As an easel, the Compass holds the iPad at what I think is the optimum angle for viewing media, browsing and reading. The two footpegs hold the device firmly and are deep enough to prevent any danger of it falling off. they are also sufficiently deep to accommodate most cases without the need to first remove the computer. The Apple SmartCover can simply be folded back where it offers additional cushioning for the back of iPad. When mounted vertically there is sufficient clearance to allow the 30-pin dock connector to be used.
In the typing mode, using the shorter prop stand, the iPad is held at a perfect angle of 15 deg, very similar to that offered by the folded SmartCover. From the Twelve South illustrations it appears to be recommended that you keep the foot pegs extended while in this mode. The iPad is held firmly, but I find the pegs are intrusive and detract from the typing experience. However, folding the foot pegs and allowing the bottom edge of the iPad to rest on the desk surface works just as well. If the Smart Cover is left attached and folded back it offers a buffer between the iPad and the desk surface. It’s a matter of choice.
Any surfaces that come into contact with the iPad are covered in a soft padded material which also helps prevent slippage. The Compass is made from steel, weighs only 6.9 oz (196g) and folds into a very neat 7 x 1in single column which slides into the provided felt carrying bag. I would highly recommend it, particularly if you like minimalist industrial design.