Posts tagged: mount

i.Trek SupaMount – Tripod Clamp for iPhones

By , June 23, 2012 9:48 am

Taking a group picture with an iPhone (where you are included) has been one of the challenges that I have been scratching my head about. Recently I picked up an i.Trek Supamount after seeing glowing reviews on Amazon.

What is the great looking contraption?

So what is this thing and why do you need one?

Well imagine this scenario. You have a group of 5+ people and you need to get a picture, but you want to be in the picture yourself. Your “arms length” self portrait will only go out as far as your arm, so short of asking someone else to take the picture, what can you do? Besides, who wants to ask a total stranger to snap a picture, they may just take off with you phone. More likely, they’ve not used an iPhone before and you’ll spend the next awkward moments teaching them the finer points of snapping a decent picture with a camera phone. What a pain!

If only you could mount the iPhone on a tri-pod and then get some built in delay – like on your dedicated cameras..

This is where this little $18.95 contraption shines.

 

Overview:

First, just look at the thing! Upon opening the box, I just sat there and admired it. Beautifully machined aluminum with an anodized gold accent. I love functional gadgets that are well made. heck, the iPhone is about the ultimate example of that. This is made of aluminum so it is light. The “jaws” that clamp the iPhone have a rubber surface that grips very well without having to tighten the clamp very much. The aluminum handle also acts as the control for the clamp. Simply turn it to open and close the jaws of the clamp. There’s are threaded holes on two sides to accommodate the standard tripod mounting screws.

It's functional, light and very well made.

OK, so it looks great, how does it work?

Functionality:

Wow! Not only does it work great on the tripod, I later learned that I can use it for holding the phone upright to watch videos or whatnot.

i.Trek on the TrekTek. Say that fast 5 times.

But let’s return from the diversion. So I whipped out my “TrekTek” walking stick/tri-pod (worthy of it’s own review) and mounted this clamp with my iPhone. As you can see, it’s one tidy little setup. It’s very sturdy and the ball joint on the TrekTek makes the adjustments almost infinite. The mount can hold the iPhone in either portrait or landscape mode with little issue.

One of the issues with the TrekTek is that compact nature of the legs makes it a bit wobbly for large 35mm cameras. As for the iPhone, it is super light in comparison and because of that the combination tripod becomes very stable.

So that last piece of the puzzle is how to get into the picture when you have to manually fire the shutter with the iPhone. As you may have guessed, the application store can fix that problem in spades. Whether you want a fancy program that you can pay for or a free option, there are plenty out there.

I wanted to get a free “no frills” program and settled on one called “Ten Seconds”. Here’s a link below to a video of that application.

 Results?

OK, so I just got this when I returned from a trip so I could only try it with a picture of myself. Here’s a closeup of the business end of the clamp, tri-pod, and iPhone along with a picture of my goofy self using this combination.

Picture of my goofy self using Ten Seconds.

Secure and beautiful. What more can you want?

Again, the ball joint of the TrekTek mount combined with the clamp mount makes it quickly and infinitely adjustable. The combination handle and clamp control of the SupaMount works perfectly. The iPhone is held very securely with very little pressure. You can have it be in portrait or landscape mode and it’ll work fine.

Using the Ten Seconds app is simplicity. Fire the app and in 10 seconds it’ll shoot a picture. The last few seconds will have an audible signal that the shutter is about to fire. After the picture is taken, you have about 3-5 seconds to review the picture before it is written into your camera roll. It’s so easy to use.

Final Analysis:

You still here? Go buy one already. Here’s a link to it on Amazon. Seriously, if you want to stop carrying around a separate camera and use the phone you always have with you anyway, this is a perfect solution. With the 8M resolution of the iPhone, it’ll do a great job in almost any situation.

 

Multi-function Dock and FM transmitter that doesn’t suck!

By , February 23, 2012 10:53 pm

I’ve been trying to find a way to get my iPhone, iPod, Nano, etc. to play in my cars without having to replace or hardwire some new deck into the car permanently. I’ve also tried all kinds of things like tape deck adapters and FM transmitters. They all mostly suck big-time. Recently I wanted to add handsfree capability to our family SUV (Volvo XC90) and discovered that it used a fiber optic based system that was ridiculously expensive to upgrade. So I went looking for another solution.

This is ridiculously cheap, but it works!

On Amazon I started reading all kins of reviews of units that basically had lukewarm to bad reviews. In this search I started thinking I could use another charger for the car that would double as a mount. You know how those web searches can become a big black hole.

Then I came across this All in One unit for the ridiculously low price of $12.69! No this is not a typo. For the price of a cable I could have a mount, charger, fm-transmitter, and a remote. It was ludicrous. Since I have Amazon Prime and the shipping was free, I figured, “what the heck”?

I also perused the reviews and there were a surprising number of good ones considering this cost less than I spent on lunch today.

So in 2 days time, good old Amazon Prime came through again and I had my unit in my hand. I snapped a picture to share with you and then started to fiddle with it. Besides the fact that this thing has more appendages than a baby in a bilirubin chamber (ok, total non-sequiter) it seemed pretty well made. The mounting was secure, all the parts fits and the cigarette lighter adapter even had some rubber protrusions to makes sure it fit tightly.

The “remote” was amusing. They tried to make it look like a ipod! I really didn’t expect it to work so well, but hey, in the next weeks the truth will come out.

My phone in the cradle with the remote to the right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK, so how has it been in the past few weeks? Well, it’s a mixed bag. There are some goofy things, but also a surprising number of good things to report.¬† So let’s get to the deets.

GOOD STUFF:

  • The FM transmitter actually works! I get a light static, but other than that the music is clear and the GPS voice directions are fine! I am amazed. It’s so much better than the half a dozen other FM transmitters I have tried.
  • I can use it as a speakerphone for handsfree! This solves a world of problems for me. This is much better than a bluetooth headset or my Jabra clipped to the visor.
  • It charges the phone, but a little slowly. Actually, if I am running the GPS, it charges it TOO slowly. Sometimes the battery level goes down after a trip with the charger plugged in.
  • The crazy little remote actually works! It’s IR so you have to point it at the top of the unit, but it does work.
  • The stalk is bendable and stay put.
  • The phone mount is very solid and holds the phone securely.
  • There’s an additional USB port on the side to charge another device.

BAD STUFF:

  • The GPS seems to get confused and loses the signal at times. This may have to do with the fact that my mount is on the center console so the phone doesn’t have a clear view of the sky. It is annoying as I lose the signal a lot more than when I had it mounted higher up on the dash with the vent mount.
  • Although the lighter adapter is tight, The weight of the unit caused the entire lighter assembly to wiggle around.
  • The FM frequency is on top of the unit, covered by the iPhone. It’s a pain to see the station if you need to change it in route.
  • The charger is weak.
  • For some reason my iPod touch will not transmit via FM if I plug in the main charger. I can use the USB port charger on the side without issue.
  • It a bit janky with all the cables coming out of it.

 

The bottom line is that for $12.69, this is a total steal. Consider that Apple charges $19.95 for the cable alone and it’s no comparison. In Summary, this is worth a try for the price. It ain’t pretty, but it’s functional.

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