Belkin’s iPhone Holder with MagSafe for Mac Laptops gets a bad rap, but it’s a great accessory. It lets you clip your iPhone to your laptop so you can use macOS Ventura and iOS 16’s Continuity Camera feature, which turns your phone into a webcam that absolutely crushes just about anything built into MacBooks from These days. And if that was all it did I’d still be happy with it – but its design and features are what are really worth considering, even though there are already a flood of other accessories out there for to do the same job.
Using the stand to turn your phone into a webcam is easy: you snap it magnetically, unfold a small stand with the Belkin logo on it, and set it on your computer. Then you just need to choose your iPhone as the camera in the video chat app you are using. It’s a fairly simple mechanism that works well, and since the mount is circular, you can mount your phone in portrait or landscape mode.
Its versatile shape, however, means there isn’t that extra stabilizing magnet at the bottom like some other MagSafe accessories. This probably won’t cause a strength problem; my iPhone 12 Mini never slipped off the Belkin stand or anything, even when I tested it without a case, and none of my colleagues who have used the stand with larger phones noted any issues . But that means you might have to spend a second twisting the mount a bit to make sure your video doesn’t end up slightly crooked.
Where the stand really shines is its build quality and bonus kickstand/grip ring (unfortunately the kickstand can’t really be used if you want to rest your phone’s camera on a table instead of your computer; it’s just not in the right place). The whole thing is very smooth and solid, like a rock that has been polished by moving water. It is also covered with a kind of grippy rubber, which is pleasant to the touch and very discreet. When I use it with my phone on, the low-profile dome fits perfectly in my palm, and I barely notice it’s there. If you really want the Continuity Camera to be useful, you need to make sure you always have a mount with you. The Belkin is nice enough that I want to keep it on my phone, which means I won’t forget it when I leave the house.
That said, I don’t think this mount and Continuity Camera will revolutionize my casual FaceTimes or Discord calls with friends and family for one simple reason: when my laptop is actually on my lap, putting a phone on top of the the lid does very tippy, even with my mini phone. When I used it cross-legged, my laptop fell easily and my phone fell across the room if I didn’t grab it. Even though I have my arm on the palm rest, it only takes the slightest bump for the weight of the phone to pull my 13-inch MacBook Pro’s screen back to its fully open position, which usually results in a very unflattering (and perhaps an uncomfortable force on my screen?).
To be clear, this probably won’t be a problem on a desktop unless you’re using the tiny 12-inch MacBook. A colleague of mine said his MacBook Air was perfectly stable when sitting on a table with an iPhone 13 attached, and so was another colleague who used the stand with a Pro Max and a 16-inch MacBook. . Pro. But that means I’ll probably only use this accessory for more formal video calls where I’m at a desk or counter rather than the much more frequent calls I make from the couch. It’s not Belkin’s fault; it’s just physics, and really, I don’t think my mom or sister wants to see me in 720p blurry (or, at least, I haven’t had any complaints for the past few years).
Even with that limitation, I still feel like the Belkin mount is worth its $29.95 price tag for anyone who cares about how it looks in video, has an iPhone, and plans to upgrade to macOS Ventura when it comes out Monday ( and who don’t want the hassle of setting up a dedicated camera/tripod/light).
However, if you work primarily from a desk with a monitor, it might be worth waiting for the desktop version, which Belkin says will let you tilt your phone to reframe the shot. That version is “coming soon,” according to Belkin’s press release, though it doesn’t mention whether it will feature some sort of sleeker power supply than just plugging in your phone using a Lightning cable. This sort of feature wouldn’t make sense on the portable version, but it would probably be a nice addition for those in meetings all day.
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