Last month I reviewed the Stable PRO by Thought Out, a high-quality iPad stand made out of solid steel. As noted in the review, that product is well constructed and well designed, and I find that stand very useful on my office desk. Thought Out also sent me a free review unit of a similar product for the iPhone called the PED 4 Planet CH50. It works as advertised, letting me mount my iPhone in different positions in either landscape or portrait orientation. My only real complaint is that I simply haven't found it nearly as useful to have my iPhone on a stand of this nature as it is to have an iPad on a stand.
Most of the product is made of shiny, thick plastic, but it also has a steel shaft with a ball on the end. Thus, this stand is much lighter than the Stable PRO iPad stand, but that is not a problem because you don't need much weight to support an iPhone 5. I use my iPhone 5 without a case, but you can expand the holders to provide the prefect grip for an iPhone that is in a case. The ability to adjust the holders mean that it should work with any iPhone, including the upcoming iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s.
Once the iPhone is in the device, you can adjust the stand to angle your iPhone in virtually any position. It is very easy to adjust the stand, but once you get it in a position that you like, the stand is stiff enough to stay in that position.
The base has rubber feet to keep it steady on your desk.
In addition to using the PED4 Planet CH50 on the base, you can unscrew the shaft from the base. The bottom of the shaft has a standard 1/4"-20 female thread so you can attach it to any tripod. If you want to take a photo or video with your iPhone and want to keep it very steady, this is a great solution. I tried this with a JOBY GorillaPod portable tripod that I use with my Nikon SLR camera and it worked great.
Note that if you are just looking for a nice way to mount your iPhone on a tripod, you can purchase the PED4 CH50 without the Planet base and save a few bucks.
As noted above, when using this device with the base, my only real complaint is that after about two months of having this product on my desk, I haven't found it very useful to have an iPhone mounted in this position. Unlike an iPad which has a large screen and can function as a sort of second monitor, I rarely found it useful to have an iPhone in a fixed, mounted position on my desk. It's not that I don't use my iPhone in my office — to the contrary, I use my iPhone all the time as a quick way to check an email, my calendar, my to do list, etc. — but I prefer keeping my iPhone on my shirt pocket or on my desk and just picking it up when I need it.
The one exception was using my iPhone to make a video call using FaceTime. Your hand can get tired holding out the iPhone for a while, and it is quite nice to mount the iPhone in a fixed position on a stable surface. If you travel and use FaceTime on your iPhone to call home to talk with your spouse or kids, I could definitely see the PED4 Planet CH50 being worth it. As noted above, you can unscrew the shaft to break down the unit into two pieces, so it can easily fit in your briefcase or luggage.
[UPDATE 11/19/13: This past weekend, my son and I started to play with iStopMotion, an iPad app that you can use to create fun stop motion videos. The app lets you use an iPhone as an external camera, which is really the best way to use the app. The PED4 Planet CH50 stand is a perfect macth for the iStopMotion app. You can adjust the iPhone as a camera to whatever position that you want, and then it stays in that exact position from shot to shot — exactly what you want for stop motion videos. When I wrote this original review, my own real complaint was that I didn't have a good use for the product, so I wanted to update the review to note that iStopMotion is a perfect use for this product.]
You know how you use your own iPhone in your office, and if you use it in a way for which it would be useful to have your iPhone mounted in a fixed position a few inches above your desk (such as my FaceTime example), then I can highly recommend the PED4 Planet CH50 because it is well-designed for that task. But if you are like me and find it most useful to always have your iPhone in your pocket so that it is close to you when you need it, then this product is not for you.
The PED4 Planet CH50 retails for $50, but you can save $10 if you buy it on Amazon.