Raptor-S16 iPhone Stand
Function: Semi-portable holder/stand for iPhones/iPods.
Requirements: iPhone or iPod touch.
Desk stands and docks have been a popular accessory since shortly after the introduction of the iPod. I’ve looked at several different examples here, from an external battery model to a basic fold-up stand to a more traditional-looking metal stand (which, incidentally, I still use as my everyday “dock” for both my iPhone and iPod 5G). I’ve even reviewed a couple gooseneck-type stands: one that wasn’t so great and one that was noticeably better but still not perfect.
iLevel’s Raptor-S16 (so named for the length of the gooseneck) is most similar to that last one, the memorably named In Your Face, but is much larger and beefier. The Raptor sports a huge black clip, with padded jaws, to attach to almost any surface thinner than an inch. Think World’s Toughest Chip Clip and you’ve got the right idea. The spring is stiffer than it needs to be, however, and really requires some hand strength to open past an inch. This probably isn’t a great gift for your grandmother or your ten-year-old.
At the other end is a flat plate with four movable “fingers” on it. The bottom portion of the plate is on a spring-loaded slide, allowing the Raptor to hang onto any small electronic device up to about the height of an iPhone in a typical case (about 5″).
Between those two ends is about 16 inches of gooseneck. It’s covered in flexible plastic tubing about one inch in diameter, but the gooseneck itself seems to be made of linked plastic “balls” much like those used in Joby’s Gorillapod line. Suffice it to say that the Raptor’s gooseneck seems very sturdy and reasonably stiff, although the downside of this is that adjusting the gooseneck makes a good deal of noise and takes some muscle. The added bulk of the Raptor also makes it less portable than similar stands—you won’t be tossing this monstrosity in a laptop bag or your pocket without some advance planning or enormous pants. If space is a consideration, iLevel makes a version with an eight-inch gooseneck that is presumably somewhat more svelte.
My desk has a lip along the front edge, making it difficult to clip anything to the desk. It’s just not an ideal setup for a product like this, something I had noticed with the In Your Face as well. However, the Raptor does a fine job on an airline tray table or on desks without that front lip, or on just about any other flat, stiff surface. I can actually clip it to the edge of my external monitor without interfering with the picture, thus dangling my phone off to the side out of the way. It’s not exactly pretty, but it works fairly well.
Another complaint I had about the In Your Face was the stiffness of the spring used in the device clamp. The Raptor’s spring tension is noticeably lower and seems to be just about perfect, though it does require two hands to insert or remove an iPhone in the clamp.
At $29, iLevel’s Raptor is priced pretty much right where the competition is. (OK, a dollar cheaper, but who’s counting?) It seems better-built and more carefully thought out than the other two similar products I’ve seen, however, and it’s my favorite of the three so far.