So why do you need a smartphone tripod mount? A lot of good reasons. My favorite is for FaceTime or video conferencing. Ever do FaceTime with someone while they hold their phone in their hand. After about five minutes they forget they are having a video conference and you begin to speak to their shoulder or the wall. Putting your device into a smartphone tripod mount keeps it stationary and makes for a better quality call. Another good purpose for one of these tripods is for use for taking photos. Some higher end phones from Samsung, Apple and others have image stability built-in but most phones do not and are susceptible to fuzzy images due to a moving hand or object. Keeping your phone stationary within the mount eliminates the shake when used with a remote shutter. Lastly, I like to watch videos on my phone and using a tripod mount keeps my hands free and really adds to my ability to watch a season’s worth of Homeland.
A smartphone tripod mount will always include a cradle or holder for your device. Be sure that the cradle or holder will open wide enough for your phone. It’s a good rule of thumb that if it opens to at least 3.5 inches, your phone will fit fine however there are some large cases out there that can exceed that dimension especially on larger phones such as the Apple iPhone 6s Plus. I haven’t seen any smartphone tripod mounts with custom cradles so they should just about all come with a universal holder which is great. You will be able to reuse this tripod mount when you upgrade to your next phone.
There are two basic types of smartphone tripod mounts. The typical mount has three support legs that may telescope outwards to provide varying lengths for your phone. The tripod typically folds up for easy storage when not in use. The other type of tripod is fairly new. It features three flexible arms that can be bent to either emulate a traditional tripod or to wrap around objects such as a pole or arm of a chair. I really like this type of mount because sometimes there isn’t a flat surface available to stand the tripod on.
So let’s take a look at a few good examples of smartphone tripod mounts.
In the photo that accompanies this article is the Arkon Universal Smartphone Holder and Flexible Mini Tripod. This is one of my favorites and a great example of the flexible leg variety discussed earlier. This is what you get when you combine a mini tripod with a solid universal smartphone cradle. The tripod itself has three flexible legs and a standard 1/4″ – 20 thread pattern so it can be used with a standard camera or even a GoPro when it’s out of the weatherproof case. The Arkon mount also includes an expandable cradle that opens to 3.6″. The bottom of this cradle has a standard tripod hole on the bottom and it screws to the included tripod just a camera would. Since the cradle opens to 3.6 inches, almost all phones will fit with or without a case. The flexible legs can be used to stand on a desk as well as wrap around the arm of a chair or anything similar.
The Camkix Universal Adjustable Tripod Kit is one of those traditional smartphone tripod mounts. Three legs, a universal cradle and a non-skid bottom to the legs makes it suitable for use on your desk. This particular tripod comes with a remote shutter which makes it nice and easy to snap photos when the phone resides within the tripod. The included cradle opens between 2.8″ (7 cm) and 3.5″ (9 cm) making it a good choice for almost all phones.
The Kenu Stance Compact Tripod for Apple iPhone 6s, 6, 6s Plus, 6 Plus, 5s, 5 is a unique tripod mount. The primary use for this tripod is on the desktop. It will keep your phone stable and is perfect for video conference use. This is the ultimate in mini tripods as it only weighs a little more than an ounce and folds up small enough to put in your pocket. This is one of the more unique mounts I have seen in that there is no cradle. The mounting point is the lightning cable port on the bottom of your phone. Since it works with lightning ports, this mount is very specific to the Apple iPhone models that have a lightning port. I have used this brand of mount in my car and the company makes solid mounts.
Using a smartphone tripod mount is an inexpensive way to take better photos, watch long videos or maintain a video conference call. There are a lot of good ones out there. These three we mentioned are solid representations of what’s out there.