For me, Apple’s MagSafe attachment system on the iPhone 12 is the biggest phone innovation of 2020. And that’s a hard thing to say as an Android fan. Peak Design is working on a universal mount system, but FlexClip has them beat to the market, with a universal use-it-on-anything bracket that’s designed for phones, mounts, and accessories.
The FlexClip comes in two parts: a mount and a receiver. Stick the mount on your phone, stick a receiver on anything with a flat edge, and you can attach them via the plastic rails. More importantly, you can remove and reattach them as often as you care to, and the adhesive on the clip itself can be removed without damaging your phone or (most) cases.
It’s plastic, so it’s inexpensive, and it doesn’t interfere with NFC or wireless charging (so long as you don’t use a thick case). And while it’s far less elegant than MagSafe, it doesn’t require a new $700 phone to use.
Setting Things Up
Installing the FlexClip is fairly easy, though you’ll have to be careful to make sure it’s centered for use with whatever you’re sticking it to. (With the small battery attached to the centered FlexClip on my Pixel 3a XL, it covers the fingerprint sensor—my own fault for not measuring.) The receiver is just as easy to install and can be placed on anything with a flat surface of about a square inch. You can remove them with strong fingers or a small screwdriver, but the adhesive isn’t replaceable. You’ll need a new mount or receiver if you take one off.
To test out the system, FlexClip sent me a selection of accessories: a small mobile battery (which was designed to stick on the back of a phone anyway), a set of AirPods knock-offs, a finger ring-kickstand-thing, and a small wallet. With the mount installed, all of them are easy to attach to my phone, though some make for a more natural fit than others. It takes only a firm push to get it in place, and the slightly rounded corners on the plastic subtly help guide the rails in correctly.
Once connected, the two parts aren’t coming apart accidentally. Trying to pull them away from each other, I found that the ultra-sticky adhesive was coming off of the plastic instead. It would certainly be possible to get them apart that way, but it would take an impact so hard that you might damage your phone, too.
A Hard Yank
The FlexClip mount and receiver adds about a quarter-inch to the combined thickness of your two items. Sliding the system apart for detachment is a lot harder than putting it together in the first place: I’d say it needs about 5-10 pounds of pressure. I was worried that repeated stress on the plastic would crack it, but in dozens of testing sessions, I haven’t seen that happen yet. (And even if it does … these things are cheap enough to be semi-disposable, a la the Pop Socket.)
Note that the pressure it takes to get them apart might be difficult for small children or those who struggle with arthritis. The circular tongs of the mount seem to grip pretty hard to the plate, and you’ll need to practice a few times in order to dial in on the optimum amount of pressure to apply.
Swapping pieces in and out was easy once I knew approximately where the point of release was. And again, despite the fact that I felt like the plastic was fragile, it never actually cracked or gave while I was testing it. I never had the confidence to use the FlexClip system with my actual wallet (or rather, its usual contents), but I’d be more than comfortable trusting it to hold a spare battery or Pop Socket.
Bring Your Own Stuff
The bigger issue I can see with FlexClip as a low-price alternative to MagSafe is that it’s relying on the existing market of device accessories, rather than offering its own. If you want to use FlexClip with mounts on your desk or in your car, you’ll need to apply it to a mount that you already have: There’s no FlexClip AC vent mount or dashboard adapter. Inexpensive as the clips are, that’s less than ideal, and the force required to remove the clips won’t make it anywhere near as smooth as the magnetic attachment that’s already available on many third-party mounts, or the simple slide-in attachments that Pop Socket markets.
I’m still hoping that Android device and accessory makers come up with a way to make phones compatible with MagSafe, and accessories designed for specific phones and uses like ZeroLemon’s battery-boosting cases are a more elegant solution to most of the problems that FlexClip solves. But if you want a tiny, inexpensive, and mostly unobtrusive way to stick stuff to your phone (or to stick your phone to stuff), it works. FlexClip does what it says on the box.
FlexClip is available for preorder on its website for $15 (with a 20% off promotion at the time of writing). Representatives told me that it will be sold on Amazon and Walmart starting in January, with a wider rollout to follow.
Here’s What We Like
- Easy to install
- Compatible with almost anything
And What We Don't
- Hard to pull apart
- No pre-made mounting options
- Semi-disposable adhesive