Five best phone grips to stop smashed screens
Smartphones are getting bigger and heavier every year, but our hands aren’t. At some point something has to break. And when it does it’ll either be a sting in the wallet when your phone hits the ground or a pain in the hand as your constant finger stretching induces dreaded RSI.
There aren’t any really small smartphones on the market, just smaller phones that are often very expensive. And that doesn’t help you with the phone in your pocket right now, whether an iPhone 11 Pro Max, a Pixel 3 XL or Galaxy Note 10+. So the solution is some kind of accessory to help you keep a grip. Here are five of the best:
Price: £11.99 and up
One of the most popular smartphone accessories you can buy. It’s wildly popular across Asia and in the US and for good reason: it helps you keep a grip without breaking the bank.
Essentially, it’s a knob you attach to the back of your phone or case that compresses down like an accordion when not in use. The cap is usually metal or hard plastic and comes in any number of designs. The underside is a tough rubbery material that locks into a plastic disc that attaches firmly to the back of your phone with removable adhesive. Stick your fingers either side and you’re good to go. When popped out it doubles as a kickstand for watching video, or to slot into car mounts.
Popsockets are available in a variety of different materials and designs, in mini sizes or attached to wallets and even integrated into cases. The top can be removed to allow wireless charging or swapped with different designs for a bit of variety. They can be fitted to practically any phone, even those with curved backs. When compressed they add a little bit of bulk and can stop it sitting flat on its back, but you should still be able to get the phone into pockets.
Verdict An adaptable, fun handle for your phone – it’s easy to see why they’re so popular.
Spigen Style Ring 360
There are lots of phone rings available, but this one is arguably the best. The small rotating metal disc sticks on to the back of your phone with strong but removable adhesive. The ring then unfolds from the disc, allowing you to position it how you like.
One end is flat, doubling as a kickstand. But it is the effortless hold on the phone that’s the best thing about it – and the reason I use one. Put your finger through the ring and just grip the phone as you normally would, safe in the knowledge that it won’t drop because it’s attached to you.
The flat disc design makes it one of the lowest-profile accessories available. It’s magnetic for attaching to car mounts.
Verdict Simple, low profile and provides an assured grip, but blocks wireless charging, unfortunately.
It may look like a stack of credit cards stuck to the back of your phone, but it is a surprisingly comfortable and assured grip aid. It has a flexible strip of plastic that slides on runners in the centre of the pad, forming a loop as it slides up from the bottom. Slip your finger through the loop and let it take the strain of holding on to your phone.
It doesn’t block wireless charging but, given the width, you’ll struggle to stick it to phones with too much of a curved back. It comes in various colours and printed patterns but it’s not the most attractive solution.
The tab never quite stays completely flat once bent, but it doesn’t make the phone rock around on a table and is one of the thinner solutions.
Verdict Cheap and effective, particularly if you still want to be able to wirelessly charge your phone.
Xtreme Skins vinyl skins
If you like the slim profile of your phone but wish that it had a little bit more texture to grip, or a little bit of scratch protection, vinyl skins are a great option.
A wrap from UK-based Xtreme Skins was super easy to apply, even on curved devices, and only took about five minutes, with video walkthroughs to show you how – plus a little heat from a hairdryer around the edges.
Sadly, none are quite grip-tape-like, but if your phone is of the super slippery variety they can be just enough to make handling a little bit easier.
Verdict A little bit of texture and scratch protection without ruining the slimline profile of your phone.
Speck Presidio Grip
Grips and skins are one thing, but if you want a bit of impact protection too, then a case is the way forward.
The trouble is that most cases add to the problem of grip by making phones thicker, wider and heavier. Others are fairly slippery, or are so sticky that you can’t get them out of a pocket.
This one finds a good balance. It applies like any other case – just press your phone in and away you go. It’s solid and looks like it can take a beating, but has ribbed rubber around the sides and back, making it a lot easier to grip with your fingers.
Verdict Its ribbed rubber sides and back should help you keep a hold of your phone if a case is the way to go.
The dreaded RSI
Phone-related repetitive strain injury is nothing new: just look at BlackBerry thumb in the 2000s. But as smartphones have become supersized a new sort of hand pain has emerged, and, once you have it, it’s very difficult to cure. I know because I’ve suffered from it ever since reviewing the 208g iPhone XS Max last year.
Big, wide and slippery phones mean many people have resorted to putting their little fingers underneath the bottom of the phone to hold them in place. But as the weight of the phones has increased so has the stress on the poor little finger, which can lead to the unpleasant experience of shooting pains in your palm.
The only cure is rest, which means either stopping holding a smartphone (practically impossible), buying a new small phone (in short supply) or changing how you hold it, which is where grips come in.
They may not be the coolest thing on the block, but then neither is the potential for crippling pain – making them some of the smartest buys you’ll make.