The Case for the Kickstand

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read

The most notable hardware feature on the Microsoft Surface line of computers in the kickstand. Not a single commercial for a Surface will go by without them showing you that sweet kickstand at all sorts of crazy angles. While I’m far from the biggest Windows fan, I have to get something off my chest:

I love the kickstand.

And one more thing while I’m emphatically stating things:

The iPad would be better with a kickstand of its own.

Whew! That feels good to get out there, but I fully believe it. The kickstand accomplishes a few things for me that the iPad simply doesn’t do today.

First, the kickstand being built into the tablet itself means that I can stand the Surface up on its own and I don’t need to have a cover or case with me. I like to use my devices naked (the devices are naked, to be clear) and that means I’ll find myself using the iPad and want to stand it up in front of me, which means I need to get up and find the keyboard case. The keyboard case is wonderful for typing, but it' adds significant bulk to the device, so I don’t use it unless I’m actually using it. The comparative simplicity of flipping out the stand on the Surface is so much easier.

Second, the kickstand allows me to stand the Surface up at ONE MILLION different angles. Okay, maybe not that many, but anything from closed to 165 degrees possible and works great. Whatever angle I need it at now is possible. So if I’m typing away on an article, I can have it tilted slightly up towards my face. If I want to slouch down a bit, I can pull in the kickstand a bit to face a little lower. And if I’m using it in the kitchen and want to lean over it, I can open it up all the way and have it sit at a very pleasant drafting table-style angle. And if I want it totally flat on a surface like the iPad, I can do that too.

Finally, and this may just be a me thing, but I find the kickstand to be a pretty decent way to hold the Surface in the air when I’m just using it to watch something. I can’t quite explain it, because I don’t think physics is necessarily on my side here, but I really like being able to flip out the kickstand a bit and hold it from there.

The bottom line is that I really enjoy having a stand built into the Surface Go, and it might be my favorite thing about the entire product. Yes, the Surface Go is a lot thicker than the newest iPads, and some of that may be attributable to the kickstand, but it’s really just a millimeter or two thick and feels like nothing. Maybe it would add too much bulk to the iPad and would make Apple retreat too far from the thin and light form factor the iPad has today, but I think I’d still be okay with the trade off. Or maybe there’s another way to do this whole thing, but being able to stand your tablet up at all times? Yeah, that’s a great idea and one Apple should steal.