The Good: As with most Twelve South products, the Compass 2 features fantastic looking design and strong build quality. It folds away to become very portable, too.
The Bad: Despite a good typing experience with an iPad Mini, using an iPad 4 wasn’t as comfortable.
The Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a well built & portable iPad stand, then the Compass 2 is a purchase you won’t regret.
iPad docks and stands are super-useful when you’re rooted to your desk all day, but when you’re out and about, iPad cases and smart covers tend to be the only way to prop up your device.
Although they’re good enough, Twelve South has created the Compass 2 iPad stand with a level of compactness & portability that makes it easy to carry around with you. It’s essentially an upgraded version to the original Compass (for the original iPad), although it’s now compatible with all generations of iPad, including the newest iPad Air & Mini. It retails at $39.99/£34.99 and is available in black, red or silver.
Design & Build Quality
Purely from an aesthetic point of view, it’s hard not to admire the Compass; I absolutely love the glossy metallic red finish, and even the rubber strips along the legs and top of the stand add something to the design, even though their primary purpose is to cushion the back of the iPad.
The Compass 2 has rubber strips to protect & cushion the back of your iPad.
Just like the original Compass, you’ll find two ‘flip-out’ supports for the iPad which have a ridged-rubber design to keep the tablet from slipping off the stand. Twelve South have raised the height on the supports for this model though, making it easier to plug in a charging cable while docked, and keeping it “perched up out of the mess” — ideal if you’re using the Compass on a kitchen counter, or messy desk.
The rubber feet at the bottom of the stand help to give the Compass much needed stability; a particularly useful thing when you’re tapping away at the screen.
Although these aesthetic features are well-thought and pleasing on the eye, I was really impressed with the Compass 2’s build quality. Its “heavy gauge” steel construction makes the Compass 2 feel strong & rigid in the hand, yet it still manages to be light enough (at 232 grams) to take around with you. Even the mechanics of the Compass’ legs are well designed; the rear leg has a strong hinge that feels nice and firm when folded out, and the front two legs also have a good level of resistance which stops them from flinging open at any opportunity.
Nylon sleeve comes included in the package.
To complement the Compass 2’s slim & compact form, Twelve South conveniently include a nylon travel sleeve to prevent the stand’s glossy coat from being scratched when you’re on the go — a nice little add-on to protect your £34.99 investment.
Using The Compass 2
As well as supporting portrait and landscape modes, the Compass 2 supports a couple of viewing angles: an upright angle which is ideal for watching videos, FaceTime calls or just casually browsing the web, and a lowered typing position.
The Compass 2’s upright angle handles both portrait and landscape orientations perfectly, and testing it with an iPad 4 and iPad Mini, I could tap at the screen without a worry about it toppling over.
Compass 2 also has a typing angle.
Typing on the Compass 2 was a mixed affair. My iPad Mini’s smaller size gave it a nice balanced position on the Compass, making typing on it comfortable and stable. Using the larger & heavier iPad 4 on the other hand, I found that the iPad bobbled from side to side unless I’d rest my palms on the edge of the display to keep it flat.
Don’t get me wrong, you can quite comfortably get a few emails, social media updates and light work done using the Compass 2, but I certainly wouldn’t want to be typing essays with it.
As with most other products I’ve used by Twelve South, they’ve one again managed to nail the design and build quality of the Compass 2. It’s a brilliant looking stand, is functional and the portability it offers is going to be super-useful to regular commuters.
Would I recommend it? Most definitely.