iPad stand: Octa Tablet Tail Whale Kit

Jackie Dove, Macworld
11 September, 2012
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Octa Tablet Tail Whale Kit



Sturdy; portable; flexible


High shipping cost to Australia

US$49 + shipping


How could an iPad stand evoke anthropomorphic sentimentality? It’s difficult, but Octa’s TabletTail Whale Kit, which consists of the company’s Vacuum Dock and WhaleTail, manages to do exactly this, thanks to the package bearing an overt resemblance to the fluke of a beloved marine mammal.

Octa’s TabletTail Whale Kit—which I’ll just call the TabletTail—is a two-piece, handle-and–stand accessory for all generations of iPad, as well as other similar devices such as non-Apple e-readers and tablets. The TabletTail consists of a matte-black, dome-shaped Vacuum Dock that attaches to your device using a suction seal, and the Whale Tail, which, as its name implies, has the distinctive shape of a whale’s fluke. The Whale Tail attaches to the dock to support your iPad in various positions and angles. The tail also functions as a handle that you can use to carry your device or balance it on your lap. You can also use the dome by itself as a handle or low stand.

The dome and tail are each made of lightweight rubber—together they weigh just over 160 grams. The dome is 7.6cm in diameter, and its suction is activated by a small pump. After about six pumps, it gets difficult to pump, and there is a firm connection between the tablet and the dome.

Despite its firm grip on the back of the tablet, the dome is easy to remove. You just lift two tiny flaps on either side of the dome. You do have to apply a bit of pressure to remove the dome from your tablet or the tail from the dome, but that’s a good thing, as this resistance is what helps the TabletTail hold your iPad in place.

You can position the dome anywhere on the back of the iPad. However, if you’re using the dome on a device without a protective cover, be careful not to overlap the Apple engraving or other inlaid stamp or decoration, as that decorative element will allow air to leak from the dome—and, thus, for the suction seal to fail. The same holds true for any non-smooth surface that allows in air, such as logos, speakers, or textures. However, once you have a secure connection, you don’t have to worry about wobble. The TabletTail holds your device steady for typing and swiping.

In my testing, the dome adhered to a variety of smooth, non-porous iPad cases, as well, from smooth plastic to rubber, though it would not form a suction with fabric-based iPad covers.

The tail is flexible, so you can bend and twist it into various positions. It can support an iPad almost upright in both portrait and landscape orientations. Even the fins are somewhat flexible, letting you adjust them to better perch your tablet in various positions. However, Octa warns not to abuse the privilege by bending the tail back and forth too fast or into extreme positions, or by twisting or biting it, as they warn such action will weaken “the little guy.” As with many iPad stands, you can’t connect a dock-connector cable to the iPad while the device is in vertical orientation unless you position the iPad upside-down (so the dock-connector port is on the top).

If you keep the TabletTail attached to your iPad for extended periods, it’s a good idea to give the pump a couple of pushes every few days so the dome doesn’t eventually fall off—even with a good seal, its suction action gradually loses air pressure. (This isn’t a criticism of the TabletTail; it happens with any suction cup.)

The more I used it, the more the Octa TabletTail seemed like cross between an iPad stand and a pet. Treat it with compassion and you’ll have a pleasant experience with this unique cetacean. It even comes with its own carrying case, so you can easily tote it around without damaging it.

Macworld Australia‘s buying advice.

At US$49, the TabletTail isn’t outrageously expensive for a solid iPad stand. And given that it offers a vast variety of handheld, tabletop, and other positions, its novelty factor may just segue into simple practicality.

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