The MagSafe Continuity Camera mount from Belkin is an easy webcam upgrade

Belkin’s iPhone Mount with MagSafe for Mac Notebooks has a bad name but is a very good accessory. It lets you mount your iPhone on your laptop so you can take advantage of macOS Ventura and iOS 16’s continuous camera feature, which turns your phone into a webcam that crushes anything built into MacBooks these days. And if that’s all it did, I’d still be happy with it – but it’s its design and features that make it really worth considering, even though it already exists. Flood of other accessories You are supposed to do the same job.

Using the stand to turn your phone into a webcam is easy: You can magnetically mount it, flip a small foot with the Belkin logo on it, and place it on top of your computer. Then, just select iPhone as the camera in whatever video chat app you are using. It’s a very simple mechanism that works well, and because the stand is circular, you can attach your phone in either portrait or landscape mode.

In reality, Portrait mode isn’t great with the current version of Continuity Camera, but I’ll leave those impressions for a more in-depth look at the software.
Photo by Mitchell Clark/The Verge

However, its versatile shape means that there is no additional stability magnet on the bottom like some other MagSafe accessories. It probably won’t cause a strength problem; The iPhone 12 Mini never slipped off the Belkin stand or anything, even when I tested it without the cover, and none of my colleagues who used the stand with larger phones noticed any problems. But that does mean you may have to spend a second twisting the mount a bit to make sure your video doesn’t end up a little crooked.

Where the mount really shines is its build quality and extra kickstand/grip loop (unfortunately, the kickstand can’t be used if you want to prop your phone’s camera on a table instead of your computer; it’s just not in the right place). Everything looks very smooth and solid, like rocks that have been polished by moving water. It is also covered with a kind of cohesive rubber, which feels great and is not very annoying. When I use it with my phone turned on, the low profile dome fits perfectly in my palm, and I barely notice it’s there. If you really want a continuity camera to come in handy, you should make sure you always have a stand with you. The Belkin is cute enough that I want to keep it on my phone, which means I won’t forget it when I leave the house.

1/2

The kickstand is useful for watching videos, but not capturing them. It folds neatly into the holder when not in use.
Photo by Mitchell Clark/The Verge

However, I don’t think this mount and continuity camera will revolutionize my regular calls over FaceTimes or Discord with friends and family for one simple reason: When the laptop is already on my lap, placing the phone on the top cover makes it very tippy, even with my little phone. When I was using it with my legs crossed my laptop would easily fall off and my phone would go across the room if I didn’t hold it. Even if I rested my arm on the palm rest, it would only take the slightest bump of the phone’s weight to pull my 13-inch MacBook Pro screen to its fullest open position, which usually results in a very unpleasant angle (and perhaps an uncomfortable amount of force on my screen). ?).

Gif of iPhone clipping onto a laptop with Belkin accessory, laptop falling off.

Be careful when using this accessory with your laptop on your lap.
Photo courtesy of Mitchell Clark/The Verge

To be clear, this probably won’t be an issue on the desk unless you’re using a 12-inch MacBook mini. One of my co-workers said that his MacBook Air was quite stable when sitting at a table with his iPhone 13 attached to it, the same is true of another coworker who used the stand with the Pro Max and 16-inch MacBook Pro. But that does mean I’ll probably only use this accessory for more formal video calls where I’ll be at a desk or table instead of the more frequent calls I make from the couch. This is not Belkin’s fault. It’s just physics, and really, I don’t think my mom or sister would ever consider seeing me in 720p (or, at least, I haven’t had any complaints in the past few years).

A GIF of the MacBook Pro screen leans back under the weight of the iPhone it's attached to.

No, it’s not my strength that drives the laptop down. But hey, he points to the Belkin mount to keep the iPhone connected through the bump.
Photo courtesy of Mitchell Clark/The Verge

Even with that limitation, I still feel the Belkin mount is worth its $29.95 price tag for anyone who cares about how it looks on video, has an iPhone, and plans to upgrade to macOS Ventura when it comes out Monday (and who doesn’t) I don’t want to bother setting up a camera customized / tripod / light).

However, if you mostly work from a desk with a screen, it may be worth waiting for the desktop version, which Belkin says will let you tilt your phone to reframe the shot. This version is “soon”, according to Belkin press release, although it doesn’t say if it will have some kind of power connection that’s more elegant than just plugging in your phone with a Lightning cable. This kind of feature wouldn’t make much sense in the mobile version, but it would probably be a great addition for those who attend meetings all day.

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