Thursday, March 31, 2011

Griffin Technologies CinemaSeat for iPad Review


The Apple iPhone is one of the most successful products ever designed so it's not no surprise that their "next big thing", the Apple iPad has also taken the world by storm selling millions of units worldwide. The accessory market is gearing up for the iPad to be as strong as it is for the iPhone. Now, the iPad is a wonderful media device for showcasing music, photos and maybe most importantly; movies. However holding an iPad for two hours while watching a movie in the backseat of a moving car on a road trip might not be the most pleasant experience as it can become a bit heavy and tiresome. No fear, there's an accessory for that.



Griffin Technology, a leading provider of Apple accessories, has launched the CinemaSeat for iPad. What this product does is allow you to mount your iPad to the upper back of the car seat in front of you. The adjustable velcro strap will secure the unit to the headrest area. It's a simple and effective way to dramatically increase the viewing pleasure while stuck in the backseat of a vehicle. It'll also make it safer by reducing the number of flying debris in the event of a collision.

The Packaging:



A simple cardboard box with graphics is the retail packaging. It's good not to see some overly plastic (and impenetrable) cocoon.

A Closer Look:


As you can imagine with the iPad being such a simple "slab" or "tablet" design, there isn't much to this accessory. However don't let that fool you. It's quality, not quantity when it comes to a good design. Speaking of quality, the CinemaSeat feels of good quality materials. We see cutouts and a strap, let's see how they perform. 

Installation:





Installation is as simple as sliding the iPad in from the top side of the unit. There is nothing but a snug fit and gravity holding it in there, but that isn't a problem since most of us drive right side up. :)
 
All of the ports and buttons are exposed except for one; the power button. I was a bit surprised by this at first, but it turned out to be no big deal. Since this unit is pretty much designed to stay in the vehicle (though keep in mind it's completely portable and easy to install/remove), you just turn on the iPad and slip it in the top of the unit. For instance; I have it installed in my vehicle in front of my toddlers car seat. The CinemaSeat just stays attached in the vehicle and the iPad is brought in and out with ease. It has brought my (just under) 2 year old many hours of pleasure of Phineas and Ferb. 






Griffin was kind enough to send along their 6' auxilary audio cable so that I could route the audio out on the iPad to my vehicles aux input. This was so I could listen to whatever was playing on the iPad (movie, music, etc) over the vehicles speakers. This greatly adds to the listening experience and enjoyment. 
 
Conclusion:

    Overall this is a handy little item for positioning your iPad on the back of a seat. It secures the iPad firmly enough without being too complicated. Just wrench the thick velcro strap tight around the headrest vertical bars and you're good to go. 

The one thing to note is the price. It's listed at $49.99 from the Griffin website, but fortunately we know from experience that you'll want to shop around to get it at half that price. At $50 I could not recommend this unit at all, but a quick look on Amazon.com shows it from a third party for under $20. Again, that's just a quick look. I'm sure for $20-$25 shipped is the going rate and for that price I could recommend the CinemaSeat.