A couple weeks ago, we highlighted the launch of Twelve South’s newest accessory, the HiRise for iPhone 5 and iPad mini. I was able to finally get my hands on one and can report the excitement is worth the hype. For those new to the Twelve South scene, the company is a premium and Apple exclusive accessory maker, made famous for simple and elegant products like the iPhone SurfacePad, BookBook case, and BookArc.
Humbly setting a company goal to launch 12 Mac accessories each year, each new item is focused on design and function. Often, the elegance and intricacies of Twelve South products are found in the smallest of details, which often make the user experience even more enjoyable.
The HiRise for iPhone is no exception to the quality build and functional design of the product line. The HiRise for iMac or for MacBook Pro are popular items and the ported design easily conforms to iPhone 5 and iPad mini. With a small footprint, the newest HiRise is an excellent desktop companion…
Design and setup
At its core, HiRise is simply an iPhone and iPad mini dock. As with all products, the finesse is in the details. HiRise is a pedestal stand that mimics an iMac base in both shape and aluminum material. Two separate raised bars hold the iPhone about 1.5″ from the base. The first elevated piece holds an OEM Apple Lightning cable in one of three carefully crafted clips. These clips provide various access depths to the cable to provide compatibility with thicker cases. To determine if your iPhone case is compatible, watch this quick video.
The second bar, located behind the first, provides a moveable support prop for the device. I use my iPhone naked. Therefore, the support bar is right next to the Lightning clip, which prevents my iPhone from torquing the pins. However, if a thicker case is installed on your device, the support bar can be moved to adequately accommodate.
Moving the support bar requires the use of an allen wrench, because the bar is screwed into place. Additionally, the front bar is screwed into place as well. I had a little trouble getting the screws mounted due to the slanted attachment points, but nothing a little patience could not overcome. Proving Twelve South’s attention to detail, the allen wrench is hidden inside the base of the HiRise. To get the full tour, watch the installation video below.
Admittedly, I am a big fan of Twelve South and appreciate them sending over this unit for review. When I first saw pictures of the product launch, I was a bit skeptical about the design. Playing with HiRise for about a week, I am coming around to its design features. Now, the appearance of simplicity and actual simplicity are different. You will know what I mean after watching the above install video to see just how this guy sticks together.
The look and feel of the HiRise is high class. Keeping branding to a minimum, only a small “12” is debossed on the front docking bar, which is mildly noticeable and does not detract from the overall aesthetic appeal of the unit. I do wish the included clips were not white, but it is difficult to color plastic while matching brushed aluminum. The support bar also includes a white rubberized top piece, which prevents a naked device from scraping the aluminum stand.
Because the Lightning tip is fixed, the device viewing angle is also fixed. While the support arm moves to accommodate larger cases, it is always held at the same angle. Moving the angle of the device would cause strain on the clip, Lightning tip, and device port. Adjusting the angle is then left to distance, farther away is a different titled angle.
I really like the way the Lightning cable is installed, which is also demonstrated in the above video. There are no damaging screws holding it in, unlike several competitor docks, which require the cable to be screwed for stability. Also, the channel cut in the bottom of HiRise is perfect for keeping everything tight and the closure cap hides all of the messy parts.
My biggest complain is the weight. Most people prefer lightweight accessories. However, this dock will be permanently left on my desk because the installed cable is always plugged into my iMac. The new Lightning ports click into place more aggressively, making it more difficult to free my iPhone or mini from its connection. Subsequently, removing a device from the HiRise requires two hands due to the dock’s weight, which is not enough to allow one-handed removal.
The HiRise is a well built and carefully designed dock for iPhone 5 and iPad mini. The clip system ensures a wide variety of cases are compatible and the support stand adjusts accordingly. All of the little pieces and even the tool are included in the package, preventing a trip to the tool box just to get up and running. Matching Apple’s computer line, the brushed aluminum is a welcome to my desktop workspace.
Little details were considered, like access to the headphone jack and speakers. The rubber bumper prevents device scratching and the footprint matches the iMac. Aside from the fixed viewing angle and the inability to place a device in landscape orientation, the HiRise is a solid product by Twelve South, as one comes to expect. In fact, Twelve South even sold out of their initial supply and had to run another batch soon after launch. Now in steady supply, grab your own for $34.99 and declutter your workspace with an efficient stand.
Want to know about a great app? Try Duet Display, an awesome app that turns your iPhone or iPad into an extra display for your Mac or PC. Get it now in the App Store.