For the most part, using any gadgets require two hands: One to hold the device and the other as the controller. While the iPad has a comfortable design that fits nicely into our hands, sometimes the grip could feel better improved than just grabbing on to one side of the tablet. Or what if you want to set the iPad or iPhone upright while you’re reading off a recipe in the kitchen, or need to double the device as a GPS navigator as you’re driving? The Kickstarter Steelie Mount wants to improve that experience by allowing you to attach a magnet back to your device. It’s also got a ton of other accessories to match various uses in daily life, such as a mount to use in a car or a stand to make the tablet completely handsfree. The project is completely funded, but you’ve got until Monday to cash in if you’re interested. But should you be interested? Join us as we go hands-on with this gadget magnet to see what our initial impressions are.
Look and Feel
When the Steelie Mount came out of the box, the first thought was the amount of weight on the ball. It’s got a noticable heaviness which could add to your preferred weight of the iPad, but it’s not completely distracting. It almost feels like a large marble stuck inside of bunch of different mounts. The magnet pad also has an imprint of the “STEELIE” brand slapped across the side. While this might be just pure aesthetics snobbery, we wished they used a nicer font or do a better job branding the logo than just a regular default type. Hey, that’s what the Kickstarter is for! “[We hope] funding will allow us to upgrade some of our older equipment and purchase a used laser engraver,” says the project page. We’d love it too! Meanwhile, with Steelie manufacturing most the parts by hand, we can appreciate the work that was put into crafting the piece in its main purpose: Utility.
To patch the Steelie magnet onto your gadget, simply peel off the 3M sticky pad and press firmly to the center back of your device. This thought scared us at first. What if I wasn’t going to like the mount? Would the glue leave behind residue? Thankfully, the magnet can be taken off and reattached when you see fit with the help of rubbing alcohol to clean the glue. The 3M pads are also made to be removed seamlessly, so we did not have any problem removing the sticker.
The first attachment we received is the rubber ball, the Hobknob, which helps the iPad stand in place and tiled upright so you can use both hands to type or manage applications. Although it’s got a circular design, the rubber helps from the ball to tip from one side to another. This isn’t foolproof, naturally. Too much tapping pressure and the tablet can still wobble. You can also place the ball between your index and middle fingers to hold the iPad like a canvas. The Hobknobs come in various designs and colors chosen at random, and they resemble those rubber bounce balls you get from dispensing machines in arcades.
Our favorite part of the Steelie mount is the stand, which turns your iPad into a little podium. This is great for when you’re referring to the screen for information as you’re using both hands to do something else, such as cooking or working on a DIY project. Underneath the stand is also an anti-slip surface to keep the mount in place. The steel magnet ball helps the tablet tilt at your preferred viewing angle, and although it’s sturdy enough to hold the weight, the angle works best when you tilt it farther up so the weight is more centered at the middle of the mount. This could get inconvenient if you need a lower angle. We recommend just using the Hobknob for that task.
From our experience, once you stick the magnet inside the rubber ball holder, it’s rather difficult to get it back out and remounted on the table top stand. The magnets are so strong, putting it apart requires a bit of strength. You’d want to be careful so the iPad doesn’t go flying off your hands. Still, strong is good! Especially with the smaller stand to use in your car, you will definitely want the kind of power to keep your phone from falling off the dashboard. We dared to hold to iPad upside down with the Hobknob and it didn’t slip off either.
Our only concern is if the magnet will result in any interference with the device’s ability to access signals. It didn’t seem to be the case where this item was tested, but we couldn’t help but be curious since the power is quite remarkable.
Should you buy it?
The Steelie Mount is a great set for those who want more versatility to their gadgets. If you don’t mind a basic look for a great function, the set is definitely made for your needs. At $80 for the full set off Kickstarter, the Steelie can be a bit pricey. If you prefer to pick and choose the mount that best suit your needs, you can also pay a lower fee to buy separate pieces.
Although the magnets are pretty sturdy and powerful, you might be afraid of the gadgets slipping off the mounts. Steelie will punch a hole in your iPhone, iPad, or iTouch cases to best fit the Steelie Mount if you so desire for added protection. We enjoyed the Steelie and think it’s a great accessory to add more features to our gadgets, so if you depend on them for much of your daily lives, it’s definitely worth the investment. You’d be hard pressed to find other sets that simultaneously work together like the Steelie is designed to without buying separate accessories in the first place.
Watch the Kickstarter video for Steelie Mount below.