Stand your phone up straight with Kenu's Stance USB-C tripod.
I'm not a fan of gimmicks, which led me to a high degree of skepticism over Kenu's Stance USB-C tripod. This is not the company's first go around the bases with a product like this, and after reading negative reviews of the Micro-USB model, I moved beyond skepticism to concern over potential damage to my Pixel XL's USB-C port.
Thankfully, I was wrong in both cases.
The Stance is pretty simple when it comes down to it: a combination of metal and plastic, with rubberized nubs on the feet and a flexible ball-and-socket joint that plugs into the USB-C port for stability.
Obviously, this means you can't use the tripod while charging, but the Stance, at 34 grams and a built-in keychain attachment, doesn't have to be hard to find when not in use.
There's also a bottle opener, because what good keychain accessory doesn't have a bottle opener?
It's also quite flexible, both physically and attitudinally. It can stand the phone up straight as a true tripod for portrait photos, video calls, or just to go hands-free in general; it can also work as a stand to hold the phone at a convenient angle while in landscape, for watching videos or lining up a shake-free nighttime shot. There's also a bottle opener, because what good keychain accessory doesn't have a bottle opener?
So the question is, is it worth the $24.95? When inserted correctly — and it took me a couple of tries to realize the mount, which must be pressed in with a bit of force, holds the phone very securely — the legs pivot to allow for the phone to stand at myriad angles. After several weeks of almost daily use, the mount doesn't seem to be damaged or frayed, and the socket still feels like it has a long life ahead of it. It has a limited vertical range of motion, so it's easy to keep the attached phone straight, and the legs have enough resistance that there doesn't appear to be any risk of them flopping around in your pocket, bag or wallet.
The major difference between the USB-C version of the Stance and its Micro-USB predecessor seems to be the robustness in the mounting mechanism, which, though it was reportedly made with the same "Grilamid" polymer, didn't hold up so well over time. It also wasn't, unlike USB-C, reversible and therefore the same shape throughout, which helps with longevity. (As an aside, the company that produced Grilamid, Swiss-based EMS-GRIVORY, calls the heat- and electricity-resistant compound "a noble polymer," which is immediately one of my favorite phrases of all time.)
The Kenu Stance has quickly become one of my favorite tools to carry around.
At 1.2 ounces and barely an inch wide, the Stance is both a great party trick and a pretty handy tool. The bottle opener is a bonus, and is certainly an extra incentive to spend the $24.95 asking price. Kenu also makes a Lightning version for iPhones, and still sells the less-commendable Micro-USB model, but for my money the USB-C version is the best option, if your phone supports it.
The Kenu Stance has quickly become one of my favorite tools to carry around, and is definitely going to be high on my gift list this year.