Tuesday July 12, 2011 4:48 pm
Clingo review: Mount your smartphone anywhere with ease
Buying a new cell phone or smartphone leads to the inevitable purchase of a new set of accessories. Car mounts, docks, and other add-ons tend to work with only one particular phone, leaving you with a slew of stands and cases lying around.
Allsop hopes to change that with Clingo, its line of universal wireless accessories. Not just your average mount or stand, each of the Clingo accessories uses an adhesive to keep your device in place, but it doesn't leave any residue behind. The company claims the sticky stuff will hold any device as long as it isn't in a case, won't leave any residue, and will stay sticky as long as you rinse it off periodically.
The most traditional of the accessories is probably the Universal Podium (above, holding the iPod), Its list price is $34.99. It's a sturdy steel platform (two of them would make a decent pair of bookends), holding your phone or other mobile device on your desk or counter. You can twist the top to change the viewing angle for when you watch a video or check some email, and it can even be detached for when you need to give the adhesive a good cleaning. On the downside, the podium has no adhesive material on the bottom, so the Podium might shift as you prod a touch screen.
Not all the devices are solely for holding your phone in place. The Game Wheel ($24.99 list) looks and feels quite a bit like Nintendo's Wii wheel, though a bit smaller, and its purpose is virtually identical as well: games, especially those involving the accelerometer. Your device sticks to an adhesive strip in the center, and while playing Doodle Jump on an iPod Touch, the wheel allowed for subtle movements that may not be achieved by palming the device. If you play a game that doesn't use require a gyroscope, however, it may get in the way.
The Game Wheel is supposed to add protection too, as the outside plastic encompasses the entire device and prevents a screen from hitting the ground when dropped. This worked with the thin iPod touch, which survived a three foot drop, but bigger phones like a Motorola Droid stuck out of the wheel. Depending on the device, volume and power buttons may be difficult to reach while in the wheel, but it's a neat toy regardless.
The Mobile Tether ($17.00 list) is an interesting concept, though not particularly necessary. Like the stand, the tether is two pieces of plastic on a hinge, which open up to reveal adhesives on both sides. The phone goes on one side, and the other side sticks to the monitor on your laptop or desktop while tethering or charging. The hinge is pretty weak when compared to the mobile stand, and it only works on the left side of the screen because of the hinge design.
The Car Vent Mount ($24.99 list) required some assembly, but when put together it snaps onto the fins of your vent for hands-free visibility. The ball and socket used in the Vent Mount didn't provide as wide a viewing angle as the Universal Podium, and frequently snapped off. The mount, however, stays sturdy on your car, though it does block your vent.
Probably the most innovative member of the Clingo line–at least as a concept–is the Universal Parabolic Sound Sphere (say that five times fast). It will run you $39.99 at list price.
Beyond those that we tried, other accessories are available including a tablet holder and different style car docks.
Allsop claims that by rinsing the adhesive with water you can rejuvenate your Clingo. We took the dirtiest one we had after testing, ran it under the sink, and let it air dry. It was just as sticky as when we took it out of the package.
The whole idea behind Clingo is actually quite clever. Using the adhesives, they will work even when you upgrade to your next phone. The adhesives are strong and don't leave any residue when you peel your phone off of them. The one downfall is that despite being made to work with any device, some do not hold up as well as others. Clingo products worked fine with most devices including an iPhone 4, iPod Touch, Motorola Droid and Samsung Galaxy S, but when I put an HTC Droid Incredible onto the Podium, it fell right off. This may have been due to the Incredible's slightly protruding camera or the contoured soft-touch plastic, but the fact remains: some devices will not work as well as others.
A few of the Clingo products, like the tether and the car vent mount, could use some improvement, and some accessories feel either unnecessary or cheaper than their counterparts that are monogamous with one device. They are wonderfully gadget-polygamous, working well with many devices, and you simply can't argue with that.
This article, written by Andrew Freedman, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.
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- car docks, car mount, clingo, clingo air vent mount, clingo game wheel, clingo mobile stand, clingo mobile tether, clingo parabolic sound sphere, clingo podium, clingo review, iphone, reviews, smartphones