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This Hands-Free Smartphone Kit Is So Much Better Than Your PopSocket

Human hands simply weren’t made to hold today’s glass-encased, super-thin smartphones. Luckily, the designers at ZeroChroma have a fix.

Smartphone pinky, text claw, and cell phone elbow: They’re all real ailments in an age in which we constantly check our smartphones–sometimes more than thousands of times in a single day–as we triangulate between home, office, gym, bike commute, and everywhere in between.

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It can get pretty unruly to manage all of the clunky cases and holsters in the process, but entrepreneur Brian LeGette of the accessories brand ZeroChroma thinks he has a solution for all of those ways and places we use smartphones. His latest product, HaloEffect, is a hands-free kit that includes a universal base for your device that plugs into three unique mounts for driving, running or biking, and working. The all-in-one kit launches on IndieGoGo this morning.

[Photo: courtesy ZeroChroma]
We know, we know: There’s no shortage of newfangled products in the saturated smartphone accessories market, let alone on crowdsourcing platforms. Yet there’s reason to believe that ZeroChroma can deliver a reliable product. The brand has had several items sold worldwide at Apple Stores, which heavily vets products by other manufacturers. And while LeGette can’t name them outright, he tells us bulk orders for early prototypes have already been placed by several companies, including a certain headline-making spacecraft company that wants to go to Mars.

For $39, here’s what early backers will get: a fixed mount, a clip mount, and an activity armband made to work with a swiveling, 360-degree adjustable stand mount that’s built into a lid-like case and doubles as a “selfie handle” (as many things do, but at least you can get rid of that goofy PopSocket). The kit comes with six different-size holsters to cover most current smartphone models on the market, or in the case that you switch models after buying it.

On a quick test run, the parts all worked as advertised, and nicely consolidated a lot of common use cases with a simpler, more affordable design. The activity armband was an especially nice improvement, breathable and more comfortable than a lot of existing alternatives—and there was no plastic sleeve pocket to block the screen.

Our verdict? Human hands weren’t made for smartphones. . . And some have even imagined a future in which our digits evolve into snarls to better use them, god forbid. HaloEffect is a practical, no-frills kit that makes them more ergonomic in the meantime.

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About the author

Aileen Kwun is a writer based in New York City. She is the author of Twenty Over Eighty: Conversations On a Lifetime in Architecture and Design (Princeton Architectural Press), and was previously a senior editor at Dwell and Surface.

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