Gadget review: Twelve South HoverBar 3 for iPad

The HoverBar in action. Picture: Contributed
The HoverBar in action. Picture: Contributed
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FOR the average office worker, the flurry of information and social networks to manage means that the space on a workstation monitor is getting increasingly crowded.

Hoverbar 3 for iPad, £60 RRP

Even with multiple browser tabs open alongside the likes of an email client and Tweetdeck, the screen space can quickly become a jumble. If you have an iPad, however, Twelve South have struck upon a stylish way of decluttering your digital life.

The South Carolina firm, which has been making dedicated accessories for Apple products for five years, has developed the HoverBar 3, a flexible arm designed to mount an iPad to a Mac, a monitor, or even a standalone desk, allowing you to position to tablet adjacent to a primary screen and work on both simultaneously.

Aesthetically, it could pass as a prototype from Tony Stark’s subterranean workshop. Its finish is a sleek mix of black and chrome, with the surfaces that grip to your devices cushioned with silicone so as to avoid scratches. A clamp secures to the edge of a tabletop or the neck of a monitor, with various iPad models - the iPad second to fourth generations as well as the Air and Mini - then attachable to the other end of the arm courtesy of a series of interchangeable clips not dissimilar in design to the flux capacitor from Back to the Future.

With a ball and socket joint, the arm is flexible enough to be shaped into a suitable position yet resilient enough to remain rigid. Using the iPad’s touchscreen, there is a slight give and movement, albeit nothing to give cause for concern. Indeed, once fully set up, the HoverBar feels extremely secure.

The device’s applications may not be immediately discernible in the average household. Some users have reported clamping it to a headboard for browsing in the bedroom, for instance, but to our tastes, the Hoverbar feels a touch too intrusive for such tasks. Indeed, it is legitimate to question the need for such an accessory given the abundance of cheap stands and there is no doubt that its efficacy will depend on what you use your iPad for.

In a home or work office, however, its release is well timed to capitalise on the growing popularity and functionality of a second screen. Our review unit allowed us to use a desktop for ordinary computing tasks, with an iPad 2 alongside it running a constantly updated stream of tweets via Echofon. Its suitability becomes even more clear if your stock in trade covers graphic design, illustration or filmmaking.