Last month I explained how to turn a common household object into a handy smartphone stand, the idea being that activities like book reading, movie watching and video chatting benefit from hands-free screen propping.
Of course, that particular do-it-yourself project — a strategically folded plastic card — doesn’t look very pretty, and it’s not exactly portable once you’ve Origami’d it into stand form. The most accommodating smartphone stand should go where your smartphone goes.
That’s why I’m pretty jazzed about the SlideStand, an ingeniously simple, insanely practical accessory that adds a kickstand to nearly any smartphone.
This little plastic helper measures 2.6 by 1.6 inches, and just about 3mm thick. It adheres to the back of your phone (or, better still, your phone’s case), riding shotgun in a way that’s barely noticeable.
Barely noticeable, that is, until you pop out the stand — an arm that folds open on a grooved hinge that allows for multiple positions. Not just multiple angles, mind you; multiple positions, meaning both landscape and portrait. This flexibility means you can prop your phone upright for reading books and video-chatting with friends, or turn it sideways for watching movies and browsing Web pages.
That’s a big deal, because although plenty of smartphone cases have built-in kickstands, but most of them limit you to landscape orientation. And I want portrait, dang it! Books were meant to be read that way.
The arm can lock into about eight different slots, each giving you a slightly different viewing angle. The action is stiff but solid; I can’t say for sure if the plastic will hold after, say, a year of friction, but out of the box it feels durable enough.
The cost is good for its durability. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen far too many overpriced Kickstarter gadgets, but I expected the SlideStand to sell for at least $10, if not $15 or $20. Instead, it’s a steal at $7.99.
As for compatibility, I tried it with an iPhone 5S and the mammoth, phablet-size OnePlus One. It worked perfectly with both — though the One’s rounded bottom made portrait viewing a little wobbly. Your mileage may vary depending on the size and design of your phone, but most should be able to make this work.
I have exactly two complaints with the product. First, it’s available in your choice of a dozen colors, but most of them are pretty ugly combinations; pink and green, red and purple, for example. (Interestingly, four of these garish combos are currently on sale for just $4.50 — and easily remedied with a can of spray paint.) My advice: choose the all-black or all-white version.
The other problem is with the adhesive used to attach the SlideStand to your device. It’s semi-permanent, meaning it loses most of its stickiness if you ever decide to remove the stand. That’s by design, and necessary so it can adhere to most phone and cases surfaces, but other adhesives out there allow for reapplication. This would benefit from one.
That being said, if you’ve ever wished your smartphone had a kickstand, few options are as cheap, easy or versatile as the SlideStand. I really dig this thing.
Photo credit: SlideStand