Need a stand of some kind? Just Mobile is a name you often hear when it comes to stands made out of aluminum and clever design. The company has several options to choose from and its latest includes the AluCup, a compact multi-purpose desktop stand that looks like a fine cup holder but really isn't one. Just Mobile announced the AluCup along with several new products at CES 2013, and now we've got our hands on one of these helpful desk accessories which we have put to the test using all kinds of gadgets. Catch our full review down below!
AluCup is a cup holder, Apple iPad pedestal-inspired desktop stand formed beautifully
The AluCup is a simplistic $30 static desktop stand made to Just Mobile's usual high-quality specifications, which means this is one well built stand. It's made using a solid aluminum ring that is beautifully finished with a very fine Apple-esque texture that overlays a soft, silicone rubber inset which is available in a range of colors, can be removed and provides protection against damaging your device. So sure Just Mobile may have gotten the idea for the AluCup while using a cup holder to prop up an iPhone or whatnot, but it gets better. The AluCup is also a reclining pedestal, like the ones Apple uses for its iPad demo units at retail stores.
The AluCup creates a designated space for your iPhone where you can easily drop it and there it'll be stationed at an upright position tilted slightly back so you have the best view of the entire screen, which is fully usable while nestled inside the AluCup in case you were wondering. Similar to a charging dock, only without the docking into a connector portion. In this position, you've got a pretty fantastic view of your iPhone from where you sit at your desk or where you wake up in the morning. I use it every day to keep my iPhone 5 beside me and at a constant visual reach which I find is so convenient I don't want to lay it flat anymore only to pick it up when wanting to check up on something that only takes a few seconds to have a look at. A significant advantage to the AluCup is that a charging dock always means you'd have to use both of your hands or apply a significant force to pull your iPhone out, whereas with the AluCup there is none of that.
The inner rubber circumference is wide enough to accommodate an iPhone 5 with or without a protective case on, but really bulky drop-protective cases will not fit. Although Just Mobile initially designed the AluCup with the iPhone and iPad in mind, other devices like the HTC One for example will have no trouble fitting into the AluCup's upright stand position, albeit it is a snug fit. You won't be able to use any case whatsoever if you plan on using a device such as the HTC One though.
And we move onto the AluCup's second usefulness feature in its multi-purposeness. The AluCup is designed to serve as a reclining pedestal thanks to its rubberized flat rim around the top opening where you can literally set your iPad or iPad mini in either landscape or portrait orientation just like the hands-on displays at Apple retail stores. Doing so will yield a great viewing angle where you can interact with the touchscreen all while the AluCup provides you with a sturdy, rock solid slanted surface for you to work and play on.
There are cable slots notched thru the sides, back and front which let you pass thru your charging cable in order to create a tidier cable routing that will always end up going out the back like a normal dock. However, the AluCup cannot accommodate the Lightning connector when inserting the iPhone into the upright stand position. Charging will always be done when resting a device on top in either landscape or portrait orientations.
But there's a small issue with this one particular feature and that is the grippyness of the rubber. In the first couple of days, any device that I would lay on top of the AluCup's reclining pedestal would gradually slip off. It was only up until recently that this issue completely disappeared and I'm not sure why that is exactly. Although the rubber rim provides grip, I'm not sure it's enough and I would have liked to see some type of micro-texturization done to the surface of the rubber edge with a textured pattern that will provide superior traction compared to the now smooth flat surface, which could potentially cause your device to slip - albeit both of the AluCup stands Just Mobile provided us are now working as they should after a few days of usage. Weather conditions might have something to do with the way the silicone rubber behaved in our early days of testing, but that's only speculation.
Just Mobile's AluCup is simple, yet useful little desk accessory you can use with many types of tablets and smartphone but in particular Apple's iPhone and iPads. Beyond its refined aluminum styling and reclining pedestal prowess, the AluCup puts your iPhone into a better prospective rather than having it lay flat on your desk. Like a more practical CalypsoPad, the AluCup is a place where your iPhone can rest safely guarded by soft rubbery care. As an iPhone stand with a multi-purpose calling, we think the AluCup will appeal to select individuals who see it as a useful desk accessory that would fit their specific needs, and we like it enough to recommend it.