If you like the idea of adding a stand and convenient handle to your phone but you’re not sold on the practically ubiquitous PopSocket or the bulkier ring stands like the iRing, the slim Speck GrabTab may be for you.
The popularity of these products speaks to a simple need: people want a better way to securely hold their phone and to prop it up to watch video.
What It Is
Speck’s GrabTab is one of the newer entries to the market and takes a different approach than the PopSocket and similar products. Rather than sport a pop-out mushroom-like handle or a flip up ring, it’s an ultra-slim adhesive pad that has a slide up tab you slip your finger through.
In addition to a little locking tab to keep it closed (the small rectangular cutout seen at the bottom of the GrabTab base in the photos above) there’s also another locking tab that keeps the GrabTab locked in the stand position if you push the loop all the way open.
Real World Use
The biggest question most people will have is simply “Is it better than a PopSocket?”—but the thing that sold us on the GrabTab wasn’t that it was better but that it was different.
If what you want out of a phone holder is a pop-up grip that is completely omnidirectional and you’re not concerned about wireless charging or that the pop-up holder isn’t the most stable stand in the world, the PopSocket is pretty great—especially if you don’t keep your phone in your pocket where the PopSocket prints oddly and makes it a hassle to pull the phone out.
And, to be sure, if the most important thing of all is that you can customize the crap out of your phone grip right up to putting your own face on it… well then the PopSocket is what you’re looking for.
On the other hand, if you want a pop-up holder that keeps your phone firmly where you’re holding it with no sense that the phone is going to wiggle free or rotate out of your hand, sports a more stable stand, and doesn’t bulk up your pockets, the GrabTab is pretty appealing.
When I first used the GrabTab at CES 2019, I immediately liked it. My wife and daughter are long time PopSocket users, but I’ve always found that I disliked the feel of the PopSocket in my hand (despite liking the seemingly million-and-one designs you can get it in). While it did offer a firmer grip on the phone than just the case itself, I never got used to the feeling of the circular shape.
The GrabTab, on the other hand, feels like you’re wearing a very wide ring that’s securely attached to your hand (which, in fact, you are). Not that I’m in the habit of flailing my arm around with my phone in my hand, but if I were it would be very tough to dislodge the phone with my finger stuck through the GrabTab. Speaking of that firm attachment: you don’t have to worry about the thing peeling off (it will remove cleanly if you want to remove it, but it’s a slow process with a firm hand). The only negative here is that by the nature of the design, you can’t rotate the phone into any other position like you can with a PopSocket or a pivoting iRing type design with rotating your hand (as no other grip position is really practical).
When’re not using it as a grip point, the GrabTab works a bit better as a stand too. The finger loop is rounded, yes, but the part that actually touched the table has more surface area than the rim of the PopSocket and it flexes slightly. Comparing two identically sized phones in landscape orientation on the table, the GrabTab is significantly more stable.
Then there’s the pocket factor. As much time as many of us spend on our phones (and I certainly spend far too much), our phones spend way more time in our pockets, bags, and purses than they do in our hands. Given how many times my phone goes in and out of my pocket in a day, a grip device that constantly catches on the seam of the pocket and makes it difficult to pull out is a no go. Thankfully the GrabTab folds flat (it’s only about 3mm thick) and it’s hardly noticeable in your pocket unless you’re pressing your fingers over the case looking for it.
That same thin profile almost makes it compatible with wireless phone charging. While it’s possible that it’ll make your case profile too thick to charge wirelessly, we found that even when it was paired with a sturdy case we still managed to get the charging to work (albeit with slightly more fussy placement on the charging pad than usual).
One of the only minor complaints we have about the GrabTab is that the tab doesn’t always return to a perfectly flat position. If you keep your phone in your pocket we found this to be a total non-issue as the pressure of being in the pocket combined with (we assume) body heat, seemed to reset the tab. If you toss your phone in a purse or bag though, it might not have the same “reset” effect. Either way the tab being slightly out of alignment with the base wasn’t a deal breaker for us.
For anyone who doesn’t want a PopSocket and wants to avoid putting a big ring or other protrusion on their phone, the GrabTab is a pretty slick solution—and at just a smidge under $10, a pretty cheap product to take for a spin.