Kickstands are awesome. This is a universal truth that, despite its undeniable nature, seems to go unacknowledged by the majority of the technology press. I’m going to do my part to alleviate that, with the help of the SenseAge Universal Flat Stand.
To be clear, this isn’t some glitzy new product on the cusp of a press blitz. It isn’t a kickstarted idea banged out in a garage, or even anything particularly notable. It’s just something I saw on Amazon and decided to buy to use my Chromebook tablet more easily with a keyboard. But it seems to be singular: there are a few variations on universal kickstands for phones (see PopSockets and the like), but I’ve never seen a tablet kickstand that so seamlessly integrates into any large format design.
And in a word, it’s great. In two words, the SenseAge design is freakin’ fantastic. It allows me to add a semi-permanent kickstand to any 10-inch or larger tablet, in any case, while adding almost zero bulk or weight to my mobile setup. All this for under twenty bucks? I love it.
Kick It Up
In a purely physical sense, there’s not much to this thing. It’s a few folds of stiff plastic, some 3M glue to stick to the back of your tablet or case, and a couple of magnets to keep the material in place in its folded or unfolded state. That’s it.
If you’re looking for a comparison, the “origami” tablet cases sold for some Asus designs and the pricier Amazon Kindle are similar. Pull the outer fold out, and it locks into place, allowing you to prop up your tablet at a fixed angle in either landscape or portrait mode.
The advantage here is that it’s universal, and can be applied to almost any slate-shaped gadget. It excels for desktop-class tablets running Windows or Chrome, which don’t come with their own Surface-style kickstands or can’t be propped up in lieu of a dedicated keyboard.
The simplicity in the design is remarkable. With just three folds this thing can prop up a tablet in two modes, while adding almost no weight and only about an eighth of an inch in thickness. The exterior fold uses a matte plastic finish, while the inside is lined with microfiber, muting the mild “snap” sound of the stand opening or closing. It’s such a simple idea and execution that I’m amazed I haven’t seen anything like it before, and the design appears to be available only from this vendor.
Measure Twice, Stick Once
There isn’t much to complain about with this kickstand thingy. It’s quite versatile: with folded dimensions of 8.5 by 6 inches, it should work on almost any tablet ten inches or larger. The design only allows one fold-out angle—call it two if you’re counting both landscape and portrait mode. Some clever engineer might be able to think of a way to fold something like this into multiple positions, but for a $17 accessory, it’s more than forgivable.
There is one drawback to the universal, manufacturer-agnostic design of the stick-on kickstand: you’ll want to be fairly careful when you do stick it to your tablet or case. The 3M tape on the back doesn’t leave any noticeable residue, but it does stick very firmly, and if you need to remove it you’ll have to be careful not to bend the plastic as you peel it off.
There’s another consideration: balance. Depending on the size and weight of your tablet, the ideal position for the kickstand will change. You’ll want to do a bit of experimentation with the mounting spot so that the angled edges of the plastic sit flush in landscape mode, and the angle of the screen isn’t too vertical in portrait mode. I recommend keeping the protective paper on the stand while you test out various spots with some easily-removed double-sided tape.
This Stand Delivers
Ergonomic limitations of the universal design notwithstanding, I’m incredibly pleased with this accessory. It allows me to leave my trusty but relatively heavy Anker kickstand at home when packing my Chrome tablet for work along with a keyboard and mouse. And even better, it’s one less thing to pack but doesn’t get in the way when it’s folded up, so I can use the tablet in a more mobile slate-like capacity.
SenseAge’s fold-out design can be applied to any medium-to-large tablet, or even a case if you prefer a little more protection. It’s a fantastic solution if your tablet of choice (like my HP Chromebook X2) doesn’t have the widespread support of the iPad or Kindle Fire lines. While $17 is a bit much for the actual material in the product, I’m downright thrilled at the execution, and I’ll buy more for tablets I use in the future without hesitation.
It’s simple. It’s cheap. It’s brilliant. If you want an easy way to prop up your tablet without adding bulk, this is a fantastic way to accomplish that.
Here’s What We Like
- Works with any 10-inch or larger tablet, or cases
- Adds almost no weight or thickness
- Works vertically or horizontally
And What We Don't
- Needs careful placement on larger tablets