Compact Support Solutions: Portable Systems for Your Smartphone, Tablet and Mobile Devices

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Thanks to amazing advancements in portable media, you can now capture gorgeous still images and video with your smartphone, as well as with your tablet PC. Of course, you need not use these devices exclusively for photography or videography; they’re just fine for simple portable entertainment, too. Whatever your desired application, you’ll find yourself in a position to benefit from one or more of the compact support systems below that B&H has in its inventory.

You can enjoy the added benefits of a number of stands and mounts, including some very simple but truly interesting and helpful apparatus, like the Gary Fong Flip-Cage With Tripod Adapter For iPhone 3GS and 4/4S, which includes a clasp for the phone that mounts to a protective “roll bar” flip out, easel-style cage. The system functions much like a tabletop tripod. The versatile Flip-Cage permits vertical or horizontal orientation, allowing 90-degree phone rotation in order to shoot downward at objects. The main knob even accepts a standard ¼"-20 screw for mounting to a standard tripod head for even more working latitude.

An even simpler stand—as simple as they come—is the GGI Suction Stand for your smartphone or tablet, which resembles a miniature bust of a very round-headed individual and is available in an array of colors. The stand, made of silicone rubber, supports your smartphone or tablet from behind and enables vertical or horizontal orientation, enabling completely hands-free video viewing.

For a sturdy clamp-style mount, try the Mic-EZE EZClamp for smartphones, including the iPhone and other smart devices. It will attach your mobile device to any structure up to 2" (5.1 cm) thick via its screw-down clamp mechanism, and can even be threaded onto a microphone stand.

Of course, there’s also the Joby Gorillamobile for your mobile phone, including iPhone as well the iPod touch, PDAs, MP3 players and more. With nifty bendable legs that function like a tripod, this handy little helper can be secured to virtually any surface via its rubberized ring and foot grips. Plus, it boasts a trio of quick-release adapters. More than two dozen flexible leg joints permit 360-degree rotation. Use the Gorillamobile as a tripod or simply for convenient hands-free movie watching or photo slideshow viewing. Although it was designed for mobile devices like smartphones, the Gorillamobile has a tripod screw adapter, enabling it to support digital cameras.

The offerings from The Joy Factory include a Tripod Mount, known as the Tournez, useful for snapping stable, blur-free images with your new iPad or iPad 2. Like the Valet, the tripod mount features an adjustable carbon fiber arm and enables 360-degree rotation, as well as height and viewing angle adjustment. The Tournez Tripod Mount is particularly beneficial when used in conjunction with one of Apple’s numerous downloadable lighting apps to transform your iPad into an ideal light source for changing colors, shadows, brightness and the like. Of course, the mount is also a great tool for positioning your iPad in an ideal way for editing the photos you’ve just captured. The Tournez’s “Snap-n-Roll” design permits quick and easy snapping of the hard shell case into the mount. It rotates 360 degrees for portrait or landscape setup.

iPhone and cell phone accessories include the Glidetrack mobislyder, enabling horizontal or vertical sliding for smartphone shooting. This versatile unit comes with 5 mounts for phones and cameras, including a mobile device mount, a pair of ¼"-20 mounts, an adhesive ball mount, and an articulated mount. Capture dynamic action with smooth, subtle motion, and do it all within the confines of a tight budget. The Glidetrack mobislyder could hardly be easier to operate, weighing a mere 1.1 lb (0.5 kg). Enjoy a 14-inch (36-cm) range of linear motion, and set up the rig horizontally, vertically or even on an incline, depending upon your requirements or preferences. It also has a carriage brake, enabling you to lock your smartphone in place along the rail.

These Habbycam and Zacuto grips for iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices provide superior image stabilization for either handheld or tripod shooting. Their gripping mechanisms may look like claws, but really they’re highly convenient cradles permitting fast, easy attachment and release of your mobile device. Zacuto’s selection includes the cradle alone and cradle with an ergonomic grooved hand grip .

Separating the cradle from the handgrip is simple, making your life easier when you need to fit the support system in an already-packed gear bag for transport. And once you arrive at your first or next location, snapping the cradle on again is just as easy.

You’re also bound to appreciate the Just Mobile Lounge for iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS & iPod touch 4G, which with its non-slip feet and durable aluminum construction, offers a fashionable way to secure your iOS device on a desktop or car dashboard. Enjoy easy access to the dock connector for charging. Switch between portrait and widescreen modes without skipping a beat, so you can continue to enjoy all the features you love on your mobile device.

As far as photo and video attachments are concerned, notables include the Belkin LiveAction Camera Grip for iPhone & iPod touch and the alm mCAM for iPod touch. The mCAM is a rig that enables steady, blur-free shooting with your iPod touch, and also eliminates the problem of fingertips getting caught in the frame when capturing photos and video with your iPod. With a durable aluminum construction and a shape that makes it look like one of Batman’s tools, the mCAM is tough and stylish. It’s also got four tripod-mounting points for adding extra stability.

Now, for when you want to mollify the kids on a long road trip, B&H offers a selection of car mounts. The Archos Car Headrest Adapter with Straps for ARCHOS 7 holds your tablet, turning your back seat into a mobile entertainment center. The Car Mount Gen 7, from the same manufacturer, works like a GPS mount for the ARCHOS 5 tablet, attaching to the windshield (check local restrictions regarding vehicular windshield mounting). Belkin's TuneBase for iPod and iPhone enables hands-free talking in addition to music listening. Its swiveling cradle charges your iOS device while holding it, and will adjust to accommodate most iPod and iPhone models, even while in their own cases.

The Macally mGRIP Automobile Suction Cup Holder Mount attaches to your dashboard via suction cup—and a lever for added security—making your iPhone, cell phone, MP4 player, GPS or PDA easily accessible for safe use while driving, via its flexible arm grip. The mGRIP allows for full 360-degree rotation. The lever is a single button quick-release mechanism, so disengaging the mount for repositioning or transport to another vehicle is a breeze. The second adjustable arm grip that comes in the package is a nice bonus.

A simple but useful device is the MovieWedge Stand for Portable Media Devices, enabling both convenient hands-free viewing and multi-angle positioning, thanks to its easel-like firm front edge. Made of a micro-suede fabric, it looks more like an eyeglass cloth than a stand, but this is part of its appeal: It can be used to wipe away dust, dirt and fingerprints from your Android, Blackberry, iPhone, Sony PSP or other mobile device screen. The wedge will work on virtually all surfaces and comes in a variety of attractive colors.

But the fun doesn’t end there. B&H has additional iPad and tablet accessories, too. Accessory Workshop offers a soft, durable Pad Stand and a pillow, available in beige or black. The typillow, as it’s called, accommodates the iPad, iPad 2 or new iPad via drop-in loading, and features a soft micro-suede lap cushion. Its micro-bead filling adjusts to the shape of your lap for optimal fit and added comfort. Great while sitting on the couch or traveling, and it conforms easily to a wide variety of surfaces aside from your lap. The typillow is not only comfortable but also highly useful for a variety of applications, including watching videos, reading e-books, surfing the Web and tending to emails or just typing. The pillow also makes a great conversation starter, as it’s sure to prompt a good number of “Wow, where did you get that?” type questions.

For something simpler, give the Just Mobile Lazy Couch a try. A set of two separate stands that can be interlocked for portability, the lazy couch provides elevated support for a tablet or even a laptop PC while typing, surfing the Web, or doing any number of tasks. What’s nice about the elevation is that it allows air circulation beneath the bottom of your device, which prevents overheating and thus, over time, prolongs the useful life of your valuable investment.

Belkin offers a number of useful mounts for the kitchen, including a hand-washable Chef Stand for iPad 2 for use while cooking, a Fridge Mount for iPad 2 and a Kitchen Cabinet or Shelf Mount for your iPad or other 7-10" (17.8 – 25.4 cm) tablet PC. All three of these devices enable you to watch television or movies, listen to music  or follow your favorite recipes while you cook. Be entertained while you wash dishes. If you’re short on counter space, then the fridge or kitchen cabinet / shelf mount is definitely the way to go. The Fridge Mount is magnetic, requiring no tools, hardware or sweat for installation. The cabinet or shelf mount is similarly easy to install, although it attaches via an adjustable clamp instead of a magnet, permitting you to mount it easily on surfaces of varying thickness. The Belkin Chef Stand features a non-slip base with two different angles for easy countertop viewing, and also comes with a stylus for your convenience, enabling you to easily follow recipes and browse the Web—without dirtying your touch screen with your food-soiled hands.

Vantage Point Beanpad Stands give you your bean-bag fix if you’re into those convenient accessories. For the iPad 2, these supports feature a weighted bean-bag base that will easily conform to a slew of surfaces, including sofas, beds and laps, as well as a durable polycarbonate case. They are adjustable to allow for easy viewing-angle changing and tweaking for just the right view for you. You can take advantage of three different pivot positions to find the orientation that suits your needs best. The bean pads are also a great way to absorb shock from vibrations while traveling, or from accidental drops.

Whatever your compact support system needs for photography, videography or portable entertainment, B&H has the solution. Should you have a favorite type of support that you like to use, and it wasn’t covered here, please feel free to share it with us in the Comments section, below. We look forward to hearing from you.