It goes without saying that smartphones are superb for consuming all kinds of media: books, movies, Web pages, photos, and so on.
Of course, the last thing you want to have to do while reading a novel or watching your own in-flight movie is hold your phone. What you need is a stand, something that can prop up the screen for hands-free viewing.
Ready to get your MacGyver on? All you need is one surprisingly common household item and you can craft the ultimate smartphone stand.
Can you guess what it is? Right! A hotel room-key card. Or a depleted gift card, Starbucks card, retail reward card, or any similarly stiff piece of plastic. As long as it’s something you no longer need, it’ll do the trick.
And the trick, quite simply, is to bend the card in two or three strategic places. The first one happens a little past the halfway point. If you imagine the card divided into fifths, you’d bend it at roughly the three-fifths mark. Fold it a full 180 degrees around so it really “takes,” keeping in mind that the plastic will naturally unbend to right about where you need it.
If you’re planning to use your phone in landscape mode (i.e. on its side), one more bend should do the trick. Perform this one about a pinky-width from the longer side of the card. Again, give it a full fold so it comes back to a roughly perpendicular angle.
Now you’re all set for landscape viewing:
Alas, this design won’t work for portrait (i.e. upright) viewing, which is how I prefer to read e-books, Web pages, and the like. There’s not enough backing to the stand, and therefore most phones will just topple over.
Fortunately, you can modify the card a little further to solve this problem, and that’s by adding a lip.
Just bend the card a third time, this time another pinky-width from the second fold. Here’s the finished product:
Although I’m showing my stand with an iPhone 4S, I tested this with an iPhone 5s as well, and it worked just fine. Your mileage may vary, but this simple stand should accommodate just about any size smartphone (except perhaps phablets), even if it’s in a case.
I can’t tell you how often this has come in handy for me. Here’s hoping you find it just as useful.
Photo credit: Rick Broida