Anyone playing around with an iPhone 4 for any length of time will have realized that its compactness, decent sensor-processor combo and the huge selection of editing apps available make the darn thing is a superb platform for making both films and still photographs — if you can work around some of the gadget’s limitations. In this case, Habbycam, a small Southern Camifornia-based company that supplies all manner of rigs to the film industry, came up with the Habbycam iGrip ($140) as a better way to hold and position the iPhone for extended shooting. We think it needs work.
The iGrip is really a two-piece kit: a holder that cradles the iPhone that includes a standard tripod mount and two extra accessory holes, and the Habbycam Handle ($30 if purchased alone), a stout, rubberized handle with a tripod screw.
This isn’t some cheap, flimsy, molded plastic thing. the holder is machined from a gorgeous chunk of anodized aluminum, with brass fittings. It seems really solid and precise; likewise for the beefy Handle. The steel fingers (which look like that weird sculpture form Beetlejuice) can rotate, and snap into place every 90 degrees.
The two accessory holes on the aluminum block can attach accessories (like lights), though we didn’t test this.
For 140 smackers, there isn’t much in the way of flexibility or options. It doesn’t crane, bend or even support itself on a flat surface; even if the Handle’s bottom were broad enough to use as a base, it suffers from a slight bulge that negates any remaining possibility.
The biggest problem, though, are the bendable steel arms used to secure the iPhone. That’s right: If the arms aren’t bent securely enough, plop — out falls your $600 phone, and you hope there’s enough in the budget for a replacement. It happened to me on two occasions (luckily, a short drop onto a table the first time, and a carpeted floor the next). The arms simply aren’t foolproof enough to use without worry — there’s no sign of any kind (audible click, lock or sign from God) that the iPhone is secure. A pity, because the rest of the unit seems so well put together.
The iGrip’s high asking price, limited functionality and — most worryingly — its nonchalant attitude to iPhone safety relegate an otherwise solid, well-finished tool to the realm of exotic sculpture.