in place firmly, and they’re covered with a nice, friction-enhanced surface that holds onto plastic, aluminum and glass pretty impressively.
As the artwork on the package illustrates, you can bend the podium into all sorts of useful shapes, from a low stand for typing to a high stand for reading, to a sort of hanging mount for hanging over a treadmill or from a shelf. It’s kind of like a grade-school pipe-cleaner sculpture with a purpose.
I routinely came up with new ways to use the iPad stand — and new configurations for old uses — just for the pleasure of bending the legs into something interesting. It hangs very nicely over the steering wheel if I want to browse the web while eating drive-through, and in the absence of an actual table, I’ve found that with a bit of adjustment it can hold my iPad steady atop my thigh, or keep the screen level when lying in a soft bed.
The iPhone version is a little less handy. The small screen and palm-sized dimensions of the device make a stand a little less necessary and a little less useful. I have used it when the iPad was low on power, though. If I didn’t have the larger device, I’d probably use the smaller one more often.
There’s actually very little i-Specific about the Spiderpodium, despite the packaging. The iPhone version had no objections to holding my cheapie Android phone, and the iPad version was happy to wrap its creepy little legs around my Kindle, even sparing a limb to hold a mini-flashlight as an improvised book light. The iPad version was even able to hold my digital SLR camera, with zoom lens, at a steady upward tilt when properly positioned — very impressive for something that looks so spindly.
The Spiderpodiums are both stronger and more clingy than you might expect from looking at them. I hung my iPhone and iPad over the smooth imitation leather of my passenger seat and took them on a none-to-gentle drive around the Portland hills. The iPad never displayed any interest in falling, or even shifting, and it took just a couple adjustments to get the iPhone at a stable rear-facing angle, which more of an issue with the tiny legs than their strength or friction.The Spiderpodiums are both stronger and more clingy than you might expect from looking at them.
Just to give the stands a thorough test, I hung them from the van’s ceiling for over 24 hours. I didn’t want to give up custody of my coveted Cupertino devices for that long, so I used appropriate substitutes — the aforementioned Android phone and a hard-shell iPad case with ballast. The legs didn’t unbend at all in spite of the constant pull of Mother Gravity. It’s hard to say how the firmness of the legs will fare over months and years, but over days of heavy use they stood up to — or hung down from — the challenge.
One drawback of the Spiderpodium is that while it’s strong, it’s not completely firm. If you actually touch your touch-screen devices with any particular force, they’ll briefly jiggle like a trademarked flavored gelatin dessert. This isn’t an issue when pausing movies, but — depending on the configuration — typing on the screen and playing fast-paced games can range from distracting to difficult.
Another drawback is that they aren’t designed to stow neatly like a folding case or Apple’s Smart Cover, so you’ll have to keep your podium separately in your purse, satchel or saddlebags.
The real determinator, though, is whether you subject your devices to odd circumstances. If you use your iDevices only on sturdy, level surfaces or for brief handheld purposes, you won’t find much use for the Spiderpodium beyond making funny shapes. But if you want to use your electronic devices in decidedly organic circumstances, these weird little bendies are a handy solution to a startling number of challenges.
WIRED Perfectly designed for its purpose, providing strength, grip, and a surprising amount of amusement. Bending it into strange arachnoid shapes will open your eyes to new uses for your devices. Stays put once configured.
TIRED iPhone version seems somewhat unnecessary. Doesn’t provide firm support while tap-typing. Though its versatility at mounting an iPad in odd positions is unmatched, it’s not as portable as a folding stand or keyboard case.
Homepage photograph courtesy of Breffo. All review photos by Lore Sjöberg/Wired
Article by Lore Sjöberg (c) Product Reviews - Read full story here.