PopSockets Has Gone Too Far

It’s...like an unsightly backpack for my phone. (Gif: Andrew Liszewski, Gizmodo)

After years of calling PopSockets ugly eyesores, I get the appeal now. Earlier this year I upgraded to an iPhone XS Max and my Big Phone was a smidge too large for my hands. I grumbled, but it was surprisingly useful. Then when I lost my wallet on a business trip, I even upgraded to a PopWallet+. Readers, it changed my life and I am a convert. A true fan. But even I have my limits. Today, the company has taken it a step too far with its latest product, a PopGrip AirPod Holder.

Look at this thing. It’s an AirPod case that screws into your PopGrip. On top of being hideous, it has exactly zero reasons to exist. For starters, AirPod cases are small enough to fit into your pocket. There is no inherent need to stick one on the back of your phone. But, you ask, what if you’re a woman, have no pockets because women’s fashion is the pits, and want to run a quick errand without carrying a purse or wallet? Good question, but the obvious answer is just wear your damn AirPods then.

Along the same vein, I can’t really think of a single scenario in which this particular accessory would be useful. The pitch email in my inbox reads “Never leave home without your phone? Now you don’t have to leave your AirPods behind, either.” Buh, what? I don’t think that’s a binary choice? “Whether you’re commuting, travelling, heading to the gym or just running errands, this all-in-one holder and PopGrip makes life a little simpler,” it promises.

Image: PopSockets

But does it really. If you’re running, the AirPods are probably in your ears and...you don’t need the case on your person. Same for the gym. If you’re commuting or travelling, chances are you have at least one bag or pocket you can stick the case in. So why...would you need this thing attached to your phone?

I get not wanting to forget your wireless earbuds case. I’ve done it before—it sucks. But this is also not how you do that. My PopWallet+ adds a little bulk to my phone, sure, but even with it on I can still easily stick my phone in my back pocket. That’s probably impossible with this monstrosity, as the AirPod Holder is like an unwieldy backpack for your phone. It’s bad enough when my PopWallet+ gets caught on something and I have to go chasing after the swappable grip when it pops off. I don’t really want to imagine having to chase after an AirPods case, something which has infinitely more value.

I spent a few minutes googling “AirPod accessories” and there are plenty of alternatives that make more sense. Case covers with carabiners or key rings that can attach to belt loops and bags. This KickStarted phone case that has a built-in charging system for AirPods.

This dorky wristband case holder. Covers that double as a necklace. And with the exception of the phone case, they can all be found on Amazon for under $20—the price of one of these PopSocket follies.

I get it. These probably exist because some executive in a suit at PopSockets looked at their product lineup and went, “Hrm, Bob. Tell me, what do we have in the works for an AirPod accessory?” And everyone just sighed and went, “OK, Mr. CEO Man.” But really, browsing PopSockets’ online store only led me to discover more questionable products. Like this PopSocket can holder. Truly, PopSockets has gone too far.

Image: PopSockets

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