Laziness isn’t exactly a bad thing. In fact, it’s been said that laziness is a virtue. Laziness brought us the remote control, and the automobile. Laziness brought us microwave dinners and Amazon. And laziness has brought us the Monkey Kit, the new compliment to your e-reader and tablet that you absolutely have to have.
This product is one of the many that have been successfully funded on Kickstarter, and lets you operate your tablet computer or e-reader without having to hold it with your hands, by allowing you to create a stable stand for to rest your tablet on, or to let it hang loosely from your bed post.
Getting one will cost $69 in the US and £50 in the UK. But is it any good?
Introducing the Monkey Kit
The Monkey Kit is designed to be the ergonomic companion to your tablet or e-reader. It allows you to position the device in any number of ways, enabling you to use it in a hands-free mode, ideal for watching movies and reading books in bed, or turning it into a writing (or even programming) workstation by standing it upright on a desk and pairing it with Bluetooth keyboard.
It aims to thoroughly transform how you use your keyboardless devices. But is it unique in what it does?
There’s no shortage of tablet and e-reader stands on the market right now. These vary wildly in terms of how they work with other tablets, to their affordability and build quality. In the past, we’ve looked at the LazePad iPad Holder. Much like the Monkey Kit, it is a high-end device, although differs in being proprietary to the iPad, and solidly rigid. As a result, it does not elevate and contort as the MonkeyKit does.
The Monkey Kit stands out in a couple of ways. Firstly, it can be attached to any number of tablets and even objects, provided it has a smooth, continuous surface and is dry. This makes it stand out from the plethora of brand and device specific mounts on the market right now.
Furthermore, as the tail can be adjusted, you can change the height and angle of your tablet. This means that it’s flexible enough to be used and reshaped as you need to.
The Monkey Kit itself is a remarkable, sturdy, flexible piece of engineering. We’ll talk about its impressive build quality later, but first let’s talk about what it actually is.
The Monkey Kit comes in a rigid, plastic box. This arrived fairly worse for wear, with the edges bashed and beaten. Inside is some documentation, and the actual kit itself held to the box with some plastic clips. This consists of two components.
The first is an impressively powerful suction cup, called the Vacuum Dock which attaches to your tablet or e-reader. Connecting to that is the impressively built tail, which allows you to position and hold your device.
Using the Monkey Kit
Let’s start off by looking at the Vacuum Dock. This can grip the back of any smooth surface, and firmly hold onto it without your expensive tablet computer falling to the floor and shattering into a million pieces – saving you from replacing the screen at great expense.
This initially was a major concern. After all, tablet computers can be expensive. But, I can confidently say that the suction cup has enough force to safely hold any tablet you throw at it. Once you connect it to your tablet or e-reader, it’s not going to let go without a fight.
It’s also worth noting that the Vacuum Dock also rotates, allowing you to use your tablets in both landscape and horizontal modes.
Setting up the Vacuum Dock requires a huge amount of brute force. To interlock your device, you need to firmly push it against the suction cup, whilst simultaneously pressing the large button located on the side of the dock to expel any remaining air.
Once locked, your tablet isn’t going anywhere. Removing your tablet from the Monkey Kit is a matter of breaking the vacuum seal. This is done by pulling a rubberized tab – something that can’t really be done by accident.
The Monkey’s Tail
Connected to the suction cup is the ‘tail’ of the device. It’s easy to see how this device got its name. It flexes and contorts like that of a monkey. It measures 36 inches, which is long enough to horizontally cantilever an iPad mini at one foot. It also weighs a slightly heavy 1.49 pounds (around 0.65 kilograms).
Bending the Monkey Tail is a bit of an ordeal – one that almost qualifies itself as a workout. It’s consisted out of a pliable metal, with a non-slip silicon coating, and is sufficiently rigid to hold any shape you give it.
Want to hang your Kindle from your bedposts while you read Twilight? Now you can. Want to stand your iPad up whilst you work in Pages with a Bluetooth keyboard? The Monkey Kit makes it possible to do all that.
Living With The Monkey Tail
I tested the Monkey Kit out on my Nexus 7 tablet, a pre-Paperwhite Amazon Kindle and Apple iPad 4. I was interested in comparing how the device would cope with the textured, dimple-covered backplate of the Nexus 7, in relation to the smooth back of the Amazon Kindle and the iPad 4.
The Vacuum Dock coped admirably. So long as the device you’re attaching to the Vacuum Dock is smooth, large enough and sufficiently rigid, you should be fine. With that said, I’d be interested to see how it copes with the wave of curved devices – like the Samsung Galaxy Round and the LG G Flex – that are slated to be released in the next few years.
I was also interested in seeing how it the flexible Monkey Tail would handle the varying weights of each tested device. As mentioned before, I used the kit on a number of devices, each representing the different weight categories of tablet computers. I expected the device to groan under the weight of the significantly heavier iPad 4.
Thankfully, there there was no noticeable sagging or drooping, and the tail faithfully kept is shape without contorting or needing to be adjusted.
That Build Quality
Remember the build quality I mentioned earlier? Yeah, it’s impressive. Take, for example, the Vacuum Dock. This is a monumental specimen of industrial design, and is constructed out of sturdy, thick plastic; with a suction cup constructed entirely of polymer rubber that can firmly hold anything you throw at it.
Likewise, the tail is remarkably sturdy. It can withstand an awful lot of contorting and bending without showing any signs of damage, or wear and tear. It can hold a position almost indefinitely without losing shape, and its thick silicon coating ensures that the chances of it slipping from a slippery surface are next to nil.
Should You Buy The Monkey Kit?
That depends really. The Monkey Kit is a really large, really heavy piece of kit and is not especially portable. It’s also not especially cheap. If you’re just looking for a simple iPad stand so that you can holster your tablet next to your computer, you’d be best looking elsewhere, or making one of your own.
With that said, if you’re willing to spend a premium for a quality, ergonomically friendly tablet stand that can be adapted for multiple scenarios and can take a beating, you might benefit from the Monkey Kit.
MakeUseOf recommends: Buy it, if you use your tablet as a productivity device and tend to work from the same place. When you bring mobility into the equation, it becomes slightly less attractive.
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