A unique ecosystem of accessories for the smartphone designed with functionality in mind.
A couple of years ago, I learned about Peak Design as I ventured into the world of photography with Nick. The company started in 2010 with the mission to make carrying solutions to help creatives, commuters, and adventurers keep gear accessible, organized, and protected. Nick was immediately taken with them as he is a photographer. I really admire the company for the design standards they follow and for the modular nature of their products. I’ve always been very happy with them.
Peak Design recently announced the launch of their mobile accessory ecosystem called, “Mobile by Peak Design.” The product launched with a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign which will run through December 17. The system includes cases, mounts, and accessories and is designed around magnetic connections. “Mobile by Peak Design aims to make your phone a better tool for everything you use it for, from navigation to communication, creativity to recreation.” To me, this is a natural evolution for Peak Design and ends up really setting them into the accessory world at large and not just providing solutions for photographers.
The base of the system is called SlimLink. This mounting technology features a stack height of only 2.4mm and it’s purpose is to minimize bulk on your phone. SlimLink combines soft-locking (magnetic) and hard-locking (mechanical) mounting functionality.
To achieve the SlimLink architecture, a zirconia ceramic insert is surrounded by an array of magnets and then embedded into each Peak Design Everyday Case. “Phones are the most powerful tools in the world, and our goal was to create the most powerful accessories for them,” commented Peak Design Founder and CEO Peter Dering. “ We’ve been developing the SlimLink architecture for 4 years, and we didn’t stop until our cases and mounts looked better, felt better, and worked better than anything else out there.”
There is a wide array of instantly swappable accessories developed along with this system. Some of those accessories include mounts for cars, bicycles, motorcycles, and even home/office use. Each accessory was developed by a team of engineers over the course of 2 years. They were designed to outperform leading competitors in ease-of-use, form factor, ruggedness, and aesthetics. I had the opportunity to take a look at some of these accessories in a pre-production media sample kit that was provided by Peak Design. Being that the kit is considered ‘pre-production’ some of the elements that I found during my evaluation may not be exactly what a consumer gets when they purchase it.
The starting point for the mobile accessory ecosystem is the Everyday Case. It’s a durable polycarbonate phone case wrapped in Peak Design’s custom high-performance nylon canvas fabric. The case supports wireless charging and strikes an ideal balance between ruggedness, protection, and refined aesthetics. This is currently available for iPhone models (including the iPhone 12) and Samsung phones. Peak Design intends to make additional phone model cases available in the future.
- Slim 2.4mm profile
- Full-surround drop protection
- Weatherproof nylon canvas (Bluesign certified)
- Wireless charging compatible
- Apple MagSafe compatible
- Available with or without a loop
One of the first things I noticed about the case was how nice it feels. I really like the texture of the canvas and the silicone border all the way around the case really makes it feel secure while you hold it. The cutouts for the camera, mute switch, Lightning port, and speakers fit the phone nicely and the buttons are easy to make contact with through the case. I especially like that there is a piece of canvas that covers the space where the SlimLink connects to the case. It means that there is a barrier between the connector and the back of the phone. If that canvas wasn’t there, I would feel as though the phone were exposed. The case does a good job of connecting with the other accessories. I’ve not had any problems with it staying mounted to something or being removed from an individual accessory.
A slim, adhesive backed Universal Adapter is also available that works with nearly any phone or hard, non-textured case.
- Adhesive-backed adapter for any phone or case (compatible with any phone or case with a smooth flat surface – not for use with silicone or leather cases)
- Slim 2.5mm profile
- Weatherproof nylon canvas
- Super-strong 3M VHB adhesive
The Universal Adapter I received is little different than what is pictured on the Kickstarter page. The one I have is squared and the other is rectangular. I rather prefer the more minimalist version. I also like that this is an option rather than the case because I like to switch my cases up every once in a while. For example, right now I have a heavily textured case on my phone, but I also like one that has a smooth backing. One of the things I don’t typically like about systems like this is that the Universal Adapter option is usually quite bulky. With that, it makes it hard to carry around your phone because it has this huge accessory permanently attached to it. This Universal Adapter is slim, allows the phone to lay flat, and doesn’t interfere with daily operation of the phone. Honestly, it’s virtually unnoticeable if you have it on your phone. The adapter comes with a ‘guide’ to help you align the adapter on the back of your phone. I found this a little hard to use, but I’m glad to see it is included.
This is quite possibly my favorite accessory in the entire kit. One of the biggest pain points I have with car mounts is that they are too obtrusive. They get in the way when they aren’t in use and I just hate dealing with them. When I pulled out the adapter from its box and saw how small and simple it was, the mount was honestly the selling point for the entire kit. It had an incredibly small profile and it makes it very easy to keep your phone handy when it’s needed in the car, but also safe and out of the way when you don’t need it. I was shocked exactly how strong the magnet was and how secure the phone felt on the mount. I’ve never had a car mount of this nature feel that sturdy. It will be nice to see how well it holds up over time and with weather changes.
- Made from anodized aluminum
- Installs using 3M VHB adhesive for an ultra-strong, ultra-durable seal
- Apple MagSafe compatible
- Charging version available
- Articulating ball head
Bike Mount Pro
On the Kickstarter page this is referred to as the “Out-front Bike Mount”. It is optimized for performance bicycles and features weatherproof anodized aluminum. It has a rigid installation and hard-locking mechanism. There is a GoPro mount included with this mount to be used with an action camera or a bike light. The installation was very easy. The mount comes with a hex wrench that helps you to loosen the screw that holds the circular mount on the bar of your bike. The mount comes with two rubber washers. You need to select the size that fits your handlebar best. You want to pick the one that has a tight fit. Once you have that select you can wrap the mount around the washer. When I loosened the mount arm the first time, I was worried that the screw was going fall out. Peak Design did a really cool thing where the screw has a washer attached to it permanently so that it can’t fall through the screw hole. I really appreciate this design choice and think this is a very smart product all the way around. Again, it seems that the mount is incredibly secure and well-designed.
This handy accessory gives you the freedom to carry a tripod with you wherever you go. For iPhoneographers such as myself, this can be a huge benefit. The tripod folds completely flat and works with the same SlimLink connector. Because it folds so flat, you could potentially keep it attached to your phone and just flip it against the back of the phone so that it’s with you when you need it. This tiny tripod could be perfect for video calls or completing video projects while working remotely.
- Fully articulating ball head
- Integrated tuning key
- Apple MagSafe compatible
- Can be used in portrait or landscape view
- Works as a kickstand for the phone
The Wall Mount is an interesting accessory that is included in this batch. It’s designed to be able to attached to any flat magnetic surface or with the 3M VHB. I received a 2-pack in charcoal (also available in bone). This accessory can be very useful in areas where you don’t have a lot of desk or counter space. The magnets are very strong and the phone does not fall off of it. The mount is minimal and elegant and it gives users an option to use the phone in places where they may not have been able to in the past.
I’ve been very impressed with this kit and am eager to see what else Peak Design brings out in the mobile series. I’d love to see them develop something for the iPad as well. At this time, the Kickstarter is still live and allows consumers to take advantage of a 20% presale discount. After the Kickstarter has concluded, the mobile system will be available for purchase online at peakdesign.com and through major retailers beginning in Spring 2021.