When the OEM manufacturers in China take a break from copying products, they can actually make nice products. The best stand I’ve seen so far is courtesy of such a manufacturer.
Named the “Compact Adjustable Metal Viewer Stand Holder for P1000/7″ Tablets” on Dealextreme, this $6.70 (free worldwide shipping) stand is as generic as it can get. I don’t know if they stole the design from someone else or actually came up with it, but either way it’s not easy to refer to something without a proper name. It’s a shame, really, as this stand is great.
The design is so simple that it makes you go “of course!” when you see it. There are 3 metal U-shaped pieces that are held together by two bolts with plastic nuts on the end.The build quality is excellent, with most of it being metal. The metal pieces have some sort of rubber coating on them to protect you tablet, and the plastic knobs on the nuts seem solid enough.
You unscrew the nuts a little bit, put the stand in the position you want and tighten everything up. This allows the stand to be very compact when folded, stable when in use and 100% adjustable. Landscape or portrait, typing angle or movie angle- it does it all.
While it’s “rated” for the original Galaxy Tab and other 7″ tablets, it works perfectly fine with my iPad 2. It should work just as well with other tablets, smaller devices and even other items (like physical books).
Considering the price, the folded size, the build quality (metal) and the adjustability, this is as close to the ultimate stand as you can get. There’s no reason not to have one of these laying around, even if you don’t normally use stands.