Allow me to introduce the ultimate stocking stuffer: a phone grip! It's compact! It's cool! It's high-tech (and retro at the same time)! It's practical! It's fun! It's healthy! Yeah, you heard me, it's healthy! In fact, while you're grabbing one for everyone else's stocking, you should slip one in yours, too. Just say it's from Santa.
Because a phone grip is the best $10 you will ever spend on an accessory, and your hands will be thanking you for years to come.
Between years of near constant "Ctrl +" keyboard commands and pinky-propping my first smartphones, my left pinky hates me, with my left thumb second in line after straining too many times to hit top-right buttons in my apps. Phone grips like PopSockets and my personal favorite Spigen Style Ring POP offer a wider reach, a more stable grip with less pressure, and they help me avoid overextending my fingers while using my phone, something I should have done years ago.
There's a billion joke names out there for this kind of repetitive stress injury (RSI) — Nintendinitis, BlackBerry thumb, smartphone pinky — but who cares what it's called when you can't "fix" it. You can ice the affected area and use medication to help you ignore the pain when it flares up, but you're never going to completely heal the damage.
We spend hundreds of dollars on ergonomic mice, keyboards, desks, and chairs to avoid workplace RSIs. $10 for an ergonomic phone grip to avoid the pain of a lifelong RSI is a no-brainer, for you and especially for every young person you know.
Of course, as any parent or guardian knows, healthy or practical things are usually really lame presents. No one wants socks for Christmas, they want superhero capes and action figures! That's another reason that PopSockets are the ultimate stocking stuffer: they're 110% cool with thousands of designs available, including officially licensed franchise designs from:
- Harry Potter
- DC Comics
- Star Wars
- South Park
- Rick & Morty
- My Little Pony
- Hello Kitty
- NFL Teams
- NBA Teams
- MLB Teams
- NCAA Colleges
Beyond that, PopSockets has hundreds upon hundreds of cool original designs, from adorably symmetrical mandalas and retro styles to cool specialty materials like hardwood, Swarovski crystals, smooth, shiny aluminum, and more glitter than a Lisa Frank art kit. You can customize your own PopSocket using a silly photo of your dog or a favorite hiking spot if you want a truly one-of-a-kind gift, and there are also Poptivism PopSockets where half of the money goes to the charity associated with the design, like Zendaya's Poptivism for FoodCorps.
There's so many designs out there, it can be hard to pick just one to stick in a person's stocking, which is why PopSockets debuted Swappable PopGrips and PopTops this October. A new twist-lock mechanism allows users to swap out PopTops as often as they like, letting them match their PopSocket to their daily wardrobe or to special events like Christmas. Not all PopSockets are available in the new Swappable style yet — in particular there are very few licensed PopTops so far — but there are hundreds that are available, including some Swappable 3-packs that give your recipient one PopGrip base and three PopTop styles to swap between.
PopSockets can double as fidget toys, with the popping up and down of the TPU accordion being ridiculously fun to play with while waiting for the bus. They can also work as a landscape kickstand for watching movies, but if you want a phone grip with a top-notch kickstand experience, you'll need to jump over to my darling Spigen Style Ring POP.
These bold metal ring grips can be used as a kickstand in landscape or portrait modes for reading notes off your phone while you work or eat lunch, and the squared-off base of the ring gives the kickstand more stability. Need to use both hands while still holding your phone? Flip the ring around and let your phone hang from the ring while your hands wrap around a round of beers or a plate of food at the holiday potluck; I feel a tiny bit like a daredevil whenever I do it.
There's a lot of reasons to love and give phone grips this holiday season, and the best part of giving this particular phone accessory is that unless they're using some really powdery or slippery silicone case, these grips work with every phone on the market. Be it Android, iPhone, or a Windows Phone that one friend just refuses to give up, a phone grip can make their hands happier, their phones safer, and make you an awesome gift-giver!
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Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.