Ten One Design Mountie Review: Your Mobile Workstation, Upgraded

The first week of 2015 was CES for me, which meant working out of a suitcase in a bizarre fantasy land hewn from hard desert rock, grit and little else. My home office is a veritable oasis of displays and screen real estate, while my mobile CES office most definitely is not. Luckily, this year, I had a review unit of the Ten One Design Mountie on hand, and it made a big difference in my workflow, and drew compliments and envious stares from the legion of tech bloggers also in attendance at the show.

Ten One’s diminutive accessory was small enough that it slipped easily into my carry-on laptop bag, and the various inserts for different types of devices were also easy to pack. Out of the box, the mountie was set up to fit an iPad Air or Air 2 on one side, and a MacBook Air or Retina MacBook Pro on the other – the rubber pads it uses can be easily swapped out with the set provided, however, letting you clip any number of gadget to another. Fit can be adjusted using included pads, too, ensuring that even gadgets beyond Apple’s stable will work.

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Thanks to the Duet app for iOS devices, however, the best combo is an iPad paired with a MacBook, because you can extend your notebook’s desktop without any lag or sacrifice in content resolution. And with the Mountie, your iPad becomes a natural desktop extension that can house a Twitter feed, a messaging app, or any other supplemental software without taking up valuable real estate on your main screen.

The Mountie is better than a lot of other solutions thanks to its simple single-clip tightening, and because it has a durable, long plastic spine that affords a high degree of stability regardless of what size screen you’re using it with. It also attacks securely, leaving no concerns about your devices accidentally falling off, and also without marking up the finishes of your gadgets’ surfaces.

Of course, you don’t have to be using Duet to make the Mountie useful – it’s just as handy running native, separate mobile apps alongside your primary display, including music software like Rdio or reading apps like Amazon. But for mobile workers looking for a way to get some of the benefits of multi-screen setups on the road, without having to actually lug a Thunderbolt display around everywhere.

For $25, it’s hard to find an iOS or Mac accessory that provides better bang for its buck. After proving itself in the tortured forge of CES, the Ten One Design Mountie has earned a permanent place in my mobile gear set, that’s for sure.