IK Multimedia recently released their class offerings of universal tablet stands. The iKlip Xpand provides a much needed extra stage hand for the ever increasing use of iPods, iPads and tablets devices in a stage or studio environment, however the product is poorly engineered and falls short of being trustworthy.
As the need for the secure placement of handheld devices, which have been integrated into the musical performance environment increases, the iKlip Xpand hits the mark from a concept level but fall short during usability. The most glaring engineering failure has to do with the ball joint global positioning mechanism not fitting securely together in a tight and closed fashion.
The joint enclosure, which could be thought of as a hip socket, fails to securely grip the ball joint (head of the femur), leaving a noticeable gap in the seam section of the connection. The ability to not completely secure the ball joint in the socket provides a probable failure point. Secondly the plastic adjustment screw might be compromised through over tightening the weak connection point.
The iKlip Xpand is of handsome design with a strong, spring loaded expansion grip, but the four tiny pieces of “Gorilla Grip” backing strips are not properly secured to the iKlip housing and can be lost in short order. Further, the tiny pieces of protective rubber are not adequately designed to fit securely in the plastic housing.
The iKlip Xpand mounting bracket for microphone stand poles just barely meets the definition of “universal”. While the adjustable, quality grade, threaded plastic knob can be adequately attached to a pole with a diameter of up to 1.2" (30mm) it minimally secures the common boom stand poles with diameters that are slightly less than 1.2"(30mm). The solution to this problem might be to provide a longer adjustment knob to accommodate smaller diameter boom poles.
From a utility standpoint, IK Multimedia’s line of tablet support devices is a smart product offering which can provide the performer with a welcoming ergonomic solution to the placement of awkward electronic devices. IK Multimedia might also consider extending their support products into the assistive technology market segment for the use with wheel chairs, walkers and workstations for people with disabilities. However, the iKlip Xpand universal mic stand support product for iPad and tablets is not there yet with regard to out-of-the-box performance. Perhaps a bit of engineering adjustment is required.