Belkin’s iPhone Mount with MagSafe for Mac Notebooks has a bad name but is a very good accessory. It lets you dock your iPhone on your laptop so you can take advantage of the Continuity Camera feature of macOS Ventura and iOS 16, which turns your phone’s webcam into something that beats almost anything built into MacBooks these days. And if that was all it did, I’d still be happy with it – but its design and features are worth considering, even though it already exists. flood other accessories meant to do the same job.
Using the device to add a webcam to your phone is easy: you snap it on magnetically, flip out a small leg with the Belkin logo on it, and place it on your computer. Then you select your iPhone as the camera in whatever video chat app you’re using. It’s a pretty simple mechanism that works well, and because the device is circular, you can mount your phone in portrait or landscape mode.
However, its versatile shape means it doesn’t have that extra stabilizing magnet at the bottom like other MagSafe accessories. That probably won’t cause a strength problem; my iPhone 12 Mini never slipped out of the Belkin mount or anything, even when I tested it without a case, and none of my colleagues who used the device with larger phones noticed any issues. But it does mean that you might have to throw the device a second spin a little bit to make sure your video isn’t a little crooked.
Where the device really shines is its build quality and the bonus kickstand / grip ring (unfortunately, the kickstand can’t really be used if you want to mount your phone’s camera on a table instead of your computer; it is not in the right place ). The whole thing feels very smooth and solid, like a rock polished by moving water. It is also coated in a kind of grippy rubber, which feels great and is very unobtrusive. When using it with my phone on, the low-profile dome fits perfectly into my palm, and I barely notice it’s there. If you want a Continuity Camera to be useful, you need to make sure you always have a device with you. The Belkin is nice enough that I want to keep it on my phone, meaning I won’t forget it when I leave the house.
That said, I don’t think this mount and Continuity Camera are going to revolutionize my casual FaceTimes or Discord calls with friends and family for one simple reason: when my laptop is on my lap, put a phone on top does lid do it very tippy, even with my mini phone. When I was using it with my legs crossed, it would easily fall on my laptop and still my phone across the room if I didn’t catch it. Even if I have my hand on the palm rest, it only takes the slightest bump for the weight of the phone to pull the screen of my 13-inch MacBook Pro back to its maximum open position, making the angle of the -usually unflattering (and maybe an uncomfortable amount of force on my display?).
To be clear, this probably won’t be a problem on a desktop unless you’re using the little 12-inch MacBook. One of my co-workers said that his MacBook Air was perfect when sitting on a table with an iPhone 13 attached to it, and the same was true for another co-worker who used the device with a Pro Max and a 16-inch MacBook . Pro. But it does mean I’ll probably only use this accessory for more formal video calls when I’m at a desk or counter rather than the much more frequent ones I do from the couch. That’s not Belkin’s fault; it’s just physics, and really, I don’t think my mom or sister will mind seeing me in blurry 720p (or, at least, I haven’t had any complaints in recent years).
Even with this limitation, I still think the Belkin mount is worth its $29.95 price tag for anyone who is into video, has an iPhone, and plans to upgrade to macOS Ventura when it comes out on Monday (and who doesn’t). ‘t want the hassle of setting up a dedicated camera / tripod / light).
However, if you mostly work from a desk with a monitor, it might be worth waiting for the desktop version, which Belkin says will let you tilt your phone to reframe the shot. That version is “coming soon,” according to Belkin press release, although he doesn’t mention if there will be some kind of power delivery that’s more elegant than just plugging your phone in using a Lightning cable. That kind of feature wouldn’t make sense on the portable version, but it’s probably a nice addition for those who are in meetings all day.
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