Reviews |Joby HandyPod Mobile Lock

Joby HandyPod Mobile Lock Review

Joby HandyPod MobileLock review
Review

Price when reviewed

£34.99

$39.99
Check current price

Our Verdict

The Joby HandyPod Mobile Lock is a neat idea, and a concept tackled countless times before. A mobile phone holder and mini tripod combo, but this time with the addition of a small lock on the clamp.
The tripod is excellent, along the lines of the famed Manfrotto Pixi, and with this iteration, it’s difficult to find fault. The clamp on the other hand is interesting, the design seems like a good idea taking out some of the fiddliness, but there’s something about the design and quality of the plastic material that doesn’t quite sit right. There are plenty of features but release that lock, and the clamp comes slamming down, ready to snag unsuspecting fingers. Overall a decent enough product with a slight touch of jeopardy.

For

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Versatile

Against

  • Clamp feels cheap
  • Need to be careful when releasing the lock

What is the Joby HandyPod Mobile Lock?

The Joby HandyPod Mobile Lock is a bit of an odd name but refers to the lock on the mobile phone clamp. Open the clamp’s jaws, use the lock to keep the jaws open, insert your mobile and release the lock to clamp the phone in place. Once your phone is securely clamped, you can re-engage the lock to ensure that you’re phone doesn’t escape.

The idea is good, and I’m sure you’ve struggled with these clamps in the past as much as I have. Trying to insert a mobile phone into a clamp that just wants to stay shut while making sure the jaws aren’t pushing down on any of the buttons or covering the lens is tricky. This clamp and lock design enables you to manoeuvre the phone into position without having to battle the clamp spring before releasing the lock and allowing the clamp to clamp.

The lock also stops you from accidentally releasing the clamp, although, with the power of the spring, I’m not sure if that would ever be an issue.

Joby HandyPod MobileLock review

Aside from the clamping ability, there’s a 1/4-inch thread on the base and side, giving you the option to mount your camera in both portrait or landscape orientations, and on top, there’s a handy cold shoe slot so a mic or lamp can be attached.

Alongside the phone clamp, you have the mini tripod, again made from plastic, but it’s nicely made, essentially borrowing design, function and features from the excellent Manfrotto Pixi. Together they screw together to give you a very neat vlogging platform.

Performance

Let’s start with the Joby HandPod, the mini tripod, as this is available as a separate product and is excellent. It’s essentially the Manfrotto Pixi but made from plastic rather than metal; this makes it lightweight but by no means any lesser quality. In fact, with the rubberised textured grip on two of the legs, ergonomic folded grip design and neat red friction grip for the base plate, I’d go as far as to say that I prefer it.

The ball head remains metal, and the push-button release works exactly like the Pixi, with the 90º option giving even more options to its use. When it comes to the HandyPod, it’s excellent. My only comment would be that the legs could have a little more resistance when folding in and out.

The clamp that partners with the HandyPod divides my opinion. On the one hand, it does the job and gives you plenty of options over its position, either landscape or portrait and enables you to mount a mic or lamp onto the cold shoe at the top.

Joby HandyPod MobileLock review

Those are great features, and features that you want from a clamp, they also set this clamp above many other options. The lock, however, seems like a great idea, but in reality, it’s just a bit gimmicky. During use, it does enable you to position the phone easily by keeping the jaws open until you need them clamped closed and this action helps make sure that the lens is clear of obstruction and the jaws of the thing aren’t clamping down on the buttons, but it’s also a little scary.

Through the rest of the set-up process everything is somewhat quiet and sedate, however the moment you release that lock, the clamp comes slamming down onto your phone, not enough to damage it, I don’t think the small clamp has that much power, but enough to make you jump the first time you do it.

Don’t get me wrong, it works, and it’s a good feature, but at the same time, it doesn’t feel at all refined.

Joby HandyPod MobileLock review

Looking at the Joby details and it states, “locking lever that securely holds your device in place” I’m not sure this is correct as the spring has more than enough power to lock the clamp in place without the need for an additional lock. I think it’s there so you can more easily position the phone or unintentionally make people jump when they release it.

Final Thoughts

As a product combo, the HandyPod Mobile Lock works well. The mini tripod is exceptional and has a life well beyond the world of vlogging. However, I have mixed thoughts about the clamp; I like the design with the two options for mounting in landscape or portrait; I like the cold shoe, but I’m not so sure about the lock.

It’s not that the lock is a bad idea, it essentially works and benefits the design, but it doesn’t feel at all refined. It does help you line up the phone and get the right position which is useful, but then you need to be careful when you release the lock, I’m sure there are more refined and gentler ways to do this.

Joby HandyPod MobileLock review

However, lock or not, the HandyPod Mobile Lock is a decent product, but as Joby also produce the Mobile Plus, a similar product without the lock, I’d be tempted to go for that instead.

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