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glif duels two other iPhone 4 Tripod Mounts

A while back I reviewed the only two tripod mounts I could find to fit my iPhone 4 and to this date its one of the most searched for articles on this blog. So its only fitting that I would also review the glif as soon as it became available. The two previous contenders for the crown of iPhone 4 Tripod Mounts were the Mosy Mount and the U+G4 Holder. There I preferred the latter because of how snug the holder fit my iPhone4 and because of the engineering effort that went into it.

You might remember reading how the two inventors of the GLIF wrote their own success story on Kickstarter. Originally they where shooting for $15,000 but with the help of some friendly linking they soon went past the $100,000 mark. When backing the project you had several options. One of the regular options would get you one glif as soon as mass production would start. I opted for the $50 variant where I would also receive a pre-release glif so that I could review it before everyone else. For a while I was tempted to go for the VIP option which would have gotten me a dinner with the guys, but being in Europe made this impossible.

The Glif

When you first see the Glif you might think that “there’s something missing”, it is that simple. Holders before it would encompass or grab the iPhone 4 in some way to prevent it from obeying gravity. Here is the first major difference. The glif only gribs as much of the iPhone 4 as is absolutely necessary. The material has a somewhat intentional roughness without which the iPhone would simply slide out. But because of the friction and precision molding that much material is all it takes to firmly secure the iPhone in place. Theoretically even upside down, but I would not dare doing that without some extra tape. The first few times it would hold upside-down, but I suspect that insertion of the iPhone flattens the structure of the material slightly over time which would reduce the friction to a point where the iPhone 4 would fall out. Now the material of the final production Glifs might be somewhat different, but generally it would not be wise to risk you iPhone just to boast to your friends: “weeee! upside down!”

Tripod Holders have one basic function: to fix a standard camera mounting screw onto an iPhone. And this one the glif does very well. Engineers and laymen alike can only marvel at the ingenuity. You can screw the mounting plat of your tripod into the brass screw hole at the bottom without fearing to pull it out of the plastic. And contrasting to other holders this has the screw where a photographer expects it: on the bottom.

You have to remove your bumper or other case. This is generally necessary for all reviewed mounts. Then you stick the iPhone 4 into where it fits into the glif and you’re set. The biggest advantage of the glif over the other candidate holders is that you don’t have to use a 3-way tripod and also don’t have to contort the tripod head to strange angles for using it. Also you can use a 2-way tripod head as the mounting screw is positioned at the bottom. It’s simple and logical.

The glif has another bonus feature. You can also use it as an iPhone stand, for example to watch video on a plane/train. To make use of this you put the small part on top of your iPhone. You probably would want to adjust its location such that it is outside of the visible area of your movie because it otherwise would reach into the picture.  Because of its small form factor I can imagine you’d throw the glif into your backpack when traveling. Since there is no U shape as in the U+G4 holder you don’t have to fear about breaking it under rough conditions of by accidentally sitting on it.

So in conclusion – after having played with all three holders – my verdict is that the glif is optimal for 95% of all situations you might find yourself filming or photographing. The glif has some slight advantage over the U+G4 because of its size and robustness. I would generally prefer the glif unless I have a shoot requiring upside down or sideways mounting because there is no place to put a tripod. These are the 5% of situations that most of us probably never face anyway.

If you already got a U+G4 you don’t have to run out and buy a glif as the range of functionality is almost identical. This means that you also already have a tripod with 3-way head because the U+G4 positions the mounting screw at the side because there is not enough material on the U elsewhere. Since the Mosy Mount fell behind the U+G4 even in my first review I don’t have to compare much more. It’s the same price as the glif and thus no longer competitive.

Now if you don’t have a tripod yet and are still in the market for an iPhone 4 holder then I can wholeheartedly recommend the glif as it also allows using cheaper less-than-3-way head tripods. The glif costs twice as much ($20 instead of $10) as the U+G4 but it is surely worth it.

glif

Pro: Stylish, small, sturdy, well designed, useful as stand

Con: not made for very odd angles or upside down without extra fastening

$20 by Studio Neat

U+G4

Pro: Sturdy plastic, professional screwing hole, allows usage of “steering handle” in tripod, patent pending

Con: Open side might allow iPhone to shake out, not designed for protecting iPhone

$9.95 by G Design LLC

Mosy Mount

Pro: Stylish, 3 Motives, two mounts let you convert your existing case, great personal support, foldable mini-tripod included

Con: area around screwing hole not flat, inconvenient mounting position for moving targets

$19.95 by Art4Media LLC


Categories: Tools

5 Comments »

  1. The glif is nice but does have its drawbacks. My company, PC Treasures, makes a product called the GrippIt! that I think gives the glif a run for its money. Not only does it cost ten dollars less, but, unlike the glif, it works with any phone and lets you leave your phone in its case when using it. Check it out here: http://www.digitaltreasures.com/camera_acc_details.php?recordID=07471

  2. Thanks for writing these reviews and helping people make more informed decisions!

    I give it to the Glif, they’ve made a nice product but as you mention, it can’t be held up well upside-down and as Brad mentions, it can only be used with iPhone4. Personally, in a tripod mount and stand, I don’t mind paying a little extra for something that’s universal and that isn’t bulky. Our product as you may remember, is called a BuddyGripper and you can see all the videos we’ve made and our clients have made here at:

    http://www.buddygripper.com/

    Check out the site and if you’re feeling creative, we’re running a competition in July where we’re giving away some stuff if you submit a photo or a video about “What would you do for a Klondike Bar?”

    We also have tons of videos which show the types of films you can make, just using an iPhone or iPod Touch…unfortunately theGlif does not work with the Touch iPods either. I think they’ve also started focusing on iPad stuff :(

    Hope you’d be willing to review our product in your next “Shootout!” For a limited time, our BuddyGrippers come with a tripod and custom, hand-made case!

  3. Myself, I’m a huge fan of the G. Design mount, and — aside from the “don’t shoot upside down” aspect of it — think that it’s a great product. In fact, I ended up doing a lil’ video “mini-review/demo” of the U+G4 last year, which I posted up on YouTube. Here’s the URL:

    http://youtu.be/h3hCEvb1dW4

    As a quick heads up, I did the mini-review in conjunction with a bit of self-promotion for a photography product that I happen to manufacture and sell (called “The Nasty Clamp,” btw). Honestly, the G. Design iPhone holder works so well — and it works so well with my accessory — that I thought that it was worth putting in the time and effort to give their company a bit of online promotion.

    Matt

    And if you’re at all interested, here’s my product:

    http://www.nastyclamps.com

    Don’t worry… Despite the name, it is not porn.

  4. Hey Mathew,

    Very nice you tube video. The cameo appearances by your son and the stuff out the fridge were priceless :-)

    We just launched our product “Capta” on kickstarter.com and it would do amazing/nasty things when coupled with your nasty clamp – pardon the pun :-)

    Capta is a tripod mount, phone stand and cable management accessory that works with iphones (all generations) and any other smart phones and media devices on the market. What can it do you may ask?

    1) Tripod mount – connect to any standard tripod mount and hold your phone very securely at ANY angle for very extended period of time. Because the grip is a solid contact with your phone there is no shaking. Check out our pool shot and grip in motion test videos

    2) Phone stand – its a great stand alone stand for your different devices you can use for movies, facetime, clock and wireless keyboard typing etc etc. check out our main video for uses as a stand. Plus it also works as a viewing stand for tablets like the kingle, galaxy tab and ipad. Its small but mighty :-)

    3) Cable management – helps you manage your cables when in or not in use. Check out out cable management videos

    You should come check us out and help us spread the word sir. We are sure you will find our videos interesting.

    http://kck.st/pgLC98

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