Launched just 18 months after Kickstarter itself, the original Glif was an early beacon of what was to come for the crowdfunding platform, with an innovative tripod mount for smartphones unlike any other. Studio Neat has taken its sweet time to launch the sequel, but the new Glif was worth the wait; it’s a marvelously clever piece of engineering. I spent some time with the prototype to take a closer look.
The prototypes I borrowed from Studio Neat, the company behind Glif and a series of other products, were 3D printed and will obviously not look like the final product — but given that this is a crowdfunding campaign, I did want to take a closer look at the real product before writing it up. Even as a 3D-printed piece, the new Gif was fully useable, which is a firm testament to the design and innovation that went into creating this little thing.
The device itself is deceptively simple, but that’s also its beauty. It’s a spring-loaded clamp with foam padding on the inside (both to protect your phone from getting scratched and to ensure a firm grip).
To use it, simply stretch the spring to slip your phone into the clamp. Then use the lever to secure the phone into place.
The lever both locks the phone and adds a tiny bit of extra tension to the clamp, to secure a firm grip on the smartphone; it’s simple, but it works so well I’m surprised we haven’t seen this used before.
It is hard to over-praise the design of this product, especially if you’ve tried a few phone clamps in the past. There are some quick clamps out there, but they don’t hold your phone very well. There are some very firm clamps, too, but they involve a lot of adjusting screws to get them to play nicely with your phone and to mount them in place. Studio Neat, in offering the best of both worlds with the newest incarnation of Glif, is onto a winner here.
The Glif mount holds the phone firmly in any orientation and supports with confidence even the chubbiest of phone cases on the beefiest of phones. At $25, it’s a no-brainer to anyone who does video work on their smartphones.
Because of its clever design, the same mount can hold devices ranging from 58mm (2.25″) to 99mm (3.9″) in width, although the actual width of the phones it can handle depends on the thickness and shape of the case used on the phone.
For the Kickstarter campaign at its higher $50 backing level, Studio Neat is also marketing a turned hardwood handle and a wrist strap; properly old-school, but it feels great in the hand and, while simple, does a great job of making the phone just that little bit easier to handle.
Being able to mount the phone on a mini tripod — or, indeed, any type of tripod — is spectacularly useful, especially to videographers who want to add a bit of extra stability to their work; the Glif is a strong contender for being the right tool for the job.
Studio Neat indicates the new Glif will be ready to ship early next year, at which point it will no doubt be available for sale from its website. If you want to be among the first to try it out, its Kickstarter campaign is running for another 25 days or so.