Tablet Stands and Covers
How we tested
Bringing slim, portable tablets into the kitchen puts online recipes at your fingertips—but also places the pricey gadgets within range of splatters and sticky hands. Tablet stands promise to protect and prop up the flat computers for easy reference. There are also plastic covers and bags that act as protective sleeves. We fitted various tablets (including the iPad, iPad mini, and multiple Kindles) with five products—stands, covers, or a combo of both (priced from about $10 to about $68)—to see how well they stood up to the challenges of a busy kitchen. And because the covers resembled the plastic zipper-lock bags we already keep on hand, we added those to the mix, too. We pounded pork chops to see if the stands would rattle; stuffed the plastic covers with paper cut to tablet size, sealed them, and submerged them in water for 5 minutes, noting any leaks; and simply used the stands and covers as directed as we read recipes.
Problems were rife. One stand hogged counter space; some protective covers failed to fit every tablet; and worst of all was the plastic guard on the bottom-ranked stand that rendered the touch screen unresponsive. But there were some keepers, too, like one stand that included an ultraresponsive stylus. One quibble: While the screen was shielded, the power and volume buttons were not.
Best of all was the combination of one particular stand and a plain old zipper-lock bag. The stand featured well-placed grips that secured every device we tried, a small footprint, and a neat foldable design, and the bag shielded the screen at least as well as tablet-specific covers (we taped back excess plastic to create a snug fit and punched holes for charger wires).
Note: Because we did not evaluate every product under the same standards—for instance, plastic bags were not rated for stability—we indicated in the chart where rating categories did not apply with a dash.