A name like "Lethal Pro" invariably creates a certain set of expectations. Namely, that the product in question is suitable for professional use, and that it least looks like it's potentially lethal. As you can see, this particular all-purpose tablet / smartphone / camera accessory certainly succeeds on the latter count. But can it do more than just double as a prop in a remake of Runaway? Read on for our full review.
Lethal Pro v2See all photos
A slight refinement on the original Lethal Pro, the Lethal Pro v2 is a lightweight rig made of carbon fiber and "high tech alloys," and is intended to serve as both a stand / mount for you smartphone or tablet, and as a camera accessory that's part GorillaPod and part something completely different. For practical purposes, the latter use is unquestionably more interesting than the former.
As a smartphone or tablet stand, the Lethal Pro v2 certainly works, but it's obviously a bit of overkill. One of the more unique examples the company gives is to use it for attaching a tablet to a car's headrest so those in the backseat can watch a movie -- again, it'll get the job done, but so will a simple $20 headrest mount (which you can also conveniently leave in your car, as opposed to this $129 all-purpose rig). Similarly, we can't think of many instances when we'd want to attach our phone to a tree branch, or use a rig like this to prop it up on a desk.
Thankfully, the rig is a bit more practical as a camera accessory. The screw used to attach the brackets that hold a phone or tablet in place also just so happens to fit a standard tripod mount, which will let you either prop up your camera a bit to get a better shot or attach it to something (like that aforementioned tree branch). In that respect, it could really come in handy in a range of different situations -- shooting time-lapse photography, for instance, or perching it in a tree for some wildlife shots while you hide with a remote. It's also way lighter than it looks (less than eight ounces), and it can be completely folded up and stored in any reasonably-sized camera or laptop bag.
That flexibility does also bring with it a few problems, though. The rig can be a bit finicky and unwieldy to adjust between its various configurations and, depending on how perilous the situation is, you'll also want to take your time to make sure it's really secured in place before you leave it unattended. You can adjust the tension on each leg, for instance, and its design also allows its feet to be tied together to be really safe (which we'd recommend if you're attempting a death-defying feat with your camera). Additional rubber covers for the legs (or "flak jackets" as the company calls them) can also be purchased separately for yet more protection.
The problem with a product like this is that it's really tempting to just prop it up to get a quick shot, and it will only take one nasty fall to make you regret trusting it with your DSLR. That's somewhat less of a problem if you're only using it with a lightweight compact camera -- It held ours upside down in a tree on its own without any trouble -- but we'd still recommend taking extra care.
As you can probably tell by now, this isn't exactly a product for everyone -- but it will undoubtedly appeal to some folks. Both those that just like to do things a bit differently, and those that want to have an extra rig available for certain situations where a GorillaPod or tripod won't get the job done -- we're sure you can imagine some instances we haven't even though of. For those individuals, the added tablet / smartphone flexibility is simply a bit of a bonus. Just know what you're getting into, as this particular way of doing things differently will cost you a hefty $129.
P.S. Contrary to appearances, the feet don't work very well as bottle openers (yes, we tried). Something to consider for the Lethal Pro v3, perhaps.