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Review: Octa Vacuum Dock and Whale Tail

Device Doubles as Handgrip and Stand for the Apple iPad, Tablets and Readers

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

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Review: Octa Vacuum Dock and Whale Tail
Image © Octa

The Octa Vacuum Dock sucks. In fact, I would even venture to say that it sucks hard. For proof of its extreme suckiness, all I need to do is look at the circular mark left on one of my poor iPad cases after I got the great idea of seeing if the darn thing would stick on smooth faux leather (Answer: Yes it would. And yes, I sometimes have the mentality of a curious 10-year-old). The thing practically attached itself like a facehugger from Aliens.

So what is the Octa Vacuum Dock? For the uninitiated, it’s a half-dome shaped gadget that attaches on the back of the Apple iPad — or any sizeable tablet or e-reader for that matter — via vacuum technology. To do so, you just need to align it to the surface you want to stick it to, pump it five or so times and voila — instant suck-titude. Now, I’m sure your next question is, “What’s the point?” Well, a couple actually.

The first purpose for the Octa Vacuum Dock is to serve as a handgrip. I must admit, I had serious doubts about this particular function at first. I mean, how lazy do you have to be to need a holder for a tablet, right? Surprisingly, though, the vacuum dock actually works well for this purpose. This is especially true for larger tablets such as the Apple iPad, which can be a bit tiring to hold after extended use. Holding the iPad via the Octa Vacuum Dock feels more natural and comfortable plus it’s easier on the wrist. If you like holding your iPad bare (by “bare,” I mean the iPad, not you), then the gadget is actually pretty useful. It’s likely not quite as needed for smaller, lighter devices, though. Also, the device adds bulk to any device you stick it to, which makes storage a bit of an issue. If you’re traveling with it on a plane, for example, you’ll likely want to just carry it separately on the pouch that came with device and stick it only when you need to use it. Speaking of its pouch, I recommend storing it in there when not in use so you don’t get dust and gunk on the suction as those may affect the device’s stickiness.

As for its second purpose, the Octa vacuum dock can also be attached to Octa’s Whale Tail stand, which is a, um, stand that’s shaped like, uh, a whale tail. This last public service announcement, by the way, was brought to you by Captain Obvious’ over-achieving cousin, Super Captain Obvious. The stand is actually quite neat as it allows you to prop up your iPad in various angles, especially when you change your vacuum dock’s placement. It also looks nice and sleek compared to some other stands out there. The Whale Tail’s slender shape also works well when using the dock as a handgrip because it easily slips between your middle and forefinger. While it’s easy to install, though, removing the tail can be a bit of a pain, especially if you want to make sure that you don’t accidentally bend or break the thing. As such, you want to be extra careful when taking it off.

Admittedly, the device is somewhat situational and also a bit pricey at $50. But if you mostly like using your iPad or other tablet without a cover and you’re looking for something to make extended jaunts with your device a bit easier on your wrists (while also doubling as a stand), then the Octa Vacuum Dock and Whale Tail combo is worth a look. At the very least, it should make for interesting small talk at your next party.

Octa Vacuum Dock and Whale Tail

  • Platform: iPad, tablets and e-readers
  • Cost: $50
  • Final rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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