Smartphones have long been useful for mobile movie duty, but now that they’re getting bigger, they’re even better for watching movies on the go — to say nothing of reading books. Indeed, a 5.5- or even 6-inch screen takes you mighty close to Kindle territory.
Whatever media you’re planning to consume, you’ll want a way to prop up the phone for hands-free viewing. And that do-it-yourself paper stand you crafted out of a business card probably isn’t sturdy enough for that bigger, heavier screen.
Enter Pocket Tripod, an ingeniously designed plastic card that’s slim enough to slip into your wallet. Though barely thicker than your Amex, it works some Origami-style magic to transform into a stand for even the largest phones. The real question is whether it’s worth the price.
Rarely has a flat hunk of plastic managed so much. The Pocket Tripod starts out a rectangle, but pivots on a center axis. Turn one half a full 180 degrees, then fold up the “wings” and set your phone into the two slots — both of which can rotate to give you a truly custom viewing angle (though there’s only about 20 degrees’ worth of practical movement).
That’s how you stand your phone in portrait view. This can work for landscape viewing as well, but those slots will block the bottom of your screen a bit. Fortunately, the two halves of the Pocket Tripod can separate, thus allowing you to move each piece out to the edges, where they catch the bezel instead of the screen.
The tricky part about any product like this is making sure it can fit phones of different sizes — especially phones in cases. Fortunately, the company sells adapters of varying sizes that can replace the existing slots, thus accommodating most configurations.
My iPhone 6, for example, resides in a slim, clear-plastic case. After a quick check of the sizing card, I was able to find the right adapter for it — and it worked like a charm. That said, there’s certainly something of a hassle factor having to get the product sized “just right” for your phone. Of course that’s an issue only if yours is in a case.
Now for my only real complaint. The Pocket Tripod feels like something that should be priced around $10, maybe $15. However, it costs $20 for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 versions, $25 for iPhone 6, and $30 for a retail kit that includes adapters for all iPhone models. (Incidentally, it works just fine with non-iPhones, too — I’m not sure why the company is limiting its audience to the Apple crowd.)
I like the Pocket Tripod a lot. It’s ideal for someone like me, and great if you don’t want to permanently adhere a not-very-attractive kickstand to your phone. And no doubt it would make a great gift, especially this time of year. But I can’t help thinking it’s just a bit overpriced, slick engineering notwithstanding.
Photo credit: Geometrical, Inc.