With smartphone and tablet sales booming, accessory makers are constantly dreaming up new ways to make it easier to hold and better operate our gadgets, often in ways we have never dreamed of.
One such accessory is the Flygrip, a small hinged plastic grip that’s main function is it to make it easier for you to hold and use your smartphone, tablet or e-reader with one hand.
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The inventor of Flygrip suggests the gadget can help you “read emails while holding your briefcase, jog on treadmill while reading the news and eat a sandwich while tweeting about eating.” After testing it out over the last couple of days, I can honestly say it allows you to do exactly that.
It’s a sticky clip, right?
Yes, but don’t let that put you off.
The Flygrip is compatible with most handheld electronic products, utilising an adhesive 3M surface to fix itself to the back of your handset or Amazon Kindle. You might be apprehensive about fixing it directly to your $500 smartphone, but it is easy to remove (although it can’t be re-applied) and can of course be placed on the back of your case.
The bundled instructions suggest that you place the Flygrip at the bottom of your device where you would normally hold it. This actually means it won’t work on some smartphones that have smaller battery covers (namely some older handsets from HTC) as the grip will bridge the join between the chassis and the cover itself.
Again, this won’t be a problem if you use a case.
Once fixed, the Flygrip will automatically spring from the back of your device, ready for you to slide your middle and ring finger through and grip. If you like your phones to retain its thin profile, this could be a deal breaker. However, if you are someone that is happy to sacrifice some of its form over increased functionality, then the Flygrip has you covered.
Testing the Flygrip on the Samsung Galaxy S III, the accessory tightly grips your fingers, freeing up your thumb to reach all parts of its 4.7-inch display without having to shift it around in your hand. The grip isn’t too tight, meaning you can re-position your fingers to find the perfect position. It comes in three sizes, great if you have hands like the Incredible Hulk.
I tested the Flygrip while walking my dog, browsing my phone in bed and over a couple of days of normal everyday use. It took a while to get used to flicking the clip down to place in your pocket so that it doesn’t catch, but once you become accustomed to it being there, it’s a great addition to your handheld.
You’ll notice you get an extra few centimeters of reach when you use the Flygrip and one-handed swiping becomes a lot easier and your phone (or other device) will feel more secure in your hand. It’s not going to stop anyone from attempting to snatch your device when you use it in public, but the grip it provides means you can pull it away quickly and possibly evade such an attempt.
When you aren’t using your phone, the Flygrip can also double as a kickstand. Flicking the stand in one of two directions, you can stand your device in a portrait orientation — great if you like to check your device on your bedside table, stand it upright on your desk, if you want to watch a film or make a FaceTime or Skype call without having to hold it.
My Flygrip came bundled with an iPhone case, but you will be able to choose from an array of complimentary BlackBerry and HTC cases also. It won’t help if you want to use it on your Galaxy S III or Kindle, but it’s another hint that you could probably fix the Flygrip to a case.
Should you buy it?
At $29.95, the Flygrip isn’t cheap.
However, it does ship in a variety of 8 different colours (hopefully matching the colour of your device or case) and comes with replacement adhesive strips, meaning you can always swap it between devices should you change your smartphone over time.
If the Flygrip was just a grip, the price-tag might put you off, but its ability to serve as a robust kickstand gives you another reason to consider taking the plunge.
It adds a few extra centimeters of thickness to your device, this is the reality you must accept before you decide to buy the Flygrip. If you grab yourself a case (or use one of the free protectors provided) and get used to how it works, you will soon recognise that its pros outweigh its cons.