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Snappgrip: A smartphone SLR-style grip that could be good, but isn't

Mark Gibbs | June 18, 2014
Sometimes I get a review product that has problems and, if it's a complicated piece of engineering, I work with the vendor to try to figure out what's the cause in case there's something I've missed about how the product should be set up and configured.

Sometimes I get a review product that has problems and, if it's a complicated piece of engineering, I work with the vendor to try to figure out what's the cause in case there's something I've missed about how the product should be set up and configured.

On the other hand, there are the simpler products that have problems that I don't refer back to the vendor, because there's no reason why they shouldn't work, and, moreover, if they are intended as consumer products, the problems I discover will definitely be experienced by fewer experienced users than I. The latter was the case with the Snappgrip sold by BiteMyApple.co.

Now, let's be clear, the Snappgrip is a cool idea: It's a case for the iPhone 4s, 5, 5c, or 5S or Samsung Galaxy S3 or S4. What makes it clever is that the case incorporates a grip you'd find on an SLR camera making it much easier to take photos and videos than the usual juggling of an iPhone involves. Moreover, the market demand for a product such as this was demonstrated when Snappgrip's Kickstarter campaign, looking for £18,000, attracted 557 backers who ponied up £27,632 in pledges when it closed at the end of January, 2013.

The grip, which links to your smartphone via low-power Bluetooth, a standard tripod mount underneath, and recharges via a USB cable, not only has a shutter button with the standard half press to focus but also provides zoom control, lets you select the shooting mode (single shot, video, continuous, and timed, for night, portrait, and landscape), and can be detached, making it easy to go from camera mode to sticking it in your pocket mode.

So, what the matter with the Snappgrip? First, an annoying fault many portable gadgets have: The hole which the lanyard goes through wasn't clear, by which I mean I stuck the lanyard in and couldn't get it around the bend to pull it through. I tried to clear the hole with a dental pick and a very thin needle file, but after futzing around for 30 minutes or so I only managed to break through the side of the hole so a lanyard could no longer be used. Note to all gadget manufacturers: Test physical things like lanyard connections to make sure that consumers can actually use them.

Second is a minor complaint, but a problem all the same: The unit I received is while and gold and the text next to the controls is in white. White text on a gold background is not very readable, even in the best lighting, let alone in bright sunlight on a beach...a location I'll come back to in a minute.

 

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