The living room tripod is now officially a thing you need

An iPhone on a Peak Design travel tripod.
The Carbon Fiber Peak Design Travel tripod is more than enough for living room video calls – but it’s also pretty cool. Phil Nickinson/

Now that you can choose between using FaceTime or Zoom on the Apple TV — and that’s really not the lesser of two evils as it sounds — it’s time for another accessory to hide inside your living room cupboard. It is time to think. Special Occasion: A proper tripod for your phone.

It’s not as silly as you might think (okay, it’s a little silly, but stick with me here). We should all be calling our friends and family more than we do. And being able to use your TV as a giant display (or at least much larger than your phone screen) really changes the whole look and feel of operation. And it’s a thousand times better than trying to cram three or four people (or more) around a laptop with a disappointing 1080p webcam.

So assuming you have an Apple TV—which is still our pick for the best streaming device you can buy—and assuming you have an iPhone, one way to really tie the room together is to Time to bring the tripod.

Here are some selections across various budgets:

Expensive: Peak Design Travel tripod

The Peak Design Travel tripod has a clever phone mount.
The Peak Design Travel tripod has a clever phone mount. Devon Mathies/

Let’s get this out of the way: the Peak Design Travel tripod This is a very expensive tripod that you should not buy if you only intend to use it with your phone in your living room. You can get it in any color you want, as long as it’s black. But it comes in aluminum or carbon fiber. The former costs $380, and the latter a whopping $600. So unless weight is of utmost concern, aluminum may be the choice. (But carbon fiber is great.)

So then, who should buy it considering its price? Someone who works over Zoom definitely calls from the living room. This is a great travel tripod for people who regularly take photos with a proper camera. It has a smooth ball head and is compatible with all Peak Design plates as well as most Arca-style plates. And it keeps the phone mount hidden inside until you need it.

And the whole thing turns into a thing shaped like a water bottle.

expensive? Yes. But also excellent.

Absolutely Healthy: Joby GorillaPod

If you don’t want to spend several hundred dollars on a tripod (and I don’t blame you), Joby GorillaPod Line Remains an excellent option.

The octopus-style legs (that’s what I call them in my head anyway) let you attach this tripod to just about anything. A railing. a lamp. A ceiling fan. Seriously, go crazy. Just remember you have a phone with a few hundred dollars stuck on the end of it.

It’s exactly this flexibility – without any pretense – that makes the GorillaPod a fan favorite after so many years. It is relatively cheap. It’s expandable – with accessories that make it better and allow it to do even more. And it’s great for phones or mirrorless cameras. Basically it will handle anything you throw at it. And if your vacation call gets heated, it should survive if you choose to leave it. it instead.

Just make sure you get an attachment for your phone, not something with a quarter-inch mount just for the phone.

Part Selfie Stick: Sensene

Some days you’ll want a tripod. Some days you need a selfie stick. Sensine 60-inch tripod selfie stick… thing (selfiepod?) does both.

I have not used it. This cannot be discussed. But you know what? It looks great. And like Alton Brown, I love a good multitasker. It kind of looks like a lightsaber, which is always a good thing.

Amazon says it’s made of high-quality aluminum alloy and a “premium piano baking paint process.” I’ve never known a piano that could cook, but maybe I don’t know enough pianos. It comes with a removable Bluetooth remote so you can take pictures and shoot videos without running back and forth to your phone, which is definitely a nice thing.

And perhaps most importantly? The price is right.






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