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TUAW Faceoff: MovieWedge vs. MiniRizer

MovieWedge and MiniRizer essentially do the same thing: they provide a stand for your iPhone, iPod, or other teensy portable device (BlackBerry Storm?). If you've ever sat for an hour on a plane, holding your iPhone in your hand like a dope, staring down at the screen trying to enjoy, let's say, Koyaanisqatsi, then you realize there's a market for these things. I had a hard time choosing a favorite here, but I have to say that MovieWedge wins by a nose.

MiniRizer is by longtime manufacturer Matias, and it's a miniaturized version of their iRizer -- a laptop stand. The MiniRizer is comprised of two clear plastic rectangles, designed to fit into each other to form a shelf with a backplate. This is perfect for the majority of phones or portable media players out there. But of course, it's really perfect for an iPhone or iPod touch.

The MiniRizer provides two slots for assembly, which gives you two viewing angles: 40 and 50 degrees. The two plastic pieces fit into an envelope that comes with the product. Finally, the plastic "lip" where the iPhone would sit includes a little rubber for gripping the device. As anyone who has tried to sit their iPhone up on a desk, it's the slippage that winds up being the pain (I have been known to carry a large rubber band from a bunch of broccoli in my pocket to fashion an improvised anti-slip surface).

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MovieWedge is a new manufacturer, and they are taking a different route with what is essentially a well-designed bean bag. The outer material is suede, which is great for wiping the screen of the iPhone. The viewing angle is adjustable, but not precise, since it is a bean bag. The clever part of MovieWedge is how the bag is sewn, including a stiff (but bendable) small rod, providing a lip for the iPhone to sit in. I thought the design of MovieWedge was very clever, and after using one for several weeks (including having it shoved into numerous laptop cases and pockets), it held up exceptionally well.

Both products are lightweight. Both are highly portable, although if you need something to pack flat, the MiniRizer has an edge there. Why did the MovieWedge win out? For one thing, MovieWedge costs $9.99 while MiniRizer costs $14.95. The other factor, for me, was versatility. I don't think I'd play a game of hackey-sack with the MovieWedge, but if you've ever been in a situation requiring a bean bag (and you'd be surprised how often this happens to me), you're set. For example, I used the MovieWedge to prop up iPhone in action while I tried some of the examples in Xcode. I guess if you buy two or more, you could also juggle them.

My recommendation: MovieWedge. But one note: if you buy an iRizer, you get a MiniRizer for free. Not a bad deal, really.

MovieWedge and MiniRizer essentially do the same thing: they provide a stand for your iPhone, iPod, or other teensy portable device...