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Daremo
Sep 2, 2009, 04:04 PM
I already know, a lot of you will slam this product, simply because you won't see the use for this, but after my attempt at a home made solution, Zacuto was kind enough to provide me with a Zgrip Jr. for review. I have it up on my review blog (link in signature if you're interested in other products as well.)

Zacuto Zgrip iPhone Jr.

Shortly after my feeble attempt at modifying a Bracketron into a tripod mountable iPhone holder, I saw a video for a company called Zacuto, and they released a product called the Zgrip iPhone Jr. I was thrilled to see this, as I was beginning to think I was the only person to see the usefulness of a product like this. I was met with some ridicule from a few Mac related forum regulars, but I stand by the idea.

Of course the iPhone 3GS doesn't replace my Nikon DLSR, but in a pinch, when out with the family, or wanting to make a quick video for youtube, or to share with someone, the iPhone 3GS is a fantastic tool to use. In proper lighting conditions (outdoors comes to mind) the camera is fantastic. The exception is the lack of image stabilization. Videos can en hard to watch, and photos can turn up blurry.

Enter the Zacuto Zgrip iPhone Jr.

Zacuto has attempted to solve this problem with a device which holds the iPhone in place, and give you a solid, pistol grip type handle, to help hold the iPhone steady while shooting video or still photos. The iPhone Jr. is a consumer version of their professional version, and priced lower making it more affordable for people to use. I have not had the Pro version in my hands yet, but the options look fantastic, but the consumer Zgrip iPhone Jr. looks to be more then enough for the common user,

The handle looks to be mold injected and made of a solid but very light weight material, with a texture to it, almost like sand paper, making it virtually slip free. Even with wet hands, there's no way this will slip from your hand.

The top clamp portion is made of a light weight metal, feeling slightly heavier then the handle side, with rubberized caps along all the points, to protect, and grip the iPhone in place. If I had to compare, the design is similar to that of the PED3 iPhone stand, but the layout of the "arms" are in different positions. The metal is sturdy, but can be bent with a bit of force to open or close on the iPhone to create the perfect grip for the device.

This has 2 features built into it, which is a huge selling point for me. First, the addition of the 1/4" 20" thread on the bottom of the handle, to be used for any standard Tripod. This is fantastic, finally a solution to mount the iPhone for stationary use. Using this on my tripod, I found this to be solid, and sturdy. It simply works! This is perfect if you're shooting something like an unboxing or review style video for youtube, or a quick and simple snapshot for Ebay. This is a huge plus for this product, and turns it into something very cool, into something totally useful.

The second feature is the same 1/4" 20" thread on the top of the clamp, where a light can be attached to the unit. This as well was a genius idea. The iPhone had difficulty in darker conditions, and Zacuto came up with a solution for that too. I sadly do not have a light which stays on with this adaptor to use, but I plan on looking through the Zacuto website (www.zacuto.com) to find one.

So, now onto my only criticism on this product. With the home made version I created with the Bracketron, if gave me the ability to adjust and clamp the phone in to any size. I keep a case on my iPhone, and with the Zacuto, I have to remove the case anytime I want to use it. This is a hassle, but not the end of the world. If I could make a chain to this product, or offer a suggestion to them, I think many people keep their phones in cases, and would like to see a different style of mounting bracket, to accommodate for a cased iPhone. Even with bending the arms open wider, there wasn't enough grip to hold onto my Speck Candyshell case. Maybe some sort of adjustable option would work best.

Over all, this is a unique and inventive product and works exactly as described. The addition of the tripod and light mount's and genius. I will continue to use this, and add to this article again, when I've used, and abused this more.

The Zgrip iPhone Jr. sells for $69.00 (www.zacuto.com)

Design: 3.5 / 5 (With an adjustable clamp, this would easily be 5 / 5)
Build Quality: 4.5 / 5
Features: 5 / 5
Price: 3.5 / 5
Innovation: 5 / 5
OVERALL: 4 / 5

If you need stabilization or a way to mount your iPhone to a tripod, what are you waiting for? Go buy this! Made in the USA as well, so you're helping support manufacturing and jobs here at home. (Home if you're living in the USA that is.)