was a big fan of Ten One’s Magnus, the iPad stand that kept the larger tablet in place with magnets made of beautiful, shiny aluminum to boot. It wasn’t perfect, but as I continue keeping my iPad upright day after day with the Magnus, I can’t help but feel that there’s nothing better. After all, I still take the slate out of whatever case I keep it in for travelling and toss it straight unto the Magnus, whether the case keeps it upright or not.
So when Ten One announced the Magnus Mini, made for, you guessed it, the iPad mini, I expected the same level of finesse, elegance, and oomph that the original shipped with. It’s fair to say that I had high expectations, generally a no-no for someone reviewing products, but in this case it’s well deserved. The Magnus Mini is a far cry from the company’s best work.
The Magnus Mini is a copy of the Magnus, 1/3rd the size, and made entirely of plastic. Instead of the aluminum silver, the Mini is completely black save for the company logo. It’s small enough to fit in the pocket and forget about (and pretty easy to lose). It’s light enough to drop on concrete or hardwood and not hear it.
The only thing magnified by the Magnus Mini over it’s larger brother is the instability. The Magnus was 85% stable; the Mini hovers around 50%. Heck, pick up the iPad mini and the Mini will hold on for dear life. Ironically, if you keep the Magnus Mini on a metal table, the magnet will keep the whole thing slightly more stable. But the iPad will still flinch whenever touched.
It’s one purpose — to hold the iPad mini upright — is an easy enough thing to achieve, and the Magnus Mini fulfills that promise. But it doesn’t do it well. Tap on the screen too hard and it’ll bounce back and forth. Move the iPad mini at all and the whole thing will either slide (thanks to very non-sticky feet) or, if there is grip, it’ll move instead of staying put.
That’s enough to make the Magnus Mini unsustainable for long- or mid-term use. I had trouble using it over the Logitech Folio for iPad mini because the latter was not only more convenient (so is every iPad case), but it’s way more stable. Sure, it takes up more space on the desk and the angle isn’t just right, but the balance for what the Magnus offers — stability, good looks, and a good angle for the screen — is far outweighed by any decent iPad mini case.
Ten One did a great job with the Magnus, but their follow-up is a disaster. Stay clear of the Magnus Mini. Use the $30 plus shipping on a case, or if you don’t care if the iPad mini stands upright, then on the much better TwelveSouth HiRise for iPhone 5/iPad mini.
Bottom Line: The Magnus Mini is a weak iPad mini stand that’s only good for standing the iPad upright and never touching it.