Hands-on review: IK Multimedia iKlip Grip Pro smartphone and camera tripod
Professional multi-function smartphone and camera tripod or glorified selfie stick? We get ready for our close-up – and our faraway – with IK Multimedia's iKlip Grip Pro.
We've been using IK Multimedia's iKlip Grip Pro for a few months now, in all manner of photographic and filming scenarios, and we've really come to love it and rely on it.
At first, friends and colleagues often looked sceptical any time we pulled out the iKlip Grip Pro (not a product name that trips easily off the tongue). Any stick-like smartphone apparatus will raise the spectre of the dreaded selfie stick – and indeed, the iKlip Grip Pro will take diamond selfies, if that's what you want. However, for more professional uses, as soon as people saw how quickly we could adjust tripod height and camera angle to get the perfect shot, locking everything in place with deft twists of the telescopic pole sections, any reservations melted away and they became much more curious about it.
With any product, all we ask is that it does the job its supposed to do, that it does it well and with the minimum of fuss. If it could also do this with a dash of panache and surprise us with a few neat tricks and hidden extras, that would be even better. The iKlip ticked all these boxes.
We’ve used the iKlip set up both on tables and on the floor for static video shots, leaving the iPhone hands-free once it’s up and running. We also found it was ideal for roving camera work, capturing reportage pieces to camera, with our iPhone mounted in the holder and then holding the iKlip at waist height, telescopic pole mostly retracted, using the tripod legs held against our body to provide filming stability. It’s not going to beat a fully professional gyroscopic handheld camera mount, but for something you can collapse to something no bigger than a half baguette and sling in your bag, ready for action any time, iKlip is great to have around.
For still photographic work, iKlip has the added attraction of a detachable Bluetooth shutter control. Pair this with your iPhone and you can set the tripod up at some distance from your physical location and capture shots with the remote control, from up to 10 metres away. When not needed, the control hooks securely on to the tripod itself, so you’re unlikely to lose it. While the control is attached, you can use it as a thumb-activated shutter control.
The only caveat with the control is it’s easy to leave it on accidentally, running the (replaceable) CR2032 battery flat. There is an on/off switch on the side of the control, but whether up or down is the on or off position is not clearly marked – trial and error is the key here. The control also doesn’t appear to power itself down when not in use, hence the battery-flattening threat. It’s a lesson we learned once: now we know.
The large hand grips of the iKlip are reassuringly solid and their size and shape feel good in the hand. The metal telescopic pole is in four sections and each one can be individually locked in place as required, simply by twisting by one centimetre clockwise so the aligned groove in each section is offset. Align the grooves again to collapse the pole.
The telescopic pole itself extends from 19cm to 62cm, while the ball mount can be rotated 360° rotation with a 90° adjustment between vertical and horizontal. This is great for quickly switching iPhone orientation on the fly without having to take the phone out of the holder.
While IK plays up the iKip’s suitablity for iPhones, the tripod works equally well with any smartphone, its accommodating grip swallowing any current model phone size. The expandable grip section that holds the camera can comfortably accommodate any iPhone up to Plus size and the red soft-touch rubberised interior means the grip won't scratch or mark your phone. This same rubber is also used on the base of each tripod foot, which gives iKlip good grip on polished surfaces.
There is also a standard UNC 1/4"-20 threaded ball mount, turning the iKlip into a professional mount for DSLR cameras, action cameras such as a GoPro and handheld audio field recorders. You could also remove the iPhone holder grip from the iKlip in this situation, so you can still be using your iPhone in conjunction with a more professional camera set up.
The iKlip Grip Pro is available in Apple Stores worldwide or direct from the IK Multimedia website. At approximately 73€ (inc. VAT), it's clearly not intended as a cheap, throwaway purchase – a fact underscored by the suite of professional features incorporated in the design. If you simply want the best selfie stick on the market, the iKlip Grip Pro will excel at that, but it is capable of so much more – and so is your iPhone.