Abhimanyu GhoshalManaging Editor
Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and culture. Hit him up on Twitter, or write in: [email protected].
I take a ton of video calls with my colleagues using the webcam perched atop the external monitor in my study. But when I’m on a virtual date or catching up with friends, I don’t want to be cooped up in my home office or sat at my work desk. And it wouldn’t hurt to be framed up close and without lens distortion too.
That’s where Twelve South’s HoverBar Duo comes in. It’s a cleverly designed stand that supports all iPads and works in various orientations, so you can use your tablet hands-free for sketching, watching videos, or following recipe instructions. I’m particularly pleased with how well it works for video calls.
The HoverBar Duo is designed to work with iPads of all sizes, even with thick cases attached; you can also fit phones larger than 5 inches in the clip. The articulating arm can extend to a length of 38.1 cm (15 inches).
It also comes with a clamp so you can take the arm off the base, and fit it on your kitchen cupboards, workbenches or anything else that’s up to 3.5 cm (1.4 inches) thick. Once you’ve done that, the arm will stay in place in whichever way you set it.
There are also a couple of nice little touches that make the Duo easy to live with. The base has a dimple running along its width to place a stylus and prevent it from rolling off your desk. Plus, if you’re using your phone, the clip that holds your device has a cutout so you can connect your charging cable while it’s still on the stand.
Using the HoverBar Duo
The stand comes with a weighty metal base, and an articulating arm paired with a grip that rotates on a ball end. It’s easy enough to set it in any orientation and angle you like, and it won’t tip over easily.
For video calls, I find it best to set up the HoverBar Duo on my dining table or even my coffee table, with my iPad in portrait (vertical) orientation. This makes for a much more natural viewing experience, and a better camera angle for the front shooter. It also beats using an assortment of boxes and pantry containers to prop it up just so, like I used to.
The Duo can also hold your tablet in place while you read, annotate documents, or scribble notes. It’s not perfect, though: even with its heavy base and sturdy construction, the arm wobbled a bit when I wrote on my 3rd-gen 10.5-inch iPad Air with a stylus. I didn’t mind it much while writing and highlighting text, but I imagine it’s not the best replacement for an easel if you’re working on photos or creating art.
Should you get the HoverBar Duo?
If you take a lot of video calls and don’t always want to use your laptop, you’ll want to invest in a stand like this. Twelve South’s model is well built, and is flexible enough that you’ll find a bunch of ways to use it around the house.
That said, a cursory glance at Amazon tells me this is among the priciest on the market at $80. So it’s worth considering cheaper alternatives like this from Lamicall that comes in at under $30, as well as other models from various brands that are available for less.
Twelve South has been at this Apple accessories game for over a decade, so it knows how to craft good stuff. For the higher asking price, you are guaranteed a quality product and the option to use it either with its base or the included clamp.
I, for one, am just glad I don’t look like a chump in a cramped room with my face stretched out on Zoom dates anymore.
Find the Twelve South HoverBar Duo on the company’s site, where you can pre-order it at $79.99; it’ll begin shipping on March 15.
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