• Review: Twelve South HiRise for iPhone 5 and iPad mini

    I've always been a dock person. Yours truly, back in April: "I just can't understand those of you that can stand to have your iPhone just flapping about like some fish out of water on your desk, tethered to your desk only by the cable from where it draws charge. An iPhone charging on a desk without some kind of stand or dock is an ungainly sight, adding needless clutter to an already cluttered desk."

    It was in that same article that I had a look at a few docks and stands that worked with Apple's new Lightning connector. Some of them were little more than collections of plastic and rubber, others still were much more high-end aluminium affairs complete with embedded Swarovski crystals, and the one I settled on and have been using ever since was about as basic as it gets.

    I've been using the Belkin Charge + Sync dock for iPhone 5 ever since, and even though it's a little on the basic side, it gets the job done. A little while ago, Twelve South unveiled the HiRise for iPhone and iPad mini, and I knew I had to check it out. You know, for science.

    Unlike the Belkin, the Twelve South comes in a compact package, commonly known as "flat pack". If you're used to buying Ikea furniture you'll know what I mean, but otherwise it means you have to do some assembly yourself. Nothing too harrowing, and Twelve South have included all the tools and screws you'll need (a single Allen key, and four hex screws). There's an included book which outlines the basic steps, so if you can follow instructions you should have no trouble putting it together (there's also a video tutorial for those that prefer a little in-depth instruction).

    Some of the install process will depend on whether you use a case with your iPhone or not, which brings me to one plus about the HiRise. The range of cases the HiRise supports is impressive, to say the least it can handle anything from a naked iPhone all the way up to an Otterbox Defender, a massive behemoth of a case that provides extreme protection at the cost of obliterating any notion of thin and light. It accomplishes this feat of epic case-compatibility through a series of clips which hold the Lightning cable at various heights, to ensure even the most buried of Lightning ports can still be reached by the pointy, business end of your Lightning cable.

    If you're the case-using type, you might think that because the Lightning cable sits a little more prominently thanks to the different clips, this might compromise overall stability. After all, what good is a stand that constantly tips over? But thanks to an all-aluminium rear support, you case and phone won't be going anywhere. Unless you're putting your finger on top of your iPhone and wobbling it from side to side, I can say that the iPhone sits very securely on the HiRise.

    Apart from that, the HiRise is a pretty neat little stand. You have to use an Apple-branded Lightning cable which some might find inconvenient, but it's not a huge deal, and if you're a case-user, then you'll be glad about the great case compatibiity the HiRise has.

    The big question is, how does it compare to the Belkin? Well, they're about the same. The HiRise has a slightly larger footprint on your desk thanks to the larger aluminium base, and as my photos show, it makes the iPhone sit a little higher up than the Belkin. But it looks way more sophisticated in its Apple-matching aluminium finish, still sports the same great one-handed usability, and even has the same price point.

    So really, the choice is yours. As much as I dislike reviews that sit on the fence, I'd be hard pressed to recommend either stand over the other, because there is no real winner. They're just both great docks/stands functional, moderately attractive, and above all, a home for my iPhone when I'm at my desk.

    The Twelve South HiRise for iPhone and iPad mini retails for $39.95 from Try and Byte, who supplied the HiRise for this review. There might also be a local stockist near you get in touch with them to find out.

    Benny Ling is pleased the HiRise didn't have a name with over-the-top capitalisation, because he's already typing any word that begins with an "i" with a capitalised second letter. Follow him on Twitter.
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