Clever Grip by Bell & Howell is a universal phone mount for your car that they claim grips it tight and fits in your air vent at eye level. They promise it fits any phone size and swivels 360 degrees; they add you can use it as a phone stand when you’re not in the car. But is this product really as clever as the name implies? Let’s examine closer.

The Clever Grip Pitch

Clever Grip is targeted at smart phone users who often like to use it in the car for navigation or music. It is marketed under the name Bell & Howell, a familiar brand that goes back to 1907; however this trademarked name is merely licensed by an unknown company. They promise it will grip your phone tight and they put a brick in the Clever Grip to show you how strong it is.

How Clever Grip Works

Clever Grip is a spring-loaded gripping device that measures 2.5 x 1 x 2 inches and expands to 3.3 inches that they claim lets it accommodate iPhones, Androids, or smartphones of any model, even if it’s in a case.

Clever Grip’s spring keeps it in the “closed” mode, meaning you need to pull the arms apart to put in your phone and then it will automatically snap to your phone’s size. Then, they tell you to stick the rubber forks on the back into the vent of your car. They promise your phone is now securely mounted so you can see it without looking down. If you want to use it as a smartphone stand outside your car, they instruct you to use a credit card in the rubber fork to make it sit upright.

Clever Grip Will Cost You

$21.94 ($14.95 plus $6.95 S&H), which includes a portable round USB quick charger that fits in your car’s 12-volt socket, formerly known as a cigarette lighter.

Clever Grip offers a 30-day money-back guarantee minus S&H, meaning they’ll keep $6.95 even if you return it. When you purchase Clever Grip, you are also signing an arbitration agreement; this prevents you from suing them or joining any class action lawsuits should Clever Grip not work or perhaps cause you to get in an accident.

Bottom Line: Is Clever Grip a Scam?

Clever Grip appears to have generally positive online reviews from consumers who have purchased it (an average of 3.5 out of 5 stars); people that love Clever Grip say it’s lightweight, convenient, and does indeed work with their phone. However, we’d like to present to you some things you should also consider:

  • Some reviewers have said it doesn’t work well with some cars because either the vent is in an awkward position or the vents are too loose and the phone tilts down. You might want to look at your car’s vents before you purchase.
  • Because it’s spring-loaded closed, consumers have noted you have to use both hands when putting it in or taking it out of the Clever Grip. This can make it a little less convenient when driving.
  • Some have worried that using it in the winter may heat up the phone. While the Clever Grip back covers the vent and you should be able to fully close off the heat, this could be an issue during cold months.
  • If you have a larger GPS or a “phablet” (cross between a smartphone and a tablet) you may want to measure it and make sure it’s smaller than 3.3 inches or Clever Grip won’t work with it.
  • Smartphones, even when hands-free have proven to still be distracting to drivers. According to Distraction.gov, a government website dedicated to informing people about the dangers of smartphone use in the car, even listening to a conversation hands-free while driving decreases concentration on the road. In other words, it’s safest to use your phone sparingly, if at all, while driving your car. (And never text!)
  • Clever Grip’s Privacy Policy allows them to send you mail, email, or even call you to sell you other products – hopefully you won’t be driving!
  • They can also sell or give your information to “reputable” third parties.

Did Clever Grip work for you in your car or was it a distraction? Let us know below!