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Lifewire / Yoona Wagener
Lightweight and portable
Offers height and angle flexibility
Universal smartphone compatibility
Not extremely sturdy
Legs feel flimsy and sometimes stick
Smartphone mount design is clumsy
The Acuvar 50-inch Aluminum Camera Tripod is a lightweight and travel-ready smartphone tripod, but it lacks durability and design finesse.
Selfie sticks can be handy, but if you’re looking for a way to or regularly shoot video and photos from your smartphone, a tripod like the Acuvar 50-inch Aluminum Camera Tripod can help you capture and record what you want with some added and possibly even hands-free stability.
We played around with this tripod to see how easy it was to adjust and use with our smartphone.
The Acuvar 50-inch Aluminum Camera Tripod looks like your average full-size tripod. It even features a level, rubber grips at the bottom of the legs, and a camera mount that the manufacturer claims works with digital cameras. It’s difficult to have full confidence in that claim given that this tripod weighs only one pound. Folded up it measures just 15 x 3 x 3 inches (HWD), though it can extend to 50 inches tall. And while it’s made of aluminum, the legs feel incredibly hollow and flimsy. This is exacerbated when they’re extended to their full capacity.
The smartphone mount is expandable from 2.3 to 3.5 inches, and that’s made possible by a spring that allows you to manually expand the mount to slide your phone in. But this is an awkward motion. The inner portion of the mount is padded, but the gripping areas on each side are perforated and do scrape against the sides of a smartphone. We didn’t notice any scratching, but the design is less than ideal for holding a phone without a case. The mount itself isn’t the most secure. It’s a bit wobbly when jostled without a device in the smartphone mount, and continues to flex when the phone is inside. This never led to the phone falling out of place, but it also didn’t instill a ton of confidence in the build of this feature.
There’s nothing remarkable about the design, which isn’t difficult to use, but it does feel unstable and unrefined.
Setup is quite simple. This tripod is really ready to go right out of the box once you place the mount and cell phone adapter onto the tripod. There’s a quick-release feature that’s intended to allow for quickly inserting and removing the mount. It’s a nice thought, but placing the this is hardly lightning-fast since the plate needs to be wiggled in and out of the mount at a precise angle. If you get it right, it’s relatively seamless. This inconsistency during the setup process continued into general use where we found that we consistently got the angle slightly wrong.
Adjusting the leg length was much easier, but we did notice that they stuck a bit when retracting them. Still, there was nothing incredibly difficult about twisting the smartphone mount on the top of the mounting plate and securing it to the tripod. It was just slightly cumbersome having to fiddle with the quick release plate.
What we found a little unnerving were the small hiccups we experienced when shooting photos.
The Acuvar 50-inch Aluminum Camera Tripod performs, for the most part, in all the ways that it says it will. While we did have issues with the quick release plate functionality, when it works it’s convenient. The legs were relatively easy to shorten and lengthen, and we appreciated the easy angle adjustment from vertical to horizontal orientation, with an easy tilt of the lever.
We found the Acuvar tripod to do a decent job for taking portraits or selfies. And while a timer would enhance this product, we were able to use our iPhone timer function for easy, hands-free shooting. Since this isn’t the heaviest tripod, we were surprised by how steady it did feel on even surfaces. Bumpier outdoor surfaces left us feeling less confident, however, and a simple inadvertent bump of one of the legs sent the tripod tumbling down.
While we did have issues with the quick release plate functionality, when it works, it’s convenient.
What we found a little unnerving were the small hiccups we experienced when shooting photos. For example, the legs sometimes seemed to come out of alignment and required coaxing when moving from longer to shorter lengths. And an iPhone 6S with a case fit so snugly in the smartphone mount that we experienced some pinching on the hand when removing the phone.
This Acuvar tripod has a list price of $22, which is not a great deal of money. But considering the availability of heavier-duty tripods that cost less than $50 and can accommodate DSLRs along with smartphones, the cost of this product might exceed the value for your needs. There are other smartphone tripods within a similar price range that come with handy remotes and other accessories, but you may experience the same issues with lack of durability.
The Acuvar 50-inch Aluminum Camera Tripod is like a mini version of a full-size tripod, but without as much substance and reliability.
For about $9 more, the Fotopro 3400 Pro Digital Tripod (view on Amazon) boasts extra compatibility with a number of devices including smartphones, GoPros, and even DSLRs. Its height capacity is only 48 inches, but this tripod can accommodate up to 4.4 pounds of weight. The manufacturer doesn’t specify how much weight the Acuvar 50-inch tripod can handle, but it also makes no mention of compatibility with any other devices besides smartphones. The Fotopro also comes with a Bluetooth remote in addition to a smartphone and GoPro mount. If you’re looking for more versatility and dependability from a smartphone tripod, you may find it here.
Take a look at some of our other recommended smartphone tripods, smartphone camera starter kits, and best smartphone cameras.
An affordable tripod that’s almost like the real thing.
The Acuvar 50-inch Aluminum Camera Tripod is like a mini version of a full-size tripod, but without as much substance and reliability. It offers some desirable qualities like adjustability in shooting height and angles, but the wobbly and somewhat precarious nature of the design requires an extra level of caution that may make spending a bit more a better tradeoff.