The GroovBoard is available in six hardwoods: alder, apple, ash, cherry, maple, oak, plum (very distinctive looking) and walnut. The dimensions are 11.8 x 9 x 0.95 inches, and it weighs just about two pounds. The whole thing feels nice (each piece is finished with linseed oil for a silky feel) and the edges have been routed ever so slightly, just to remove the hard edge. The grooves are nicely cut and do their job well, but more on that later.
What's interesting is the removable extender. It's held in place by four magnets and to posts and snaps on and off easily. I was certain I was about to break something the first time I removed it, as it feels odd to pick this thing up and snap the last few inches off, but no, it's supposed to work like that. When assembled, it's in place nice and tight, so you needn't worry about it falling off when you don't want it to.
Here's the fun part. There are three main ways to use the GroovBoard with your iPad. The first is as a simple stand. Place your iPad in the groove towards the front. You'll find that it's held at a nice angle for touching and tapping. You can type in this orientation, tough I found the extender to be in the way. You can remove it, of course, or move the iPad to the rear groove.
The groove at the back of the GroovBoard holds it at a less sharp angle and frees up the front groove to hold an Apple Bluetooth keyboard, which it accommodates perfectly. In my week of testing, this is how I used the GroovBoard most often. The keyboard's rounded battery compartment fits perfectly into the frontmost groove (neat that it holds the keyboard or an iPad just as ably) and the rest of it sits nicely on the extender. It's at home on a desk or your lap in this configuration.
Finally, you can tip the GroovBoard up on its end and find a third groove at the very top of the device. Put the iPad in there if your slouching back with your knees up. It's quite comfortable resting against your thighs, and you can remove the extender to find the best viewing angle.
I've also got to mention the stylus slots. There are four in total, two on each side. The GroovBoard holds several models of stylus (full list here; my Cosmonaut was too big) in either the lapdesk or "slouching back" position.
The GroovBoard is very nice. It's also kind of big. At two pounds, it's heavier than my iPad 2 (1.33 pounds). It's also noticeably thicker, and takes up a lot of room in my small bag. It also got a couple of scratches on the bottom, but that could be because I'm using a European Cherry GroovBoard, which is the softest model.
The GroovBoard is a great device. It's clear that a lot of thought went into its design and construction. The fact that it can accommodate the iPad in a variety of ways, hold a stylus for a lefty or a righty and secure an Apple keyboard so well makes it a very useful lapdesk/stand indeed. Plus, it's just good-looking.
Prices vary between US$89 and $119. If you're looking to buy one as a gift, get your order in now. Or, win our giveaway!
I'm giving away the ash GroovBoard I tested for this article. Here are the details:
Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
To enter leave a comment .
The comment must be left before MONDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2012, 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time.
You may enter only once.
One winner will be selected in a random drawing.
Prize: Ash GroovBoard + accessories described above (Value: US$99 )
Click Here for complete Official Rules.