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Joby GripTight One accessories: Our first take

Joby GripTight One accessories make smartphone photography flexible

The original GorillaPod redefined the tripod by giving it flexible legs that can wrap around a variety of surfaces, bringing versatility to a camera support system that is only about a half-foot tall. Now, Joby is back at it again with the GripTight One, a suite of tripod tools designed around a simple smartphone mounting system. The series includes the GripTight One Mount, GripTight One Micro Stand, the Grip Tight GP Magnetic Impulse, and the GripTight One GP stand, with the last two incorporating several features from the original GorillaPod.

While the original GorillaPod is flexible, the new GripTight stretches that into an entirely new level. Let’s take a look at each component in the GripTight One system, and how they all work around the module that ties them all together, the GripTight One Mount.

GripTight One Mount

The entire system is based around the GripTight One Mount, a simple adapter that attaches a smartphone to any tripod with a standard 1/4-inch screw. The mount has a spring-loaded back piece that pulls out to accommodate different sizes of smartphones, even ones within a case. In fact, the mount works best with a case, since the thicker edges give the phone less room to wiggle and, therefore, more stability.

The mount is simple in design, but it does exactly what it’s supposed to: give a smartphone an attachment point for a tripod. When not in use, it folds flat enough to fit inside a pocket. A small hole near the tripod thread allows for a key ring to be attached.

Mounting a phone is easy: Just pull back on the mount, slide the smartphone in, and let go. The mount stretches just past 3.5 inches in width. Our test device, an iPhone 7 Plus with a protective case, was a tight fit, but it worked; smaller phones shouldn’t be an issue. Despite being made with ABS plastic, the GripTight feels sturdy and well-built.

Retailing for $20, the GripTight One Mount is an easy-to-use smartphone cradle that’s simple, but does exactly what it advertises. Now, let’s look at the accessories that connect to the mount.

GripTight One GP Magnetic Impulse

Joby’s newest flagship accessory is the GripTight One GP Magnetic Impulse ($60). It takes the traditional GorillaPod and adds magnets and a Bluetooth remote, along with a GripTight One Mount.

The flexible GorillaPod legs wrap around objects to give the tripod added support and height. The legs are about five inches tall and can easily wrap around signposts, tree branches, and more. Even with objects too large for the legs to fully encircle, the Impulse has enough grip to hug the sides for enough support, while still keeping the smartphone upright. The legs are even sturdy enough to hold the weight of an iPhone upside down, like on the monkey bars.

The legs are even sturdy enough to hold the weight of an iPhone upside down, like on the monkey bars

At the Impulse’s feet is a trio of rather strong magnets. It allows the tripod to cling to the side of something metallic while still holding the weight of the smartphone. Along with giving the Impulse climbing skills that Spider-Man would be proud of, the magnets give the tripod a tighter grip by clinging to each other when wrapping around an object.

The included Bluetooth remote is only slightly larger than a quarter and slides into the back of the Impulse for storage, or can also be attached to a key ring.

We expected the remote to require using a Joby smartphone app but the shutter release actually works with the native camera app. Connecting the remote is just as simple as pairing with Bluetooth headphones – press and hold the button, then open up the connectivity settings in the smartphone to find and connect the remote.

The Bluetooth remote works well and is small enough to hide in your hand when taking a selfie. The remote is also handy for triggering long exposures, without touching the phone (which can add unwanted vibration). The remote works up to 90 feet away.

A variation of a ball head mount allows the smartphone to tilt down for vertical shots. The added versatility is nice, but the head doesn’t move very easily and takes a good amount of pressure to get the mount to move to the side.

GripTight One Micro Stand

If the Impulse is Joby’s most full-featured tripod, the Micro Stand ($40) is the most portable. Unfolding like a Swiss Army Knife, the tiny tripod actually fits inside a pocket – not just a roomy pocket inside a pair of cargo pants, but even the knuckle-deep pockets of a pair of women’s skinny jeans.

Pull apart the metal legs and unfold the GripTight Mount, and the tripod is ready to go. The Micro Stand gives the smartphone almost no added height, but keeps it steady on top of a flat surface. Unlike the Impulse, the ball head here is easy to move; the small height only allows a range of less than 45 degrees, but the stand is easy to adjust in slight angles.

The Micro Stand is constructed from metal, with rubber tips for more grip (and to avoid scratching whatever surface it’s on). The stand adjusts smoothly and folds down to about the size of a small pocketknife.

The Micro Stand is incredibly tiny, yet impressively sturdy. While the mini tripod doesn’t offer the same leg-bending flexibility as the GorillaPod legs of the Impulse, it’s so tiny it can go wherever your smartphone goes. The only thing that would make the Micro Stand better is if there was some way we could attach it to a smartphone case.

GripTight One GP Stand

The GripTight One GP stands in between the Micro Stand and the Impulse. It’s essentially the Impulse without the magnetic feet and the remote. The legs have the same flexibility and can still hold the weight of a smartphone upside down, but the legs can’t cling sideways to a magnetic surface.

The GP is a traditional GorillaPod that includes the new GripTight One Mount smartphone cradle. It costs $40.

Conclusion

The new suite of GripTight One accessories offer nimble photography support for the smartphone photographer. It is flexible and easily adaptable for selfies, long exposures, tight or weird spaces, and more. Tripods tend to have longer lifespans, and these GripTight One products will likely last several generations of smartphone upgrades.

While there are a number of competing products on the market, Joby’s GripTight One series is well priced. Manfrotto, for example, makes a smartphone adapter that’s all aluminum instead of plastic and has a hot shoe slot for accessories, but it’s also $50 compared to Joby’s $20 GripTight One Mount, and it uses a knob to adjust instead of the simpler spring system. Jellyfish makes a Jelly Grip that has more flexibility in the ball head but less versatility thanks to traditionally designed tripod legs.

We’ve always been fans of Joby’s GorillaPod products, so it’s great to see it in a new generation of smartphone tripods. We wish Joby offered a complete package that included every aforementioned component.

Highs

  • Incredible flexibility
  • Well-priced
  • Micro Stand is portable
  • GorillaPod legs are strong enough to hold a smartphone upside-down
  • Fits almost any smartphone, in an instant

Lows

  • GP ball heads are tough to turn
  • Some wiggle-room on thin smartphones

Available here:
Amazon