Price: $14.99 for 2
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Bottom Line: The Strongarm Universal Mount is hindered slightly by its need for incredibly smooth surfaces, but it can still be a very effective stand for iOS devices under the right circumstances.
The Strongarm falls into that special category of hardware I like to call “Simple but Effective.” Really it’s just a couple of suction cups that can pivot around each other, but if you’ve got a flat enough surface handy it can make for a pretty effective stand for your iOS device. With a few caveats.
Using the Strongarm is super-simple: just place the larger end on a smooth, flat surface and push down five times. This creates a vacuum that will keep it solidly in place for quite some time - depending on the angle and the weight of the device at the other end, of course. Then do the same for the smaller end (place on surface and push five times), only use the back of your iOS device instead of a table or wall. And viola! You now have a stand for your iPhone or iPad that can swivel around if you need it. Want to remove your phone or move everything to a new spot? Just push down on one end to disrupt the vacuum and the Strongarm pops right off.
It’s incredibly easy to set up and adjust the Strongarm. And while I initially thought its uses would be limited due to my lack of a car (no handy spot for a GPS), it’s actually worked very well as a desktop stand that allows me to place my iPhone within easy reach while keeping it at a conveniently viewable angle. What? I use it for schedule tracking, a calculator, and lots of other stuff so having it close by without needing to constantly fumble around for it is super-convenient. Don’t judge me!
The problem is the Strongarm requires a very smooth surface to adhere to. The surface of my desk is a bit rough thanks to all the use its been getting, and because of this I can’t get my iPhone to stick to it for longer than a minute or two. However, if I stick it to a coaster and place the coaster on my desk it’ll stay put for days. It’s recommended that users put in an extra pump or two every day or so to make sure the vacuum holds, but overall it’s a very solid connection. When it works. Similarly, while I appreciate being able to adjust angles and such, I feel like it could stand to tilt/pivot just a little bit more. It’s more of an issue when it’s attached to the bottom of a surface (i.e. the underside of a shelf) or something vertical, but it can still be troublesome at times.
Overall I was actually kind of impressed with the Strongarm Universal Mount. Its uses are a bit limited, and it’s a bit to picky about how smooth a surface needs to be for it to stick properly, but it does a good job overall and is very affordable. Plus it looks kind of like an old-timey telephone!