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iStabilizer's tabMount and tabFlex hold onto your iPad when your hands can't

iStabilizer has come out with some really great products in the past that we've covered here at TUAW. Whether it was the Dolly for making iPhone camera dolly shots, the Monopod for doing self-photography from a distance, or the universal window mount Glass, iStabilizer designs well-made iOS device accessories that are always useful. The company just sent me pre-release versions of their new tabMount (US$15 for Kickstarter backers, $25 afterward) and tabFlex ($30 for Kickstarter, $40 afterward) to try out. The products are both seeking funding on Kickstarter, although it appears that they'll go into production regardless of the Kickstarter status.

The tabMount answers the question "How can I mount my iPad or iPad mini on a tripod?" with an expanding universal mount, while the tabFlex is the tabMount attached to a flexible tripod that can stand on a flat surface or also be wrapped around just about anything from a tree limb to a car headrest.

Design

Made with Apple and "other" tablets in mind, the tabMount holds a 10" tablet like the full-sized iPad from side to side -- in other words, the jaws grab the long sides of the tablet. If you're using the tabMount with a 7" tablet like the iPad mini, the jaws hold onto the top and bottom of the tablet. Although that's how the jaws grab on, you can then rotate the ball and socket mount on the back of the tabMount to whatever angle you prefer.

The jaws of the tabMount are covered with a rubber material, while the back has a firm foam material to prevent scratching the back of your device. The legs of the tabFlex -- the tripod -- are covered with a non-slip foam surface and the tips of the legs are rubber.

Functionality

I tried the tabMount/tabFlex duo with both a 7" Kindle Fire and a full-sized 9.7" third-generation iPad. It makes a wonderful stand, both for watching videos or just reading something. Where I found it was extra handy was in the kitchen, where I use my iPad to look at recipes. Most of the time I just use the Smart Cover to prop up my iPad a little bit, but since it's so close to the counter I'm worried about it getting messed up if I spill something. The tabMount and tabFlex work in tandem to prop up the iPad well above the countertop.

If you'd like to use the tabMount without the flexible tripod (for instance, on a regular photo tripod), be sure to have a hex wrench handy as you'll need to remove the hex bolt that connects the two. Correction - the tabMount and tabFlex simply unscrew from each other.

I found the tabMount to work quite well with both tablets, with or without cases. There's enough extra "stretch" in the spring-loaded mount to grab just about any iPad case without taking it off of the iPad.

The extra bonus feature is the tabFlex's flexible tripod. Having not used a flexible tripod like this before, I was totally impressed with how I could bend the legs to have it grab onto something. As you'll see in the photo gallery, I attached it to a railing that goes around our open loft in our house. I could see attaching it to something similar for shooting stable video with the iPad.

Conclusion

iStabilizer has found and filled a niche market making products to assist in taking iPhone and iPad photographs and video. With the tabMount/tabFlex, the company has now created a stand that can be used with a variety of tablets almost anywhere for everyday use or photography. The tabMount works with just about any tablet on the market, and will most certainly keep your iPad or iPad mini steady in any situation.

Those of you who like backing Kickstarter projects should jump on the tabMount ASAP to take advantage of the special pricing, while the rest of you can still get a quality tablet mount at a very reasonable price.

Pros

  • Mount stretches to hold almost any tablet currently made
  • tabFlex flexible tripod can be used to mount your iPad in a car or on just about anything
  • Swivel makes it easy to pivot the iPad from one orientation to another
  • tabMount can be used with a traditional photographic tripod
  • Quite reasonably priced

Cons

  • Removing the tabFlex from the tabMount requires a hex wrench (not included) (see correction)

Who is it for?

  • Anyone who needs a stable stand or tripod for an iPad or iPad mini

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