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My top 5 iPad accessories

If you already have an iPad or are hoping for one this holiday season, here's a quick rundown of the accessories that I use daily.

If you already have an iPad or are hoping for one this holiday season, here's a quick rundown of the accessories that I use daily.

ZooGue Smart Kase ($49.99)

I've tried a number of iPad cases in the past, but none have come close to the functionality that the ZooGue brings. What makes the ZooGue unique is that it's not only a great case for the iPad, but it can also adjust to any angle. This includes the ability to work as a mount for a car seat so that you can use your iPad in the place of an in-car movie player. As for the case part, I've been using the ZooGue for taking notes, giving presentations, interacting with others, and just about anything you can think of. This is made possible because of the ZooGue's built-on velcro strips, which let you set the case in just about any position you can think of. Another nice feature is the leather that surrounds it. This makes it a nice looking case, and also comfortable to use for extended amounts of time. I also use the velcro straps that are designed for mounting the ZooGue as a way to lock the case closed, for protecting the iPad when on-the-go. See the case in action below.

PropUp! ($24.95)

If you use your iPad for work or pleasure, the PropUp! is worth taking a look at. This accessory is designed to "prop up" your iPad in just about any configuration for viewing and interacting with your iPad.

The PropUp is made of a proprietary injected foam that features corners that can flex to accommodate an iPad and in some cases an iPad with a case on it. It's easier to understand what the PropUp can do by watching the video below.

When my kids have my iPad for an extended amount of time, the PropUp is the perfect companion. Its ability to cushion and angle the iPad makes it a must-have for kids that want to interact with an iPad.

iCarpus ($12.99)

If you're looking for a hands-free viewing accessory for just about any portable device, the iCarpus may be just what you're looking for. The accessory is designed to clip onto the top and bottom, or side of just about any device and can even be used for storing headphones in a wrapped state.

The coolest thing about it is how versatile it is. The iCarpus can expand itself to fit devices with and without cases, and is just 3 inches x 2.5 inches. Its size makes it easy to take anywhere, and because of its integrated rubber grips, it can be used on just about any surface. In my case, I've used it on trains, planes, and even when I'm just sitting around at a desk or table and don't want to hold my iPhone while watching a video.

Just Mobile AluPen

When the iPad first came out, people were mentioning how the perfect accessory for it would be a stylus. Many companies released their own versions of a stylus, and there's even an online guide for how to make your own. I've been playing with two styluses lately, and will describe them below.

The first stylus is from Just Mobile and is known as the Just Mobile AluPen. The AluPen comes in a variety of colors and looks more like a chunky pencil than a stylus--this is actually a good thing.

The AluPen is made from aluminum, and so that it works on capacitive touch screens, it features a soft rubber nib at the end. It feels great in your hand, and offers a lot of control over where you're pointing and drawing. I've been using it for a couple of months now, and it's not only a great stylus, but also a fantastic show piece, since most people don't think it's a stylus.

I don't consider myself an artist, but I did whip up the drawing below using the AluPen, just to show what even a non-artist can do. I haven't let my kids play with the AluPen yet, for fear of never getting my iPad back.

Pogo Stylus

I mentioned the AluPen above. If you are looking for a slimmer alternative to the AluPen, check out the Pogo Stylus. It offers the same amount of control of the AluPen, just in a smaller, thinner design. It's really more about personal preference, since they both perform the same function. In my case, I prefer the chunkier design, since it affords a bit more control for me, but if you prefer a slimmer design, you can't go wrong with the PoGo Stylus.

Do you have any accessories that you consider a must-have for the iPad? If so, share them below.