Sometimes you just need to get a grip on your phone.
We can white-knuckle grip our phones all day while we carry them around, but let’s face it: phones get slippery. Hands get sweaty. Sometimes we just need something a little easier to hold on to. There are a number of solutions on the market to help us get a grip, but the two that seem to have risen to the top are PopSockets and the Spigen Style Ring.
They’re two answers to the same problem, but there can only be one on the back of your phone. So which one should you slap on yours?
Accordions vs. hinges
Both PopSockets and Spigen Style Rings use 3M-style adhesives to stick their base onto the back of your phone (or phone case), and while the adhesive doesn’t quite last forever, it sticks remarkably well to the back of the phone and if you need to reposition it once or twice, it can be moved without losing its strong grip.
Where the two products diverge is the shape and mechanism of your grip. The Spigen Style Ring employs a sturdy metal ring that rotates 180-degrees vertically on a metal swivel hinge that rotates a full 360 degrees, giving you a full range of angles to either grip the phone or use the metal ring as a kickstand. Meanwhile, PopSockets use an all-plastic assembly of “poppable” and collapsible levels to let you have the PopSocket at one of three levels: flat, halfway (one level popped open) and full (both levels popped open).
Because the PopSocket features a flat back, your phone can still sit flat-ish on a desk or tabletop when you don’t have it popped out for a kickstand, whereas the Spigen Style ring wobbles a bit as the back of the Style Ring is a tiny bit uneven. A word of warning: the back of the PopSocket is quite slippery, meaning that your PopSocketed phone will slide around on tabletops and counters.
When it comes to gripping your phone, both PopSockets and the Spigen Style Ring indeed make gripping your phone much easier. You’ll use two fingers to grip the sides of your PopSocket, or you’ll use one finger slipped through the ring of the Spigen Style Ring to grip the ring and back of the phone.
The Spigen Style Ring takes a little getting used to, but the grips you can get with the Ring are more diverse. If you have thin fingers, the PopSocket’s halfway open mode can provide excellent grip, and the fully open mode keeps things grippy while giving you a little leeway. The PopSocket also acts as a kind of phone-mounted fidget toy, allowing you to pop it in and out and wiggle it around between levels when you need distracting.
The Spigen Style Ring has a small functional advantage here because you can slip the ring on backward and wear your phone like a giant ring, freeing up your hand to carry something else like coffee. If your wardrobe is often lacking in phone-sized pockets, this can be a lifesaver.
Kickstands and mounts
Both phone grips double as kickstands, but unlike our other categories, there is a clear winner here. The Spigen Style Ring’s adjustable hinges allow you to set your kickstand at a variety of heights, both horizontally and vertically. The kickstand ability on PopSockets is pretty basic: if your PopSocket is fully extended, it’ll hold your phone up horizontally. That’s it. One PopSocket or two, they won’t prop your phone up vertically.
If you want to use the separate, wall-mountable and car-mountable stands, be prepared to shell out. PopSockets sell their mounts separately, and they cost $10, same price as PopSockets themselves. The Spigen Style Ring includes a car mount with purchase, but if you need more than one, you’ll have to buy another Style ring, too; they aren’t sold separately right now. There are some third-party mounts made for Style Ring imitators, but none of them fit quite as well as the real deal.
On a brighter note, if you put your PopSocket or Style Ring high enough on your phone, you can skip the specialty mounts and use a magnetic air vent car mount, which is all but required here in the hellish heat of a Texas summer.
Which should you buy?
PopSockets are a more stylish-looking accessory, being easily customizable and adding a … well … pop of color and flair to your device, but they’re not quite as versatile and functional as the Spigen Style Ring. If you want to have a vertical kickstand from your phone grip, or you want a grip that will actually free up your hands, The Spigen Style Ring is for you. If you just need a little grip, and a little flash, Popsockets are more your speed. The Spigen Style Ring does list higher at $20, but you can easily find it on Amazon for $14.
As stylish as PopSockets may be, this themer will stick to the Spigen Style Ring, especially for gaming and late-night web surfing.