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ShiftCam SnapGrip Evaluation: MagSafe Enriches Cell Pictures

ShiftCam SnapGrip

Smartphone pictures is taking dramatic leaps ahead with each product cycle, however what usually will get glossed over is the act of taking pictures. The ShiftCam SnapGrip is trying to make cell pictures a richer expertise.

Whereas the SnapGrip is clearly most at residence on iPhones with MagSafe built-in (the iPhone 12 and 13 collection on the time of publication), there’s a magnetic sticker contained in the field which will be affixed to any telephone, for those who so dare. Whereas a variety of smartphone accent makers rushed to construct ecosystems of merchandise based mostly round MagSafe, there hasn’t been something fairly just like the SnapGrip.

The SnapGrip doesn’t make its foray alone both, as ShiftCam has began a small ecosystem of magnetically-compatible equipment working collectively. On this evaluation, I check out the SnapGrip, the SnapLight, and the SnapPod.

SnapGrip, SnapLight, and SnapPod.

Construct High quality

SnapGrip

The SnapGrip is basically a flat, MagSafe-compatible dock with a thick, protruding hand grip constructed on the precise facet. It measures 4.5 inches lengthy (114 millimeters) by 3.25 inches tall (82.6 millimeters) on the grip. The thinnest factors of the dock are 0.25 inches in depth (6.4 millimeters), and the grip is 1.25 inches deep (31.8 millimeters). There’s sufficient room on the grip for all my fingers to suit when held in a taking pictures place, and the depth will not be too dangerous for a strong maintain.

SnapGrip in use.

It weighs 4.9 ounces (140 grams) — which is definitely one thing — however contemplating it hosts a 3,200 mAh battery for on-the-go charging, it is lighter than I first thought it might be. That comes right down to the supplies. A few rubber areas come into contact with the mounted telephone. In any other case, all the pieces you see is plastic. I believed this was somewhat misleading because the grip has the textured look of a rubber-coated grip, but it surely’s truly onerous plastic.

Wanting over the Kickstarter marketing campaign, I did not see this clarified, and I believe that may trigger disappointment from backers as soon as it arrives. Total, it is somewhat low-cost feeling, and I consider a rubberized grip might have stepped up this impression.

The complete-sized shutter button on the high of the grip is positioned with a slight slant for higher ergonomics and the press when it is pressed down is fairly satisfying. Subsequent to the shutter button is a smaller round button for turning on the SnapGrip’s Qi wi-fi charging.

SnapGrip topside.

On the bottom of the grip are 4 super-bright LEDs to point the battery degree, one mild to indicate if it is powered on, and one mild to point Bluetooth pairing with the telephone. On the underside facet of the grip is an uncovered USB-C charging port. Subsequent to that could be a tiny gap for sticking a pin in there and resetting the gadget in case of malfunction. Whether or not it is good manners or a insecurity, my take a look at unit got here with a SIM card device within the field that matches proper in there.

Some of the obvious construct high quality points with my testing pattern is that the magnet meant to carry the SnapGrip equipment got here off. The adhesive couldn’t cope with the pressure utilized when eradicating equipment from it. Earlier than I even alerted ShiftCam, the corporate despatched over an e mail detailing issues skilled with pre-production samples and the modifications that might be made to manufacturing fashions to repair them. On this case, the painted floor beneath the adhesive meant it couldn’t be correctly secured. ShiftCam said that the model prospects would obtain will not be painted underneath the magnetic ring.

I can solely report on what I’ve, so you may must take ShiftCam’s phrase for it.

SnapGrip LED indicator lights.

SnapLight

The SnapLight options the connector magnet on one facet and a small ring mild on the opposite. Contained in the ring mild is a selfie mirror with slight wide-angle distortion, and the entire mild relies on a hinge in order that it may be pulled away from the mounting level and face both course. It has an inside battery that fees by way of a USB-C port on the gadget so it may work independently from the SnapGrip. To be clear, although, whereas it may join on to an iPhone’s MagSafe on the again, it doesn’t work as a battery pack to cost the telephone.

SnapLight closed and open.

The construct high quality of the SnapLight matches the SnapGrip. The hinge used is straightforward to control however does come at the price of not staying in place if there’s a variety of vibration or movement taking place whereas it is prolonged. There are a few notches that hold it in place within the closed place.

SnapPod

One other accent for the SnapGrip is the SnapPod. This tabletop tripod and magnetic mount can work with the SnapGrip, the SnapLight, or by itself connecting to simply the telephone. When the SnapPod legs are folded, it really works as a brief selfie stick. It contains a built-in ball head that enables for leveling the connector arm.

SnapPod with tripod legs extended.

That is the accent that feels the worst. Just like the SnapGrip, the textured a part of the tripod will not be actually the grippy rubber that it seems to be, however is definitely plastic. The legs of the tripod really feel low-cost and the hinge to set them at an angle has a low-quality really feel. The entire thing creaks when it is manipulated and has nasty feeling plastic edges.

It’s not a very good product expertise.

The highest half that options the magnetic holder is ok, and to ShiftCam’s credit score, it may be indifferent from the SnapPod tripod and used on some other tripod with its built-in 1/4-inch threading. In its place, I might suggest the Manfrotto PIXI Mini Desk Prime Tripodwhich is not that costly, has a significantly better construct high quality and ball head design, and is strictly what I want the SmartGrip was.

One different difficulty with my evaluation pattern is that the built-in ball head can’t tightly maintain the burden of a telephone and different SnapGrip equipment. ShiftCam said that this might be mounted in manufacturing fashions and is attributable to easy paint utilized to the ball head. The corporate plans to have the ball head textured with no paint within the manufacturing fashions.

As earlier than, I can solely report on my expertise, and you will have to take ShiftCam’s phrase on this.

Within the Area and At House

Because of the magnetic nature of those equipment, utilizing the SnapGrip ecosystem is straightforward. I do not think about most individuals will depart these equipment hooked up to their telephones full-time, however that is okay as a result of all of them simply snap into place when wanted and pull off when carried out.

The magnet is at its strongest in relation to shearing pressure. Attempting to slip the telephone off laterally towards the SnapGrip is difficult to do casually, which is nice. The simplest option to get the telephone off the SnapGrip is to peel it from the grip facet since you get some leverage off the MagSafe facet the place the telephone overhangs. This could be how the magnets are weakest, but it surely’s nonetheless adequate to the place I by no means felt the necessity to completely child the equipment. Sure, you may all the time have to understand that it is held collectively by magnets, but it surely’s not such a distraction that it will get in the way in which of enjoyment.

The SnapGrip pairs with a telephone over Bluetooth and as soon as it has been arrange, the telephone ought to bear in mind the connection for the following time it is on. The shutter button is mapped to the quantity up button on the iPhone, so the performance will match the traits of that on a per-app foundation.

Meaning contained in the Digicam app, a brief press in Photograph mode might be a single image, and a protracted maintain might be a burst. When creating an Instagram Story or utilizing Snapchat, a brief press takes a photograph, and a protracted maintain data a video.

SnapGrip showing the MagSafe side.

I did sense a little bit of psychological magic the place the photo-taking expertise felt much less like grabbing snapshots and positioned me right into a extra inventive mind set. Since I have been utilizing traditional-style cameras for the final 20 years, it does make some sense why I may be conditioned that approach. I do not need to over-emphasize that as a result of you will get into the temper whatever the gadget used to create photographs, but it surely made me extra readily respect having the SnapGrip.

As an Apple iPhone 12 mini person, I encountered issues with utilizing a number of stacked equipment. Utilizing the 1x rear digicam, I can’t stack any further equipment onto the SnapGrip with out them showing within the backside proper nook of the body. The identical drawback happens when utilizing simply the SnapPod and the SnapLight collectively. Though the 0.5x digicam on this telephone sits additional out than the 1x digicam, sure, equipment nonetheless present up prominently in the identical eventualities.

SnapPod and SnapLight used for selfie photos.

Whether or not intentional or not, one factor I respect in regards to the SnapGrip and its equipment is the variety of fallbacks they’ve. The SnapGrip would not all the time have for use as a grip to carry my telephone, and I’ve used it regularly on my desk as a wi-fi charging dock. The telephone stands vertically at an angle, and the USB-C port runs out the underside left facet to provide fixed wall energy.

The SnapLight might be much more helpful as a result of there’s by no means a scarcity of needing a small moveable mild someplace. The sunshine has 4 energy settings, and I timed it to final half-hour at full energy. The hinge means it may sit on a flat floor and nonetheless level out horizontally, plus it may connect to something magnetic, and it has a mirror for a fast self-check. It is a cool gadget to maintain round.

SnapLight directly attached to iPhone.

SnapLight power level examples.
Examples of every of the 4 energy settings of the SnapLight. It is capable of present a very good quantity of fill for a compact mild.

Fast and Safe

Cell phone equipment run the gamut between trash and treasure. Go to any electronics retailer, and you will find a reduction bin with shoddily-made smartphone equipment that will not promote, irrespective of the value. Nonetheless, there are nonetheless mobile-focused firms that may put long-term focus and a spotlight into one thing, and I get the sense that ShiftCam is making an attempt to be extra on that finish. The SnapGrip will not be a product with out faults, however I see affordable explanations for its downsides, and ShiftCam has promised greater high quality within the manufacturing run.

Are There Options?

ShiftCam additionally makes a product known as the ProGrip and sells it for $150 with the starter equipment. Just like the SnapGrip, it is a camera-style grip that attaches to a telephone, however this one makes use of a clamp quite than MagSafe or magnets. In PetaPixel’s evaluationTed Kritsonis appreciated its performance and finally really useful it.

One other device to contemplate is the Fjordenhowever what was speculated to be delivered by February has been delayed and the corporate continues to be within the pre-order part.

My seek for different smartphone grip choices that labored with magnets quite than a clamp or holster got here up empty.

Ought to You Purchase It?

Sure. If ShiftCam ships the SnapGrip with all construct high quality points mounted, it’s a good addition to smartphone pictures. When you have an iPhone mini, bear in mind that stacking equipment will imply cropping photographs and movies to get round them exhibiting up within the footage taken with the rear digicam.


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