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Lilitab iPad kiosk hits the mark on price, simplicity

lillitab.jpgHaving the iPad serve as a portable, simple display kiosk or showcase is terribly tempting. For one thing, now that the 16GB iPad 2 has dropped in price due to the new iPad launch, it's more affordable than ever. For another, getting that touch interaction right in front of your customers or exhibit viewers is a great way to increase their engagement and focus.

Rule #1 of iPad kiosks is, of course, make sure we don't lose the iPad. That's among the strengths of lilitab's kiosk line, which keeps device security top-of-mind throughout the design without giving up ground on ease of assembly, looks or price. I tested out the lilitab standard kiosk model, which comes in either white or black and retails for US$495.

In white, the lilitab looks a little bit like a section of a high-end shower assembly. The heavy steel baseplate keeps the unit steady and vertical once the iPad is installed (it can be bolted to the floor too, if desired), and the top section encloses the device easily and without fuss. The top enclosure comes with a set of security screws (and an Allen wrench to set them) so that nobody else can come along and abscond with your iPad. You have a choice of frontplates with or without a camera opening, and with or without a home button pinhole -- you can lock in your chosen app with the fully closed frontplate and it won't get changed inadvertently or purposefully.

Down at the base, the main pipe stalk slides into a corresponding section welded to the baseplate. That's also where the included iPad charging cable meets up with the user-supplied iPad AC adapter and Apple charger extension cord -- you do have to bring your own on those. Getting the power adapter installed was really the only tricky bit of the assembly, as it requires you to feed the AC cord into the base at a sharp angle so that both pieces fit into the available space.

Once the power is plugged in, the next security step is the two-piece cowling that attaches around the pipe fitting. Another pair of security screws keep it firmly attached. The base also has a lock fitting for both Kensington-style and conventional 3/8" steel cable attachments. With all items set up, the iPad can be fitted into the enclosure and mounted either in landscape or portrait mode. The enclosure itself includes foam supports that can be adjusted to house any model of iPad (current or future, as long as it's the same screen size); there's also no metal at all around the iPad's RF antennas, so WiFi and 3G performance should be unimpaired.

You can get additional options and branding kits from lilitab, but even the spare and unadorned kiosk made a positive impression on everyone I showed it to. Aside from the tight tolerances on the power adapter in the base, there's not much to criticize and a lot to admire about this product; if you're looking for a good way to get your iPad kiosks to look professional and sleek, give them a call.