If you are looking for a nice and practical wall mount for your iPad tablet that is easy to use, has built in charging option and can do a 90° pivot, look no further. I think I found perfect solution.
At home we are using one tablet primarily dedicated to the central control of our smart home functions using the Loxone app and iPeng in case of a music playback. This tablet is mounted on a wall in the living room. Since the very beginning I was using the original Loxone iPad wall mount (discontinued ages ago) just with a slight tweak to support lightning connector instead of the former 30-pin dock connector that has been a part of the wall mount solution years back.
Unfortunately, that tweak had one drawback in its mechanical sturdiness, which revealed only after several years of the usage. Loxone design of this wall mount for iPad was very simple and minimalist way of holding the device using a plastic “clip” on the top and the bottom, where also the charging connector could have been optionally implemented. The problem is that lightning connector is not as wide in its dimensions as its former 30 pin predecessor and thus it did not provide the additional stability to hold the tablet when touching after my connector swap. As a result the port wear caused the device to refuse charging after all. I did replace the whole cable once which partially solved the problem for additional few months, but it was obvious that the solution is far from ideal, considering also the fact that kids started to remove and plug back the tablet way often then ever before.
So to save the iPad from complete port damage I had to look for other wall mount options that would match my following criteria:
- Ability to charge the tablet on the wall
- Not requiring any tools to insert and remove it from the dock
- Easy to use for everyone in the house
- Design that is not disruptive
A friend of mine (who is also a registered user on SmartHome.Exposed) contacted me few months back with an issue with his Loxone iPad wall mount. His problem was a bit different than mine, he simply broke the upper plastic clip. And that brought him to the idea to look for replacement of the Loxone holder. There are couple of options on the market. Some are designed for permanent on wall mount, others are requiring tools to remove the tablet. For our home use none of these were acceptable scenarios, as we tend to remove the tablet from time to time. It seems my friend had similar criteria and finally ordered and successfully tested sDock wallmount from smart:)things, which he also recommended to me.
sDock Air s20
Believe or not, this is not an advert or any kind of sponsored review. It is just to share my personal experience like I am doing with all the stuff on this site.
I got this iPad dock from Germany for 194 EUR (incl. tax and delivery). It is not cheap, but it is really worth considering. For my iPad Air I had to choose the “sDock Air s20”. It is to successor of the previous “Dock Air s10”. Main highlights:
- Built in lightning cable for charging, not visible from outside
- Easy docking and undocking without the need of any tool
- Lock with a key allowing to protect the tablet in the dock from unwanted removal
- Pivot option to tilt the tablet by 90°
- Nice design not only with the tablet in, but also when the tablet is removed (photo frame)
This tablet holder can be mounted in two ways. You can have either fixed mount which will permanently hold the device in portrait or landscape position without the option to change it later (unless you drill new holes to the wall), or you can mount it to allow rotation of the tablet in the holder by 90 degrees. This so called pivot option is absolutely great and is one of the biggest advantage compared to my previous wall mount.
There are four screws and dowels supplied to fix it on the wall. Now here is the thing. In my case as mentioned above, I was upgrading my existing on-wall installation, removing my previous Loxone iPad mount. So after removal of the old unit I ended up with a lightning cable going from my in-wall USB charger hanging from the wall. That was actually not an advantage, but rather the opposite. Probably due to some communication noise I expected that the input for the new sDock holder will be lightning female connector, which would just connect to my current cable. But this is not the case!
The input for the sDock is not lightning but a standard USB connector (male). So what I had to do is to somehow convert lightning into an USB. That could have been done by some reduction which would take weeks to deliver (like the one on the picture below), but I got the impression this would likely not fit below the tablet dock given its overall size.
The recommended option is probably to use original accessory, which is Smart Things s Charge s24. It is 12W in-wall (under plaster) charger mounted in a standard size electrical box. Because I had built-in charger mounted in the wall already, I was thinking just to change the connector at the end of the cable. This can be easily done if you know how to do it. For some reason I was not able to quickly get the USB female soldering connector to test if it would nicely fit under the dock. Honestly I doubt a bit it would.
Anyway, I decided to put an in-wall electrical box right above the place where the previous cable’s corrugated flexible plastic hose appeared. Drilling a circular diameter into the brick wall for that box wasn’t so difficult, and the cable hose then was very easily terminated in the box. The good side of this solution is that the central mounting holes of the sDock match exactly the electrical box mounting points, so this is a perfect fit allowing an extra space for any connections for charging cable conversions. So in case you wan’t to install similar dock with a hidden USB adapter, you need to consider your specific possibilities when it comes to the local conditions, wall types, skills and tools you might have.
When you are mounting the dock, just make sure the central ring is in the correct position (top mark facing up). It only allows you to make 90° turn (no free rotations obviously otherwise the charging cable would get bent and possibly broken) so check how it rotates before fixing the screws.
The dock itself comes with a short cable extension that can be routed through the holder from one side with the on-cable USB male, towards the L-shape lightning connector place on the other, which is then fixed using two screws in the correct position.
The overall impression
The sDock s20 is holding the tablet very tightly, allowing it to charge and pivot between portrait and landscape position. Even without the tablet the holder looks very neat. There is a possibility to insert a paper photo under the transparent lid, which makes it look like a photo frame when noting is docked in. I really like this idea and also the overall look and feel. What could be improved is the way the product is described/advertised, which I found a bit confusing. This has nothing to do with the product itself, but rather with the clarity of which model to order and what all is needed to connect it. But maybe that’s just me, or I was not looking at proper places.
And what are your suggestions for tablet wall mount?