You’ve finally found the perfect phone holder. But there are two big problems

Whether you are an aspiring filmmaker or just want to shoot better vlogs and selfies, you may have looked for a phone tripod. The problem is there’s a seemingly endless array of running a whole series of cheap mounts that holds your phone into high-end setups that double as a video-blogging grip and a remote control. You also have to keep in mind that phones like iPhone 13 Pro And the Galaxy S22 Plus Record better quality video with the rear cameras than with the selfie cameras, which can make it more difficult to prepare the shot. (Fortunately, there is no shortage of TikTok hack to get around this.)

But while testing a file Sony Xperia 1 IV Phone, I found the ultimate tripod setup and vlogging. The trick is that it actually consists of 2 products: $140 Sony GP-VPT2BT Wireless Bluetooth Photography Grip & Tripod And $199 Sony Vlog Monitor. And yes, that’s basically a $350 shy setup just to carry your phone around so you can film yourself. Also, the vlog screen only works with files Sony Xperia Pro-I and Xperia 1 IV phones. So it does not work with iPhone 13, Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra or Google Pixel 6 Pro. The tripod / grip / remote control only works with Sony cameras and phones.

So why would I recommend a tripod and screen that costs nearly $350 and only works with two specialized phones? Because these accessories are great. If you own or plan to buy a Sony camera or either of the two supported phones, I recommend looking into this setup. For everyone else, I’d like to see similar setups from phone makers or third parties that offer products with this level of quality and ease of use.

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Hands-on: We got to experience the Sony Xperia 1 IV and …


Sony GP-VPT2BT Wireless Bluetooth Photography Grip & Tripod

Designed for Sony cameras like the ZV-1, ZV-10E, A7C, and A7S III, the Sony GP-VPT2BT was an easy way to turn these cameras into a video vlogging setup. Helpfully, the grip also works with the upcoming Xperia Pro-I and Xperia 1 IV.

Like a mini selfie stick, Sony’s grip and tripod technology allows you to physically hold your phone away so you can get more of your face and body in the shot. Unlike a selfie stick, it does not carry the burden of harsh judgments from onlookers.

The handle also connects to your phone or camera via Bluetooth, which means you don’t need to run a cable from the tripod to your phone or camera. The handle acts as a bluetooth remote control even when you don’t have anything attached to it, which I find very attractive.

The tripod head mount is quick to put on and take off. Once installed, there is a flip button that allows you to rotate your camera or phone between or facing away from a vlog position, all while still keeping the controls accessible. There is also an adjustable tilt button to help you level the shot or find an interesting angle.

When I used the grip and tripod with my Sony Xperia 1 IV, I could easily detach the phone and keep the grip in my back pocket. However, I definitely don’t like to sit like that, so I recommend storing it in a briefcase or handbag.

Coming back to the price, there are plenty of other knobs or tripods you can find online that don’t cost $140. But Sony’s tripod handle shines through for its convenience, since everything comes in a small, powerful all-in-one package. If you buy a good quality grip, a nice bluetooth remote and a solid tripod, it’s easy to spend over $140 and have more to carry around.

Sony Xperia 1 IV mounted on a tripod

When the Vlog screen is plugged in and attached to the back of the Xperia 1 IV, the camera preview on the phone screen turns black.

James Martin / CNET

Sony Vlog Monitor allows you to use your phone’s back camera to take selfies

The grip is only part of the story. Add a Sony Vlog Monitor for your Xperia Pro-I and Xperia 1 IV, and you’ve got the perfect (albeit costly) vlog setup. The small $199 3.5-inch monitor has a sturdy metal phone holder with a cold shoe (to add a shotgun mic, for example). The included USB-C cable connects the display to the phone.

The back of the screen is magnetic and is attached to the metal body of the phone grip. It is a secure connection and has never broken within two weeks of use. Your phone can power the Vlog display, although it also has a separate USB-C input to receive power from a battery pack. If the display is connected to power, it can charge the phone as well. There is also a 3.5mm microphone jack for external microphone use.

A phone on a tripod depicting a triangle of billiard balls

The Sony Xperia Pro-I is installed on the Sony GP-VPT2BT Wireless Bluetooth Photography Handle and Tripod.

James Martin / CNET

Unsurprisingly, this setup also works great with Sony Photo Pro and Video Pro apps, which work with the screen right out of the box. All you have to do is turn on and connect the Vlog screen. Once connected, you get the same powerful controls to get the picture you want and the convenience of being able to use the rear camera to take selfies and vlogs.

In terms of price, it is difficult to compare the Vlog Monitor to other small magnetic monitors, in large part due to the lack of them. But the recent TikTok trend has people using the Apple Watch as a small back-facing screen for the iPhone, and the result is similar to using the Sony Vlog Monitor. Right now, the all-new Apple Watch Series 3 — which we no longer recommend because it hasn’t received new software updates — costs $199. So the Vlog Monitor price tag makes sense in my book.

Do I wish the magnetic grip or screen could work with other phones like iPhone? definitely. This setup will make a worthwhile investment for years to come. But if you’re getting an Xperia Pro-I or Xperia 1 IV, this grip and display combo makes these phones a more versatile way to record videos. If you also own a Sony camera, you get double the use.