Peak Design Mobile Tripod Review
Magnets work their magic to make setting up the Peak Design Mobile Tripod quick and easy—so long as your smartphone or case supports it.
- Slim profile stays out of the way when attached
- Easy to install and setup
- Adjustable tightness on ball joint
- Must remove to use other MagSafe accessories
- Required Peak Design case for strongest attachment
- Magnets resist pullling yet slip off rather easily
2.68 oz (76 g)
3.8 in x 2.2 in x .3 in (9.7 x 5.6 x 0.8 cm)
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Quick! Your dog decided to do something adorable right in front of you just this moment; what do you do? If you said, “Whip out my smartphone to take a picture, duh,” you have the same instincts as us. After all, not everyone has a thousand-dollar DSLR within arm’s length at all times, so smartphones have become the de facto tool of choice for capturing the moment. Sometimes, though, the moment demands stability that only a tripod can provide. Enter: the Peak Design Mobile Tripod.
It’s far from the first pocketable tripod on the market, yet it has some unique touches that set it apart. It’s slim, solid metal, and has magnets, so you don’t have to fuss around with clamps and clips. It even comes with a small tool to adjust the ball joint’s tightness—now that’s what we expect from a photography-focused brand.
If that’s got your interest piqued, then let’s go ahead with the full review.
The Mobile Tripod is quite compact, even by pocket tripod standards. It’s rectangular like a credit card, though it’s not as slim because of the thick anodized aluminum construction. Interestingly, it’s not flat either; it is slightly wedged. Our best guess is this helps keep your phone magnetically attached since magnets don’t deal with sheer forces well.
The whole piece attaches to the back of your phone with the ball joint pointing down, allowing the legs to fold down. A helpful indent near the top helps you get the legs out, and all three of them splice naturally into position—you don’t have to manually articulate each leg like you would with the JOBY GorillaPod. Then again, you also lose out on that kind of granular adjustment.
On the back of the Mobile Tripod is a rubberized finish to help it grip the surface of your smartphone. Compatibility isn’t universal right out of the box. You have to have a MagSafe-compatible iPhone, a smartphone that has a Peak Design Case, or splurge on their Universal Adapter—you’ll need at least one of those to make the magnetic attachment work. As of this review, there are Peak Design cases for Apple, Samsung, and Google Pixel smartphones.
In our testing, the best (read: strongest) connection is achieved by using the Mobile Tripod with a Peak Design Case—not surprising since they’re from the same brand. That said, while the magnetic connection is almost impossible to remove by pulling on it, slipping the Mobile Tripod along the back of the phone is still relatively easy. That’s just an inherent weakness of magnets; one that’s highlighted if you’re relying only on a bare iPhone’s MagSafe magnets. Peak Design says you can use the deployed legs as a grip for selfies and taking videos. However, we don’t feel a hundred percent confident in the magnetic connection, especially with a heavy iPhone 14 Pro Max mounted.
Using the Mobile Tripod in day-to-day picture-taking is relatively easy. The magnetic attachment lets you orient a smartphone in either landscape or portrait mode without a clunky clamp, and the feet have an anti-slip TPU coating. The ball joint connecting the legs to the metal plate is handy for getting just the right angle. Sure, it doesn’t have the height adjustment of a full-size tripod, although that’s a common shortcoming in most pocket tripods. You’ll still need some skill to take good pictures; the Mobile Tripod is just another tool to give you that extra bit of stability.
One of the Mobile Tripod’s best features has to be its adjustable ball joint. Joints go loose over time with use, so it’s good attention to detail to include a way to re-tighten it. There’s a small tool magnetically embedded in the legs. Pop it off, insert it into a small hole near the Peak Design logo on the bottom right corner, and twist it to tighten. The tool is even thoughtfully embedded on the backside (the side facing your phone) so that it can’t fall off by accident once the Mobile Tripod’s installed.
The Mobile Tripod is slim enough to leave on a cased iPhone 14 Pro Max without affecting the overall bulk. It doesn’t get detached while inside a pocket, so there’s really no reason to remove it unless you also use other MagSafe accessories.
We use a ton of MagSafe accessories like wireless chargers and wallets (not to mention other rear-mounted Peak Design accessories). Unfortunately, the Mobile Tripod isn’t one of those MagSafe-compatible accessories that let you charge while it’s attached, so we often leave it inside a tech pouch until we need it. You might be able to slot it in your wallet, although the thickness requires fairly loose card slots to fit; your mileage may vary.
As we mentioned earlier, the Mobile Tripod is not the first pocket tripod on the market, and certainly not the only one. A comparable one, in terms of shape and size, is Geometrical’s Pocket Tripod PRO. It’s a funky-looking credit-card-sized accessory that folds out and assembles into something more like a phone stand than a tripod (tripods have three legs by definition. It’s non-magnetic, though, and requires assembly each time you want to use it.
If you’re on a budget, the Perilogics Universal Airplane Phone Mount also acts as a tripod, plus a table mount for your smartphone. It comes at a budget price of around $13 at the time of writing, making it far cheaper than the 80-dollar Mobile Tripod. The catch? All plastic construction with a very noisy and squeaky hinge—a con if you’re trying to sneak a pic of some birds in the park.
There’s also the JOBY GripTight ONE Micro Stand, which is more like an actual miniaturized tripod with a clamp. Because of that clamp, it’s compatible with almost any smartphone, although it can’t do portrait orientation. The GorillaPod also has that limitation and is way bulkier than all of the others we’ve mentioned so far. However, the legs have a ton of articulation, which is handy for getting crazy angles.
Lastly, we’ll point out that Peak Design’s own Travel Tripod also has a built-in smartphone clamp that screws into place. So if you already have the Travel Tripod, know it’s an option rather than spending extra on another Peak Design tripod.
- Can be used as a tripod, stand or grip in both portrait and landscape mode
- Packs down small and slim enough to leave on the back of your phone without getting in the way of anything
- Magnetic tool attaches to the outside for micro-adjustments on the fly
- Magnetic is much better with a Peak Design case than without—the hold resistance is stronger
- We’ve found that stowing in a bag away until needed is better than taking it on and off each time you want to use another MagSafe accessory or charger, though it doesn’t bother us much if kept on the majority of the time
- Really a handy tool that beautifully integrates into the greater Peak Design Mobile System
- The tripod can come off relatively easily if held by the stem as a grip
- You can start to see more wear, dust, and discoloration on our sage-colored case and tripod’s magnets are connecting—this is purely aesthetic, though