I really like my Ulefone 3w ruggedised smartphone. But it is a bit of a “paving slab” to hold in one’s hand. Which makes it a tad awkward to use as a camera. So I looked around for a solution. i.e a well-made and solidly-built holder for my ruggedised smartphone, that would not break the proverbial bank. So this “Joby” thing I found on eBay for just under a tenner rather caught my eye…
Well, my Joby jobby arrived this morning. It’s actually quite good. The jaws clamp my phone fairly well. Ideally they could do with being 2mm deeper. Fortunately the Ulefone’s edges are slightly bevelled. Joby’s jaw edges slope inwards, so they slot into the bevelled edges of the phone quite nicely. I wouldn’t use it to mount the phone for cycling, or while riding a horse. But for normal use it seems perfectly adequate.
Its Bluetooth shutter release blipper paired on first attempt, Though that is no surprise. The Ulefone 3w is actually exceptionally good at bluetooth pairing. It seems to pair with obscure devices that nothing else ever wants to talk to. Blipper fits neatly top or bottom in the Joby accessory mount. However it does fall out quite easily. So I keep it tied on with the little loupe thing it comes with. Blipper takes standard cheaply-available CR2032 battery. I have a number of rechargeable 2032’s c/w USB charger too, so I should be able to keep it powered-up for many years to come at near-zero cost!
One of the things I like about the Joby is it works well left-handed. It has been a lifelong bugbear with me that camera manufacturers only make cameras for right-handed people. Whilst I generally favour my right, there are many circumstances when it is much more convenient to hold the camera with the left, especially for digital cameras where one needs to communicate with the underlying computer system. In fact, this thing gives you a huge number of different ways that you can hold your device. I really, really like that feature.
Downside: no ¼” tripod mount thread, though the handle mount is supposed to be “Go-Pro” compatible. For my needs, they seemed to offer three quite important features:-
- The camera clamp seems quite deep – so hopefully it would actually hold my phone securely.
- The clamp is closed with a lever (presumably attached to a thread), rather than relying on a spring. That is quite important for securing a heavy phone. Mine weighs a bit over ⅓ kilogram!
- The handle offers lots of different ways to hold the phone. I reckon I’d be able to hold the phone much more steadily with this design than with fake camera grip type. The handle will also allow it to be used as a desk stand.
So I decided to invalidate the warranty on my Joby and make it work for my phone. Basically Joby has a 2mm thick piece of rubber to cushion the back of the phone. Obviously this is needed to protect flimsy iPhones! But my ruggedised breeze-block already has a rubber back. So with a few swift flicks of my recently resharpened Swiss Army knife, I did the dirty deed – circled in red below…
Making Joby fit my smartphone
By removing the rubber from the back of the Joby’s jaws – but NOT from the jaws themselves obviously – my phone is now able to seat back into the jaws by a further 2mm. This doesn’t sound like much difference. But it has made all the difference – as hopefully the following photos will demonstrate.
Joby also acts a good phone stand. The publicity images show it being used horizontally. However if you place Joby near the end of your device (about 20mm-25mm seems good) then it will also act as a vertical stand too, with a very small desktop footprint. In my case this undocumented is extremely useful. I control a lot of stuff round my house/office with my phone (LED lighting, media server, remote servers, Zoneminder system etc. etc.) With its sodding great 10.3 amp-hour battery, I tend to leave the display on all day. Having my “universal remote” so conveniently place on my desk is worth a tenner to me, all on its own!
I certainly would not pay the full fifty quid for one. But at just under a tenner, I think they are bloody good value for money. In any event I just ordered a second one as a spare – or to rob for spares if/when I break the first one! lol.