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It isn’t the first flexible tripod on the market, but this posable, packable starfish may be the most versatile.

Looking like something you’d find creeping around a tide pool, the GekkoPod is a flexible tripod that mightily stretches the definition of “tripod” and not just because it has five legs. It can pose as as a little airline-tray-table easel for a smartphone or a small tablet, cling to your helmet during whatever it is you do that requires a helmet, or curl itself around a bigger device for extra bump protection during your travels. But the GekkoPod’s real trick is its ability to turn damned near anything into a selfie stick. You can wrap its rubberized tentacles around a tree branch or the rear-view mirror of your car or the strap of your backpack. The legs are wildly bendable and reassuringly stiff, so the pose it strikes is the pose it holds when you walk away to strike one of your own.

The package includes a metal piece with a D-ring and a standard tripod screw mount, allowing you to attach a point-and-shoot camera directly to the multi-legged gripper thingie—right in the middle or at the end of one of the legs. There’s also a special mount for a GoPro-style action camera and an expandable claw that provides stout mooring for phones of nearly any size. (We successfully saddled up Apple’s smallish iPhone SE and Google’s biggish Pixel 2.) Plus, the GekkoPod ships with a Bluetooth shutter release, which paired painlessly with our iOS and Android phones and worked exactly as a gadget with one button should.

The GekkoPod is hardly the first posable tripod; California-based Joby invented the concept back in 2006 with its admittedly excellent GorillaPod line of prehensile-legged device holders. But the GekkoPod matches or beats comparable GorillaPods on price, and the inclusion of parts like that remote shutter release (a $20 option with the Joby) sweeten the deal. And the GekkoPod holds its own as a tripod, as well, and in some situations, its five flat tentacles handily outperform the GorillaPod’s segmented legs, although the Joby’s optional magnetic feet are pretty brilliant.

The GekkoPod runs $30 for one, $45 for two, or $85 for four. It’s available here.
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