Omitting an integrated stand was a critical decision when Apple designed the first iPad: it eliminated the thickness, moving parts, and weight that the feature would certainly have required. But stand functionality was obviously needed, so Apple built one into the lid of the very first iPad case, then evolved it into Smart Covers and folio-style Smart Cases. ZeroChroma and several other companies subsequently built stands into the backs of lid-free iPad cases, but most of the other great iPad stands out there are standalone — meant to sit around waiting for your iPad to return.

Lynktec’s 360° Tablet Kickstand ($40, aka Grip Stand) is designed for people who want a “take it everywhere” stand that works with any iPad. Made from solid aluminum and black plastic, it uses a residue-free adhesive pad to attach to the back of a bare or encased iPad, folding down and rotating for easy storage. If you don’t already have a case with a built-in stand, this may be your next best option…

Key Details:

  • Relatively compact but sturdy stand attaches to the back of any iPad (and most cases)
  • Microadhesive provides a solid bond that leaves no residue or damage when removed
  • Solid metal leg feels premium, worthy of the asking price
  • Supports numerous angles

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Measuring roughly 5.3″ long by 2.75″ wide by 0.75″ thick at its largest points, the 360° Tablet Kickstand consists primarily of five parts that are permanently connected: a large, solid-feeling metal leg, a soft rubber pad on its short edge, a rotating/ratcheting hinge box, a slightly curved hard plastic mount, and a large square “microadhesive” surface. Tablet Kickstand ships attached to a thin plastic cover that protects the microadhesive; you can hang on to it if you plan to remove the stand from your iPad and reattach it later.

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Historically, adhesives have been less than ideal for accessories: they either don’t stick very well or stick too well, leaving residue or denting a device when removed. By comparison, the thin black microadhesive on 360° Tablet Kickstand superficially looks like the rubbery, mildly sticky microsuction pads I’ve seen on a handful of other accessories — ones that leave no residue, but also don’t grip anything tightly enough to feel completely safe. But there’s definitely something different about the material Lynktec selected.

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It bonds well enough that you can grab and carry your iPad around using Kickstand’s leg, but when you pull firmly on the curved hard plastic mount, it detaches in a manner that’s halfway between traditional adhesive and microsuction pads, highly sticky yet without any residue. Additionally, unlike some other attachable stands I’ve seen, it’s capable of fitting equally well on the backs of older iPads, iPad Airs, and iPad minis.

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The metal leg is actually one of the best elements in any iPad stand I’ve tested. Rather than trying to make it super thin or perfectly iPad-matching, Lynktec picked a shape and materials that wouldn’t seem out of place in an expensive sports car. Polished to soft edges and stiffly joined to the ratcheting and rotating box, it adjusts to any angle you prefer without feeling either rough or delicate in your hand. After using numerous iPad stands, I can tell you that sturdiness and properly polished metal edges aren’t things I take for granted any more. As its alternate name suggests, Grip Stand is actually a stand I enjoy gripping.

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While Lynktec fairly bills 360° Tablet Kickstand as capable of rotating through 360 degrees of freedom, the ratcheting mechanism only locks into eight positions, and probably only needs to support four: up, down, left, and right. If rotated upwards, the leg is strong enough that you could use it to hang your iPad from a nail or hook on the wall. The 45-degree angles it supports are arguably unnecessary, but can be used to give it more of a picture frame-like appearance.

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In any 90-degree orientation, Kickstand is firm enough that you can apply pressure during typing, swiping, and pinching. Similarly, there’s no question at all that the leg will stay in place when your iPad’s in a bag; it just feels steady.

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The one and only issue some people may have with 360° Tablet Kickstand is the extent to which it protrudes from the iPad’s back. Having lived through days when Speck’s HandyShell was the slimmest integrated rear stand option, it’s hard for me to seriously dislike Kickstand’s 0.75″ added thickness, but ZeroChroma’s cases with integrated stands are much thinner. Lynktec has the edge over ZeroChroma in durability, however, so if you’re the sort of user who tends to put weight or other stresses on your upright iPad, that’s a factor in Kickstand’s favor.

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Is 360° Tablet Kickstand right for you? From my perspective, the $40 asking price is reasonable, and it’s definitely worth adding to my guide to the best iPad stands. It’s up to you whether you need a completely standalone option that will sit around waiting for your iPad, a fully integrated option that can fold into a case, or something like Kickstand. Since you can pick any of these options for about the same price, there’s no penalty to selecting one that best matches the ways you use your iPad.

Manufacturer: Lynktec Price: $40 Compatibility: All iPads