Netherlands-based audio/video mount manufacturer Vogel's first introduced their iPad mounting solution in October of 2010. Now the company has brought its universal mounting system for the iPad 2 -- named RingO -- to American soil for the first time. I recently had an opportunity to try out the complete system, which consists of an iPad 2 holder, a wall mount, a car mount, and a table stand. How did RingO work as an all-around mount?
I tested the RingO All-In-One Pack for iPad 2 (US$119.99), consisting of the four parts mentioned above. The company sells RingO through Amazon.com in the U.S., and the street price is correspondingly lower -- about $82. The individual components are also available separately, with the iPad 2 holder and wall mount going for $59.99, a separate wall mount for $29.99, the car mount for $59.99, and a table stand or flip stand for $19.99 each. Vogel's is also set to release a Flex Mount ($59.99, on an extendable arm) and an adhesive-backed wall mount ($29.99) in September of 2011.
Update: According to a spokesperson for Vogel's, the only products currently available in the U.S. are the Starter Pack (wall mount and holder at $69.99) and the Car Pack ($99.99). The product is available in the physical and online Apple Stores today.
The most important part of this system is the iPad 2 holder, so I'll look at it in detail first. As befitting a European design firm, Vogel's provides a very IKEA-like set of diagrammatic instructions showing how to install and remove the holder. Unlike the HandStand case, which I needed to force onto my iPad 2 with a spudger and muscle, the Vogel's case snapped right on. It's also open on the left side of the iPad 2, so the Apple Smart Cover still works.
The holder is basically a hard plastic shell with cutouts for the various iPad controls and a circular cutout on the back where the various mounts click in. Let's talk about the functionality of those mounts.
The wall mount can be mounted anywhere that you can safely attach it to a surface with an included wood screw. It's a small aluminum and plastic cylinder -- pulling off the top of the cylinder reveals the hole for the screw. Once it's mounted on the wall, you put the top back on and there's just an unobtrusive aluminum fixture on the wall.
The car mount is incredibly useful and absolutely the best (and safest) iPad car mount I've seen so far. It consists of a two-part tough plastic molding that locks to the headrest uprights in a car. One part has a RingO mount on a combination swivel and pivot, while the other can be released with the push of a large button to install or remove the mount from the seat. When the RingO car mount is installed, the iPad is held very steady and there's no concern about it flopping about in case of sudden car movements.
Even if you're just in the market for a car mount, it would be worth it to buy the RingO Car Pack (about $70 on Amazon). The pack consists of a holder, the car mount, and the table stand. Seriously, this is an excellent car mount for iPad 2.
The final piece is the Table Stand, which is the most overpriced piece of the product line. It's basically a $20 piece of plastic that snaps into the RingO holder. The Table Stand is well-designed, working in either landscape or portrait orientation, but $20? C'mon, Vogel's.
The Vogel's RingO mount system is incredibly well designed and manufactured. However, I have to wonder if the high price tag on the system compared to other stands and mounts might dampen the enthusiasm of some potential buyers.
I like the fact that the Vogel's RingO mount is a system that makes it easy to go from room to table to car without having to remove the iPad 2 holder. The system will grow in September with the addition of the Flex Mount and the adhesive-backed wall mount -- the latter will be great for those who live in leased space where putting screw holes into walls might be frowned upon.
As I noted before, the RingO Car Pack on its own would make an excellent solution for anyone who wants an easy-to-install and durable iPad car mount. Being able to install the mount securely in seconds is worth the cost.