Saturday, August 23, 2014

A simple strap can boost your comfort when reading

Most ereaders and tablets are a bit too big to hold comfortably in one hand for any length of time. But after some experimentation, I've found an easy DYI way of helping this, and even an economical way of buying a similar solution.

I’ve been making straps for my own devices. A simple loop of leather or whatever, measured tight to four fingers of your own hand, and super-glued to a thin and light case for the device. (Many good cases are under $12 these days, so even if you have to cut off the front to make it practical, it’s little loss.)

Another option is to buy the TFY Universal Hand Strap, which I found on eBay. It seems to be made by a small company in Hong Kong, and the quality is good.
It is a solid-sized hand strap (a bit overkill for cell phones, I find), padded really well, with velcro on the underside, and a corresponding slap of female velcro to put on your device. (It’s easy to buy Velcro if you want to use it on more devices.)

I recommend mounting the strap near a side of the tablet, so you can use your thumb to change pages.

Cases with straps I’ve seen are shown with the whole hand trapped behind the tablet, and the wrist turned in an awkward position. But if you make the fit tight so you don’t have to use constant muscle tension to keep it in place, and your thumb is free on the front, it can be comfortable, actually more comfortable than holding a paper book of similar weight.

Here is my Kindle Fire HDX used with a strap,
showing how easily I can use my thumb for
one-handed use.
(The bumps are Sound Jaw to direct the sound front.)
I can easily hold the tablet in any position even
with no muscle strain whatsoever. 

This is the TFY Universal Hand Strap, a good product.  
This a Nokia 1520 6-inch phone (great e-reader), with a cheap plastic
half-shell and a home-made leather strap (2mm x 25mm) super-glued
to the back.

This is a cheap shell case for iPad Mini (with front cut off),
with a home-made fabric strap super-glued to it.
Notice it's set towards the side, as the all are except the Nokia
because it's not wide at all. This is so your thumb can reach around to the front.