Review of the Pop Scope – a reach extender for smartphones
The Pop Scope is a portable tripod for the smartphones. Compact and versatile, it is made to fit any one of the latest smartphones weighing 220 grams or less, with or without a case. It provides stability on various surfaces. With the addition of a downloadable app that supports a self-timer option and/or a Bluetooth remote control for automatic shutter press, the Pop Scope allows you to take self-shots with ease.
Design and features
The Pop Scope design is simple. When in fully compact mode, it has a tubular shape with a small swivel head on top to hold your phone. It is lightweight (170 grams). It has three stainless steel legs that spread out or fold in with a slight pull or push. The Pop Scope makes a click sound when each retractable leg is spread out or folded in, and you can extend each leg by about 3.5 inches. The legs have rubber caps at the bottom to provide a good grip to the surface.
In between the legs is tubular aluminum that holds and hides the retractable stainless steel arm. On top of the arm is the swivel head that holds your phone. The swivel head is basically a clamp with a large thumbscrew for attaching and detaching your phone. It has rubber padding on the inside to give your phone full protection. When the arm is collapsed down, it becomes only 6.5 inches long; when fully extended, it reaches 21.5 inches from the bottom to the clamp base. The swivel head bends up to 90 degrees, allowing you to adjust the angle of your shot. It may also allow you to take scanner-quality images of documents.
Putting it to use
We tried the Pop Scope tripod with the Samsung Galaxy S5, iPhone 6, iPhone 5, HTC One M8, HTC Inspire 3G, and Nokia Lumia 1520. In each case, except for the HTC Inspire 3G, the Pop Scope proved to be a versatile and effective tripod for smartphones. It allowed us to enjoy great freedom when taking shots and shooting videos. The Nokia Lumia 1520 weighs about 220 grams, but the Pop Scope handled the weight without any problem, even though the manufacturer's recommended weight limit is 172 grams.
The Pop Scope allowed us to take excellent selfies and group shots at awkward angles and in challenging locations. It was effective when taking group shots of standing subjects. We put the Pop Scope on a table or some other furniture item in order to get a perfect shot. Another option was to hold the tripod in hand and face the camera toward us in order to level the camera lens to our height.
It was rather difficult for us to make the Pop Scope work with the HTC Inspire 3G. The HTC Inspire 3G is a relatively older model phone with four physical buttons on its bottom. The soft buttons are close to its bottom edge, which made it more difficult for us to use the tripod. As we put the phone inside the swivel head and tightened the clamp, it caused automatic button presses, due to contact of the clamp padding with the soft buttons located at the bottom of the phone. If you happen to have an Android phone of similar design, the Pop Scope may not be the most compatible tripod phone holder on the market. For other phones without physical buttons, when the Pop Scope's rubber pads are placed on the device's touch screen, it does not cause the screen to respond.
The Pop Scope tripod can be a great smartphone companion for taking selfies and group shots or for taking pictures of documents. It is portable and compact, and it works well with most smartphones that weigh up to 220 grams. You can use this tripod regardless of whether your phone has a case or not. The Pop Scope is compatible with a wide range of smartphones. Its solid aluminum construction is quite durable. The HomeGear Lab gives it our highest rating: 4 Lights On: Excellent and Highly Recommended.