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Another pass at the FlyGrip: Yes, it's better

Sometimes a product is worth a second chance. And that's exactly what one CNET editor found when he gave a unique cell phone accessory another go.

With the FlyGrip attached you can do this. Here it is without the included case. Josh Miller/CNET

Two weeks ago I told you about the FlyGrip, a unique smartphone accessory that's designed to let you navigate your handset with one hand.

Shaped like a plastic H, it attaches to the back of your phone and gives you a place to rest your index and middle fingers. You then can text like mad on a crowded train and not have to worry about someone bumping your device out of your grasp.

Indeed, I saw how it could be useful for some people, but I wasn't into it. I didn't like how the FlyGrip caught on my clothing when I removed it from my pocket and I loathed the idea of sticking something to the back of my pretty phone with adhesive.

FlyGrip contacted me immediately to rebut some of my concerns. The rep suggested that I had a defective product and she asked if she could send another sample. I wanted to be fair and, as it turns out, she was right on at least one count. The original product I had wasn't performing as designed, which I'm happy to admit. I still don't see myself using the product long-term, and I'd still make some design tweaks, but it's better than I originally thought.

I was wrong about this at first, but the FlyGrip will lock into place when you fold it down. Here it is attached to the included case. Josh Miller/CNET

A springy situation
Previously, I complained that even though the FlyGrip folds down, its internal spring made it pop back into its natural H shape when I released my grip. Try as I might, there was no way to collapse it down and get it to stay there. That meant a three-quarter-inch plastic flap that jutted out from the back of my phone at all times. It felt fragile and, yes, it got in the way.

As it turns out, though, there was something wrong with my original review unit. When I received the replacement FlyGrip, it easily snapped into a locked position when I pressed it down. There's still a quarter-inch bump on the back of my phone, but it's far less cumbersome than what I had before. So, yes, that part is better.

Well, in that case
I'd still rather not stick something to the back of my phone, but the company gets points for offering a free case with each purchase. I used a case for the Samsung Galaxy S3, but the company also supports several other Samsung and HTC handsets (each comes in a choice of colors) and the iPhone 4/4S. My case was functional, but nothing special. It fit my Galaxy S3 snugly, so much so that when I removed the case it took the smartphone's battery cover with it. The rubber sides add a welcome measure of protection around the display, though the plastic backing felt a bit cheap. By all accounts, though, it should protect your device.

You'll have to place the FlyGrip on the case just right to use it as a stand. Josh Miller/CNET

Just take care where you attach the FlyGrip to the case. If you set it too close to the bottom, your phone will be top-heavy and you won't be able to use the FlyGrip as a stand. Alternatively, if your FlyGrip and case come already attached (mine did, but you can opt to do it yourself when ordering), you may have to move it. In my experience, that wasn't terribly easy. Not only did the adhesive peel off in bits, but I had to be careful not to bend the plastic out of shape.

Fine, but just not for me
In the end, the FlyGrip has more going for it than I first thought. You can lock it down and the case means that you don't have to stick the grip part to the back of your shiny smartphone. So, yes, I do see why other people might like it, even if I still wouldn't pay $29.95 for the privilege. Like I said before, I've gone this far without it and I can keep on going just fine.