2016-05-17: SO WE MEET AGAIN

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avatarben2016-05-17: As promised, here is my...

REVIEW OF THE FLIPSTEADY FOR CINTIQ COMPANION 2

But before I start, I need to disclaim that I contacted Isaiah Coberly, maker of the FlipSteady, to inform him that I’d be doing a review on my puny little website. So he was kind enough to offer me a SWEET $15 COUPON for my following (that’s you). Be sure to apply the code provided at the end of the review if you intend to make a purchase.

But will you make a purchase? Are you interested in the FlipSteady? Do you even know what I’m talking about? Do you care? Unless you own a Wacom tablet, probably not. (Hey there’s also a comic up there.) First, here’s a look at the actual thing:

FlipSteady01  FlipSteady02

And here’s a video of the actual thing.

The FlipSteady combines a protective case and a stand, and it’s also a drawing tool. Its origami-inspired stand will “deploy” at many different angles, which provides both a versatile support for drawing and a base that lets you rotate the whole tablet in any direction. Here’s what I think about it.

Construction
When I started looking for a new stand for my Companion 2, I really didn’t care about the whole “flip” part of the FlipSteady. Anybody who owns a Cintiq Companion knows the included stand is a bulky piece of crap, and I just wanted an alternative that would offer stability, protection, and portability. In these regards, I have not been disappointed: the FlipSteady is made of high-quality materials (the outside leather feels nice, and the “velvety” interior feels even nicer), provides protection for the corners and the screen of the tablet (which it initially lacked), and is incredibly thin (portability is far from an issue). It also fits the tablet very tightly.

Additionally, there is a “clip” on the front of the case. When the clip is closed, the stand will deploy when you flip the cover open. When the clip is open, the cover will stay flat behind the tablet. This is very useful as you don’t always need the full stand, and it allows for even more angled positions. On the back you get a bunch of straps and pen holders, but I must say I haven’t been using them, as it would require laying the Companion on its screen. While the screen is indeed protected with the FlipSteady, it just doesn't feel natural to leave the tablet upside-down.

Practicality
Oh man. Before I had this, I used my Companion at my desk, and at the kitchen table. That’s it. Maybe sometimes I’d bring it over on the couch, but I have a tendency to move a lot while I’m sitting, like my spine is made of Rice Crispies (if that makes sense?).

The stand will indeed deploy at many, many angles, which allows you to rest the tablet on your lap, on a table, on the ground, on your cat, whatever. My main fear at first was with stability: how robust was that thing? I’m pleased to report that it is very stable. The stand is actually made of leather-covered aluminium. So no matter how you use it, your tablet always rests on a solid and stable aluminium piece. This was the only saving grace of the original stand: it was bulky, but it was stable. With the FlipSteady, you don’t lose that stability.

But how is the flippability of the FlipSteady? Is it as fluid as advertised? Well, in a way, yes. If you’re sitting at a table, you can easily rotate your tablet from portrait-mode to landscape-mode just like you’re using a rectangular steering wheel. However I did notice that when you switch to portrait-mode, the folding part of the case, you know the “hinge”, has a tendency to pop out since it now has to support the whole tablet. This can be a little annoying, because when it happens you lose a lot of stability and the tablet risks sliding down. This won’t happen if you just take your time and position the stand correctly and firmly, but it’s an issue if you go too fast and start rotating your tablet like a ninja.

CatSteady01
Pricing
Aaaand… here we are. If you’ve already done some research, you know this isn’t a cheap product. And this is probably the only thing that’s keeping you from buying one. And you read my review wallet in hands, thinking I’d tell you not to worry about it. Well, I’m here to tell you that… uh… yeah… the price is an issue. In Canadian dollars, I had to fork out $250 for this. That’s $187 USD on sale. This is way too expensive in my opinion. At the end of the day, this is still just a tablet stand, not a New Nintendo 3DS.

I’m not saying the pricing is abusive: I don’t know how much this product actually costs to make. The FlipSteady is handmade in the US, with all the best materials and the best features. But you will only need it if you already bought another extremely pricey item, namely a Cintiq Companion. The price is an issue not because the FlipSteady is not inherently worth it, but because such an item just needs to be cheaper.

Maybe the only way to reduce the price would be to streamline the process, cut some corners on some features (like the aforementioned pen holders) or even use cheaper materials. Yes, that’d be a shame, as this right now is the Ferrari of tablet stands. But having a Ferrari is not always necessary, especially when all you want out of a product is a practical sleeve for your other Ferrari.

Conclusion
So, do I recommend getting a FlipSteady after that last rant? Well… Yes? Yes minus? Maybe plus?

It’s hard, because I can’t just say: “this is great value for the price”. But at the same time, you can’t compare this to some other generic sleeve on eBay. This is not a product made for a regular tablet: it will very much enhance your drawing experience (there are some for iPads too, but I don’t know/care about that). If you’re using a Cintiq Companion, then you’re already committed to your art/pastime and you need to change that goddamn stand.

I have been using my FlipSteady for two weeks now, and frankly I don’t regret it one bit. My Companion has transformed from “bulky and fragile” to “sleek and practical”. I was actually thinking about getting a smaller, slower tablet for when I’m on the go or just don’t feel like drawing on a desk, but the reality is: the FlipSteady was cheaper. So I bit the bullet budget-wise, but it paid off: I now feel like I’m carrying a drawing pad around, and that was the whole point.

So yeah, the price is my only real issue with the FlipSteady. Good thing you have my $15 coupon code: HAGANDAZZ.

You can get a FlipSteady right here.

-Ben!
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DazzWorld is a webcomic about dazzling heroes, space travel, strange new worlds, engaging mysteries, and Love. There's also a chinchilla. The comic is updated weekly on Tuesdays.

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Creator: benbd@dazzworld.com [Twitter: DazzBen]
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