The Belkin MagSafe Continuity Camera Mount is an easy webcam upgrade

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The Belkin iPhone Mount with MagSafe for Mac Laptops gets a bad rap, but it’s a pretty cool accessory. It lets you connect your iPhone to your laptop so you can use the Continuity Camera feature of macOS Ventura and iOS 16, which turns your phone into a webcam that absolutely crushes anything that’s built into MacBooks these days. And if that was all it did, I’d still be happy with it, but its design and features are what really make it worth considering, even though there’s already an avalanche of other accessories meant to do the same job.

Using the mount to turn your phone into a webcam is easy: You snap it on magnetically, twist a little stand with the Belkin logo on it, and place it on top of your computer. Then simply choose your iPhone as the camera in whatever video chat app you’re using. It’s a pretty simple mechanism that works well, and because the mount is circular, you can attach your phone in portrait or landscape mode.

a: hover]: black-text [&>a]:shadow-underline-grey-63 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black-gray-text-63″>Photo by Mitchell Clark / The Verge

However, its versatile shape means there isn’t that extra stabilizing magnet on the bottom like other MagSafe accessories have. That probably won’t cause a strength problem; my iPhone 12 Mini never slipped off the Belkin mount or anything, even when I tried it without a case, and none of my colleagues who have used the mount with larger phones noticed any issues. But it does mean that you may need to spend a second rotating the mount a bit to make sure your video doesn’t end up slightly crooked.

Where the mount really shines is in its build quality and extra kickstand/grip ring (unfortunately the kickstand can’t really be used if you want to prop your phone’s camera up on a table instead of your computer – it’s just not in the correct place ). Everything feels very smooth and solid, like rock that has been polished by moving water. It is also covered with a kind of sticky rubber, which feels very good and is very discreet. When I use it with the phone on, the low-profile dome fits perfectly in the palm of my hand and I hardly notice it’s there. If you really want the Continuity Camera to be useful, you need to make sure you always have a mount with you. The Belkin is so good that I want to keep it on my phone, which means I won’t forget it when I leave home.

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a: hover]: black-text [&>a]:shadow-underline-grey-63 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black-gray-text-63″>Photo by Mitchell Clark / The Verge

That said, I don’t think this kickstand and continuity camera is going to revolutionize my casual FaceTime or Discord calls with friends and family for one simple reason: When my laptop is on my lap, I put a phone on top of the the lid does very tippy, even with my mini phone. When I was using it cross-legged, my laptop would easily fall over, and yet my phone would launch across the room if I didn’t grab it. Even if I have my arm on the palm rest, it only takes the slightest bump for the weight of the phone to snap my 13-inch MacBook Pro’s screen back to its fully open position, which usually results in very little angle. flattering (and maybe an uncomfortable amount of force on my screen?).

Gif of the iPhone mounted on a laptop with the Belkin accessory, and the laptop falls off.

a: hover]: black-text [&>a]:shadow-underline-grey-63 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black-gray-text-63″>Gif by Mitchell Clark / The Verge

To be clear, this probably won’t be a problem on a desktop unless you’re using the tiny 12-inch MacBook. One of my co-workers said that his MacBook Air was perfectly stable when he was sitting at a table with an iPhone 13 attached, and the same thing happened with another co-worker who used the stand with a Pro Max and a MacBook of 16 inches. Pro. But it does mean I’ll probably only use this accessory for more formal video calls where I’ll be at a desk or counter rather than the much more frequent ones I’m doing from the couch. That’s not Belkin’s fault; it’s just physical, and really, I don’t think my mom or sister would mind seeing me in blurry 720p (or, at least, I haven’t had any complaints in recent years).

Gif of a MacBook Pro screen tilted backwards under the weight of the iPhone attached to it.

a: hover]: black-text [&>a]:shadow-underline-grey-63 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black-gray-text-63″>Gif by Mitchell Clark / The Verge

Even with this limitation, I still think the Belkin mount is worth its $29.95 price tag for anyone who cares how they look on video, has an iPhone, and plans to upgrade to macOS Ventura when it comes out Monday (and who doesn’t). you don’t want the hassle of setting up a dedicated camera/tripod/light).

However, if you primarily work from a desk with a monitor, it may be worth waiting for the desktop version, which Belkin says will let you tilt your phone to reframe the shot. That version is “coming soon,” according to Belkin’s press release, though he doesn’t mention whether it will feature some kind of power delivery that’s more elegant than simply plugging your phone in with a Lightning cable. That kind of feature wouldn’t make sense in the portable version, but it would probably be a nice addition for those who are in meetings all day.

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