Say Goodbye to Painful Neck Strain With Belkin's New Face-Tracking iPhone Stand That Always Points at You

Illustration for article titled Say Goodbye to Painful Neck Strain With Belkin's New Face-Tracking iPhone Stand That Always Points at You
Image: Belkin

Why spend $250 on Amazon’s new face-tracking, auto-rotating Echo Show 10 smart display when Belkin’s new Magnetic Phone Mount with Face Tracking turns your iPhone 12 into a self-standing screen with similar smart functionality (minus Amazon sneaking a camera in your home) for just $65?

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If you’ve ever had to crane your neck to follow a recipe video while bustling in the kitchen or stopped a workout routine to reposition your smartphone because a new pose made it hard to see the instructor, then you can already see the value of Belkin’s Echo Show 10 alternative. The mount is battery powered so you can position it anywhere in your sightline without being restrained by a power cord, but a rechargeable battery would have certainly been preferred over the three AAA batteries this thing will probably eat through in no time given they’re powering an electric motor mechanism.

The mount can rotate a full 360-degrees so you can even set it up on an island and have it track your movements in every corner of the kitchen, but it does have some limitations. The movements are limited to horizontal rotation, so while the mount can be vertically adjusted from -15 to 30 degrees, you’ll have to do that part manually. Its use of MagSafe to hold a smartphone securely in place in landscape or portrait orientations also means the mount is only compatible with the iPhone 12 line, and future iPhones, assuming Apple doesn’t ditch MagSafe anytime soon.

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Image: Belkin

The other ‘catch’ with Belkin’s new Magnetic Phone Mount with Face Tracking is that it can’t be used for video calls. It relies on the iPhone 12's own front-facing camera and a new app from Belkin for its face-tracking abilities, which means that shooting content for, or streaming content from, social media services like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube all happen through Belkin’s own app. As a result, it can’t be used to make video calls through services like Facetime, Zoom, or Skype, which are all dependent on their own iOS apps.

Further complicating its use for video chatting is the fact that the mount “is not recommended for video content featuring multiple faces,” according to Belkin. There’s no reason you can’t use the mount in powered-off mode to hold your iPhone 12 in place during a Zoom call with lots of family or friends, but when powered-on it sounds like it’s going to have a hard time deciding what face to follow in a crowd.

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DISCUSSION

ImALeafOnTheWind
ImALeafOnTheWind

“but a rechargeable battery would have certainly been preferred over the three AAA batteries this thing will probably eat through in no time given they’re powering an electric motor mechanism”

You are wrong. I often see this take at this site and it’s like you guys aren’t considering they make rechargeable AAA batteries that are more universal and easier to deal with when a built-in non-user replaceable rechargeable battery goes bad (and it will, because it’s a battery).

For a bunch of my devices, I’ve got a set of rechargeable AA and AAA ready to go, because as soon as they get depleted, I swap out a freshly-charged set and start recharging the old ones so they’re ready to go again. I have this problem with Sony game controllers that I have to wait to charge with the damn cable when my other gamepad just swaps in a fresh set so I’m instantly ready to go again.

If the form-factor of the product allows for it, keeping the rechargeable batteries to a universal standard like AA or AAA is the way to go - especially with the worry that most people won’t try to get a proprietary battery swapped out when it inevitably goes bad and end up just buying a new one and tossing this thing in a landfill.