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A Swiveling Dock for Shooting Hands-Free Smartphone Videos

March 13, 2012 | Hogan Keyser

swivl_iphone_dock_tripod.jpgMarch 12, 2012 by Lauren Goode via -- Whether you're a video blogger or just like to use your smartphone to make home movies and video chat, you've probably struggled with angling your phone or using your hands to demonstrate items while you're chatting.

A new device called Swivl, made by a California-based company called Satarii, holds up your phone or digital camera and allows you to swivel it around with a small wireless remote. The product has been in the works for two years now, and will begin shipping this week. It is currently only available through the Swivl Web site.

In my five-day test of Swivl, I found it to be fun and easy to use, especially when I was using it with my iPhone, since Swivl has an app specifically for the iPhone and iPod touch. The Swivl base followed my movements around the room when I directed it with the remote, although its vertical movement wasn't as smooth as its side-to-side movement. And I really liked that the Swivl remote doubles as a microphone.

While Swivl is a nifty tool for both serious video makers and average consumers who make home movies or just want a hands-free video chat experience, its price point is its biggest drawback: $179 is a lot to pay for a moving iPhone stand -- especially one with limited functionality with non-Apple devices. If you just want something to mount your iPhone on while shooting video, there are cheaper options, such as the $30 Oona smartphone stand; the $20 Glif, which attaches to a tripod and allows for tilting the iPhone at different angles; and a bunch of tabletop- and mini-tripods priced at around $10.

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