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Review: Twelve South Compass iPad Stand

The video above should give you a pretty succinct overview of the Compass iPad Stand from Twelve South that I recently received after purchasing it for $39.99. I was looking for a good stand, portable, that I could use to prop my iPad up next to my computer while using it, but primarily as an easel for while I’m practicing digitally painting on the iPad. The Compass stand fulfills both those duties well enough, although I must say I am somewhat disappointed by the stand now that I’ve used it for several days. One correction: In the video I keep referring to the Compass as aluminum, but it is in fact steel (thus the heft).


It feels like a precision instrument and is a solid feeling piece of metal.

As a basic stand, it works well.

It folds up small and is nicely portable.


It’s heavy. Weighs about a pound. As I note in the video, I don’t know what airport security would think of it going through the xray machine in your carry on.

It’s expensive.

It has 3 design flaws:

1. There is no lock mechanism for the third tripod leg that swings back to hold your iPad up. As a result, one could easily keep slightly pushing at the screen while using the iPad and be gently moving the front two legs towards the back single leg until, eventually the entire thing collapses, dropping your iPad. This is avoidable if you are conscious of it, but I nearly did it twice while simply trying to adjust the position of the stand on my desk before I realized what was happening.

2. When used in the “typing position”, with the iPad in landscape mode and the large leg flipped flat with the small leg flipped out to put the iPad’s screen at a slight slant, the two little rubber arms that stick out from the bottom of the stand to hold the iPad in place and prevent it from slipping stick out about a quarter of an inch and gently stab into the palms of your hands as you type. Annoying.

3. Additionally in this same position, since there is only one short leg in the middle providing the third leg of this flat-lying tripod, if you lift one hand or the other as you type, the weight of your other hand makes the entire thing wobble. Infuriatingly annoying.


Overall, if you are simply looking for a basic stand to prop up your iPad while you stare at it and you have forty bucks to spare, the Compass stand is nice.

However, with the current design flaws outlined above, I cannot really recommend this stand to anyone for more than that at its current price. At $25, it would be forgivable. At $40, I feel kind of ripped off by how unusable the secondary positioning of the stand is and concerned about how precarious the primary position can be if one is not careful.