Joby Gorillamobile for iPhone 4 /4s review

The best camera is the one you have with you and in most cases, that is my iPhone. This convenience first motivated me to start taking more pictures with it and I was hooked.

Before my iphoneography journey, I always wanted the best dSLR with the most megapixels. After all, wasn’t that what photography was about? Wrong! Real photography isn’t about capturing the most realistic highest quality image. Real photography is about capturing a fleeting moment. It is about immortalizing an emotion so it can be revisited over and over.  

As great as my iPhone 4s’ camera is, there are some “helper” accessories I find extremely useful and that I usually carry around in a jacket pocket: 

  • my much loved Olloclip
  • a tripod 

A tripod you ask? Yes.... A Joby GorillaMobile iPhone 4 /4s tripod.

Why a tripod?

A tripod allows me to take nice family portraits (or self portraits) and allows me to take to take the best, sharpest pictures possible. Even when doing night photography using NightCap for a 1 second shutter, images come out clear because they are not being hand held (hand induced shaking). 

A picture I took at sunrise in a national park with the Joby, my iphone 4s and ProHDR .

What is the GorillaMobile?

The GorillaMobile is a kits that comes with a plastic iPhone bumper case, a tripod mount plug and a flexible tripod that can wrap around anything.

Unboxing the GorillaMobile 

 click on any of the images to see the full size versions

Front of the box

back of the box

A registration card (top). An instruction manual (bottom left).

And the kit with the bumper, tripod and standard camera adaptor.

You can see my white iPhone 4s installed in the kit.

The bumper case

The included bumper case is fairly slim when you compare it to other tripod mounting cases like the Diff (a good thing). As you hold it, you realize it is a rather flimsy case (not the cheapest but I was hoping it would be a little more sturdy feeling). This is definetely not a case you will keep your iPhone in all the time. 

I also found accessing the mute button a little troublesome when installed in the bumper. The bumper has been designed to allow the tripod to dock to it horizontally (for photography) or vertically (to use facetime).

Use

Because of the way the bumper connects to the tripod (with a nice secure sliding mechanism), you can be sure your iPhone will not fall out. It fits securely and even when hanging upside down in a kids playground, the iphone was held securely in place. 

the multiple joints on the flexible tripod legs means you can easily position your iphone exactly where you want to (no compromises). The joints are nice and solid (won't move once you position them), yet they are still fairly easy to mold into the proper shape.

I used the GorillaMobile to position my iPhone on tree limbs, the top of a roof, a park bench, hanging from a swing set (upside down), hanging from monkey bars (upside down), on metal tubular railing, etc. There wasn’t a single situation where I felt limited or constrained. Because the product is light, I was able to carry it around in my jacket pocket and it was available when I needed it. 

GorillaMobile and the Neat Studios Glif

Using the camera adaptor kit, I was also able to use the tripod with the Glif. Having tested the tripod with the Joby bumper case and the Glif, I eventually started gravitated more to the Glif (and I sometimes added the Serif when I need to make sure my iPhone stayed put). I found it easier, faster and more convenient to use than trying to install my iPhone in the Joby bumper (plus I couldnt use my Olloclip with the Joby bumper).

 

eBay replicas

Browse eBay and you will find Chinese made clones of many popular products and the GorillaMobile is no exception. I bought such a kit (for $10 shipping included) and tested it along with the original. 

You get what you pay for and after a couple of days of use, the joints on the eBay version started to lossen which meant my expensive iPhone was always at risk of falling on the floor. Truth is the eBay version was really cheap and very quickly I decided it was too risky to use it with my iPhone. Buyer beware. 

Verdict

I have to say I really like what Joby was done and I love the convenience of the small yet flexible tripod. I have to admit I started using it with the Glif instead of the kit's bumper but most would be happy with the later.

I read dozens of online reviews and some people are complaining that the tripod feels cheap and I don't agree. For a $20 product, the tripod held up very well and will give you years of use.  I say buy it.