HoverBar Duo cleverly combines tablet desktop stand with shelf clamp [Review]

With Twelve South’s HoverBar Duo, it’s not necessary to choose between an iPad stand that sits on a desk and one that clamps to a shelf — this accessory does both. And it has a two-piece articulated arm to give a wide range of positioning options. Plus it clamps tightly onto a tablets of many sizes.

I put this stand through its paces, and here’s how it stood up to real-world use.

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Twelve South HoverBar Duo review

My kitchen doesn’t have a lot of counter space, so when I’m cooking the iPad showing the recipe has to sit on a table on the other side of the room. But with the HoverBar Duo, I clamp the tablet to a cabinet and it’s both out of the way and immediately available when I need it.

But when I remove the clamp and put an aluminum plate in its place, I can use Twelve South’s accessory to hold my iPad while I’m working at my desk. And it’ll lift the tablet up to where I can look straight at at.

Hardware and design

HoverBar Duo mimics the shape of your arm. There’s a shoulder, elbow and wrist, with the tablet held in the “hand.” And the articulation is quite similar: the shoulder can bend and rotate, the elbow can only bend, but the wrist is a ball joint that can bend, rotate and spin.

Continuing with the metaphor, there are two joints in the iPad stand’s arm, so my iPad Pro is about 10.5 inches off the tabletop with the screen facing forward. That’s very nearly eye level for me.

The joints are firm. I’m testing Twelve South’s accessory with a 12.9-inch tablet, one of the heaviest that will fit in the clip, and I’ve had no problems with the hinges giving under the weight. But if they ever work loose, you can tighten them with an Allen wrench (included).

The tablet clip fits a surprisingly wide array of devices. It opens far enough to hold my full-size tablet that’s 8.5 inches wide. But it can also hold my iPhone 12 that’s only 5.8 inches tall.

And the clip is quite secure. I used the HoverBar Duo to hold my iPad for a couple of work days. I carried it repeatedly from desk to table during that time. And connected the shelf clamp. The tablet was never in any danger of coming loose.

But the arm is simply too long to be able to hold the computer completely still when you tap on it. Any touch on the screen causes the iPad or iPhone to shake just a bit. It’s not a big deal if you’re only consulting a recipe, but I found it distracting when using the stand all day long for work. Consider using a mouse.

Twelve South makes this stand only in black. The look is fairly industrial — there’s not much the designers could do to make it stylish.

The Twelve South HoverBar Duo mimics the shape of the human arm, with the tablet held in a secure clip.
The HoverBar Duo can extend until your tablet is well off the ground, or bend down until it touches the desk.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Desk stand

With the weighted Desk Base attached, the HoverBar Duo is ready for a full workday. I like the wide range of viewing angles provided, including easily switching iPad between portrait and landscape modes. And I can raise the screen to nearly eye level or lower it until the bottom edge of the tablet clip is touching my desk so I can draw on the display.

The clip is padded so it won’t scratch your tablet. And doesn’t block the iPad’s charging port. It does cover the iPad Pro Apple Pencil charger, but there’s a slot for this stylus in the Desk Base.

The long arm of the HoverBar Duo has advantages, but it’s up to you to keep the weight balanced above the base. With the arm fully extended, the iPad will fall over at almost any angle other than straight up. But lower the tablet a few inches and the stand gets much more stable.

Shelf clamp

With the shelf clamp attached, you can use the HoverBar Duo in your kitchen or workshop. With all the adjustments possible, I can clamp my iPad near my stove and position it so I can easily see the screen without taking up any precious counter space.

The clamp is padded and is 2 inches deep, which is plenty to hold on securely. Just don’t be tempted to try to attach the clamp to something that’s not big enough to give a solid connection. You’d be very sad if your iPad fell to the floor and broke.

And be aware that switching between shelf clamp and desk stand isn’t a quick process. The articulated arm attaches firmly to both of these — which is good — but detaching the clamp requires removing a screw with an Allen wrench, and then you need to screw on the Desk Base. It’s not arduous, but don’t plan to use the HoverBar Duo while you make coffee then quickly pop over to your office and use it when writing emails.

Twelve South HoverBar Duo IS GRESAT FOR WATCHING TV WHLE COOKING.
Attach the clamp to use the HoverBar Duo in your kitchen or workshop.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Twelve South HoverBar Duo final thoughts

The best feature of the HoverBar Duo is its flexibility. And I don’t only mean that its multiple hinges allow it to hold your tablet or phone at a wide variety of angles. Because Twelve South’s accessory includes both a desktop stand and a shelf clamp, it can be used in a wide variety of ways and locations, from garage to kitchen to office.

Pricing

HoverBar Duo sells for $79.99 on the Twelve South website. And it’s available on Amazon for the same price.

Comparable products

Those looking for a more basic option might consider the Satechi Aluminum Desktop Stand ($44.99). It’s shorter and doesn’t include a clamp, but costs far less.

Or the Moft Float combines an iPad case with a two-level kickstand. Again there’s no clamp, but it can be used anywhere, like a classroom or coffee shop.

And don’t overlook the elegant Wiplabs Slope.

Twelve South provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out other in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.