ver since getting into smartphone app development, the most annoying and cumbersome task has been sad: holding the phone upright. With the iPhone 5 and plenty of Android smartphones, there just aren’t any good docks. It’s surprisingly hard to find a decent stand for phones.
Over the past few months, I’ve determined several criteria a good stand needs, in the following order:
- It must be stable (user must be able to press on it without the stand or phone moving)
- It must hold the phone at the proper angle (either perfectly vertically or horizontally)
- It should have a simple way to plug in
If you’re in the smartphone stand market, then you know that most docks don’t fulfill even one of these criteria. The few that do are typically speaker docks, which are bulky and expensive. So when I saw the SETA, I was intrigued but not hopeful. Why would a simple Kickstarter project be any better than what major peripheral companies have worked on for years?
I’m happy to announce it does. The SETA is a wonderful stand that fulfills two of the three criteria with extreme precision. The stand itself doesn’t look spectacular in any way; it’s really just an angled metal slab with two sticky panels, one facing the desk and another for the phone. These panels use a technology called NanoSuction, which won’t stick to skin but does hold most flat objects in place, such as the back of an iPhone or Nexus 4. And the SETA has two NanoSuction panels, one for the surface it sticks to and one for the phone. It sticks so well that it even carries my photography studio shooting surface (8lbs).
After a few days of use, I’m crazy about the SETA. At the office it is by far the best dock I’ve ever used. It’s as stationary as a boulder and holds a number of different phones that I use, including the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPod Touch, Nexus 4, Galaxy S 3, and Galaxy Note 2. It doesn’t hold all phones however; most newer phones have copied the iPhone’s flat back, but a current test phone, the HTC Droid DNA. The DNA has a rubber, rounded back, both of which do not work with the SETA.
The last piece to the puzzle is plugging in the phone while using the SETA. The system for that isn’t perfect, in part because MicroUSB and Lightning connectors are both terrible, and because the SETA supports both. It has a built-in slot for users to leave their cable of choice, though it leaves little space for the cable. It’s a simple solution to a complicated problem; that last requirement is also the most lenient of the bunch. The only realistic fix I see for this will come when phones ship ready for induction charging (where the phone receives power from a special surface, without the need for a cable). Then the SETA would be plugged in, and users could flick a switch to charge or not. This wouldn’t solve the requirement for plugging phones in for development purposes, but it would be extremely beneficial for everyday consumers.
My only potential issue with the SETA was the NanoSuction wearing out. I worried that moving the SETA from my office to my home for photography and additional testing would pick up too much dust and dirt to remain sticky. Thankfully the NanoSuction panels can be cleaned with a damp cloth or clear tape. Yet even then after the trek I didn’t need to clean it; my iPhone sticks to the SETA perfectly. And as you can see in the photos, it works just as well with the iPad mini.
I can’t recommend the SETA Smartphone Stand enough. I’m working out a large order so our entire team can have stands for their test devices. It has become the staple of my workspace when testing on mobile. It also hurts to use because I only have one SETA but regularly test across 3+ devices, and according to the Kickstarter page I won’t be able to get any more until September at the earliest.
Looking for the perfect dock for your smartphone? We may have just found it. It’s called the SETA.