this thing's incredible

The Best Phone Stand Is a Bendy Piece of Foam

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photo: Retailer

I had always felt a vague desire to own a phone stand, but it took me a long time to commit. Most of them are finicky and plasticky or else a bit too “home office” for my aesthetic taste. And almost all are too bulky to pack on trips, which is what first drew me to the Flight Flap.

A small sheet of aluminum encased in foam, this cardboard-thin $11 rectangle weighs almost nothing, can be slipped easily into any bag, and contorts into a customizable phone or tablet holder that’s perfect for watching TV shows, taking video calls, or applying makeup using your selfie camera. Designed for budget flights without fancy seat-back TV screens, it can prop up your phone on the tray table or even hang from the magazine holder on the seat in front of you, thus making life easier for your fellow passengers when they need to get out and use the bathroom.

I am a big believer in using small screens on planes rather than bothering with a power-guzzling, seatmate-irritating laptop. (Ask me about the clickety-clacky Bluetooth keyboard that lets me type up travel-journal entries on my Notes app.) Even if you are flying on an airline kind enough to provide in-flight entertainment for its passengers, the breadth of options can definitely vary (season three of Young Sheldon is no way to begin a vacation) and headphone compatibility tends to be an issue (although my fellow Strategist writer Emma Wartzman does have an easy fix). Phone or tablet viewing is the answer, and a portable stand makes the experience much more pleasant.

While it is perfect for travel, I’ll also use the Flight Flap at home. It’s ideal for reading recipes in the kitchen or placing next to a laptop during workdays for an eye-level extra screen. I’ve even put it next to my yoga mat for lazy bedroom YouTube workouts. Once I’m done, the foam flattens into a discreet rectangle for easy storage. You won’t catch me with a dining room table that looks like a WeWork.

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The Best Phone Stand Is a Bendy Piece of Foam