Why It Matters
When the first release came through for the Wallee Handstrap, my brain somewhat revolted. Not that it’s a disgusting product — simply that it seemed like such a weird choice for an iPad accessory, especially given that the marketing had decided to go down the “cute” route of showing how you could use it as a wristwatch. That’s not quite its primary function though, so I requested a review sample of the Handstrap to put it through its paces.
What We Like
The whole Wallee system is designed to be modular; buying the $19.95 Handstrap isn’t enough, as you’ll need the $39.95 Wallee case as well. It’ll work with other Wallee accessories, though, so by keeping the same case on, you can switch between the Handstrap and, say, the car mount. It works well if you’re invested in the system.
It’s a minor point, but the cross pattern on the Handstrap? Ideal for your next ultra-low-budget X-Men fan movie. Just putting that out there.
The Handstrap itself is very solidly built, with a good quantity of strong velcro holding it to your wrist. As with all things Velcro you could reasonably expect that to degrade over time, but unless you were using the Handstrap every day, you’re more likely to have the iPad 2 die on you before the Velcro fails.
More practically, the real utility of the handstrap is that it brings the solid and robust grip of the Wallee system to your hand, and that’s got several practical applications. It’s passable as a way to hold an iPad 2 while lying down without needing a case, as it rests on your wrist instead. If you were using an iPad 2 in some kind of industrial location, you could wander around with it solidly locked into place, never worrying about dropping it.
Also, it could double as a wristwatch, but only for the terminally extroverted type who didn’t mind getting mugged.
What We Don’t Like
One of the more obvious problems that the Handstrap — and by extension, the whole Wallee system — has is that it’s not compatible with the 3rd Generation iPad, which is notably fatter than its 2nd generation counterpart. It’d be a fair guess to say that Wallee’s prototyping iPad 3rd generation cases as I type this, but for the moment, if you’re a brand new iPad owner, this isn’t the product for you.
The wristwatch idea was the genesis of this product’s marketing, but it’s actually the least comfortable way not only to wear the Handstrap, but even to put it on, as you’ve got to rest an iPad 2 on your wrist while fiddling with Velcro underneath it. That’s partially true if you’re wearing it on the underside of your wrist, but at least then you can hold most of it with your palm.
Like the Wallee Headrest, the Handstrap is a quite specialised product for those who need a handheld tablet but run the risk of dropping it constantly. If that’s you, it’s very solidly built and does perform its appointed task very well.