Review: Breffo's Spiderpodium Minimizes Device Shock

Here's something out of the ordinary: Lots of requests from companies who want me to review their products float through my inbox. Alas, none of those requests originate from Apple; rather, it's the usual stuff, mainly IT-related tools (security software, performance monitoring stuff, backup tools, hard drive enclosures), and the occasional non-IT-related items, such as computer luggage, wire holders, or some new iPod protector case. One item that intrigued me was Spiderpodium, from Breffo, which was introduced at CES this year.

In simple terms, it's a device gripper, mainly for smartphones and there is an iPad-sized version. The name, Spiderpodium, is a fairly succinct and apt description: It looks like a spider, and it props up your device as if on a podium (somewhat). It has eight rubberized tentacles, some of which can be used to hold a device as well as shaped into legs to prop up the device for easy, hands-free viewing.

I looked all over the Breffo site to find out more, and it seems like the unit is fairly sturdy. The company Web site has photos showing the Spiderpodium latching a smartphone to a treadmill, the air conditioning vents on a car dashboard, even the handlebar post of a mountain bike. So, it looks like Spiderpodium is able to absorb a pretty modest amount of shock. On a whim, I wrote the company to get a unit. The premise was to test it out on my motorcycle, to see if it could hold and protect my phone from the shock of a 65-mile commute (luckily, I work at the home office most of the week).

The company obliged, sending me two white units and two black units, plus two dummy smartphones (a Blackberry and iPhone). In a quick phone conversation with Breffo's PR point man, he explained to me that he'd rather have me test the Spiderpodium using dummy phones before I commit my own, valuable phone for a real-world review. I obliged, but I also wondered about his confidence in the company's own device.

I received the units and immediately started playing with them. It takes some practice to figure out how to get the phones to grip the phones in the right way, without having the fingers get in the way of controls. But once I got it right, it was easy to repeat the process.

Breffo SpiderPodium, black, gripping iPhone dummy unit reffo SpiderPodium, black, gripping iPhone dummy unit
reffo SpiderPodium, white, gripping Blackberry dummy unit reffo SpiderPodium, white, gripping Blackberry dummy unit

Breffo SpiderPodium passed a basic shock test on my BMW K1200. The pictures show the Spiderpodium gripping its fingers around the dummy phone units that the company sent to me for testing. (Click images to view larger versions.)

I then tried installing the Spiderpodium, with phone, on my motorcycle. The most obvious place is the handlebars, since I was seeking instant access. I figured out quickly that it's much easier to install the unit first, then manipulate the remaining fingers around the phone. What I also found was the fingers will stay put and not budge much, so it seemed fairly secure. I left the unit on the bike for a week, and logged about 400 miles. All I have is good news to report, the phone didn't budge, even after removing the phone and replacing it several times. Those fingers will stay exactly where you put them.

The real test, though, was with my phone. It's a bit smaller, and in the past I've put the phone ona BMW aftermarket holder made by another company. The drawback has always been that the aftermarket holder is solid plastic, and with no shock absorbing qualities between it and my phone, my phone would sometimes sound like it was stuttering while it played music, or it would just inexplicably turn off. Besides that, the attachment for the phone is also bulky and not easy to remove.

Not so with the Spiderpodium. Their holder performed admirably, even after miles and miles of constant rumbling from my home to the office, and out in the north county San Diego backroads a few times. The phone comes out easily, and it's also easy to put back in short order. Pretty much, Spiderpodium passed the test and now I'm a fan.

Breffo Spiderpodium comes in two sizes and colors: white and black for smartphones and similar devices (USD$19.99), and gray and black for tablets (USD$34.99).

Posted by Michael Domingo on 03/04/2011 at 11:59 AM


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