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There are times when an iPad can act as a handy sidekick to your Mac, but with a typical iPad stand you end up looking a little like a nodding dog as you look up at your monitor and down at your iPad. The TwelveSouth HoverBar 3 is designed to solve that, positioning your iPad display right next to your iMac or Apple Thunderbolt/Cinema Display.

The HoverBar can also be used on its own to position an iPad more comfortably, especially when using it to watch movies … 

The HoverBar comprises two main elements. A clamp with attached gooseneck arm, and a snap-in holder for your iPad. The box comes with three different holders for each of iPad Air, iPad 2-4 and iPad Mini (both models).

When used with an iMac or Apple display, the clamp fits onto the back of the stand:

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Soft rubber pads protect the stand from damage, and you tighten it with the supplied hex key. The gooseneck arm is then long enough to bring the iPad round to either side of the monitor.

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As you’d expect from a TwelveSouth product, it’s very well made. The clip-in frame is an extremely impressive design. It’s easy to snap the iPad in or out, but it’s held very securely once clipped in – objectives you might expect to be mutually exclusive.

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The holder swivels on the arm, so you can either use the iPad in portrait mode (as in the main photo at the top), or in landscape mode as I have it here.

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There’s enough length in the gooseneck arm to allow you plenty of freedom in the exact positioning, either flat as in the promo image at the top, or tilted towards you as I have it here.

Which brings me to one of the key attractions for me: watching movies in bed. Clamping it to the headboard allows you to position the iPad directly above you without having to hold it, making for a deliciously lazy way to watch movies.

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If you position the clamp in the centre of the headboard, there’s enough length and flexibility in the arm to allow the iPad to be moved from one side of the bed to the other, so either you or your partner can watch it. It’s also easy to push it up above the headboard out of the way when not in use.

I must confess I did feel slightly nervous the first time I used it in bed. The iPad Air is very light, but I still wouldn’t want it falling onto my face! But it really did feel secure, and I soon relaxed.

The clamp can of course also be used on a desk or table, and there’s sufficient flexibility in the system that I think it would cover most situations. There’s even a desk stand included, though personally I couldn’t see the point to this.

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I guess if you don’t already have any kind of stand, it’s a nice extra.

Conclusions

For most people, it’s kind of a luxury item. It’s not that difficult to use an existing or cheaper stand to position the iPad roughly where you want it on a desk or kitchen worktop, and not too great a hardship to hold it while watching movies or reading books in bed.

But I have to say that within a very short time, I came to rely on it. The ability to place the iPad exactly where you want it, and to indulge in the sheer laziness of having it hover above the pillow in bed, is very appealing.

My only minor gripe is that the hex-nut system for applying the clamp means it’s not an instant job to move it from one place to the other. It’s not difficult, but some kind of flip-handle clamp would be great. But if you mostly expect to use it on one place, and just need to push it out of the way the rest of the time, leaving the clamp in place, it’s highly recommended.

The HoverBar costs  $99 with free U.S. shipping.

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6 Responses to “Review: TwelveSouth HoverBar 3 positions your iPad right where you want it”

  1. I like twelve south but their expensive surfacepad for iPhone fell apart after 3 months of use. Had to glue it together myself.

  2. I like their products, but are they just an overpriced branding of Chinese products? Look at this one for about half the price: http://www.dx.com/p/360-degree-rotational-steel-abs-desktop-holder-for-ipad-2-new-ipad-4-black-183270. Here’s another TwelveSouth product http://www.twelvesouth.com/product/compass2 and an identical Chinese counterpart: http://www.dx.com/p/360-degree-rotational-steel-abs-desktop-holder-for-ipad-2-new-ipad-4-black-183270.

  3. MacAngus says:

    I believe the product is the “HoverBar 3″, not the “HoverbarBar 3″ as it is referred to in the headline.

  4. $99? That’s way overpriced. Nice idea, but like most of TwelveSouth’s gear, overpriced.