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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.

The third and biggest problem is the software (I used the iOS version; I didn't test the Android release). The free Snappgrip iOS app is, at best, beta release engineering and until the API is released and third-party developers adapt their code to the Snappgrip interface, no other Snappgrip-compatible apps are available.

So, where to start? Well, there's a button onscreen to connect the iPhone to the grip, which almost always requires two or more tries to connect; it looks like either multiple automatic retries or a longer timeout is needed. That issue is annoying, but worse is that although the grip holds the camera in landscape orientation, clicking the settings icon on the screen brings up a menu that is in portrait orientation.

If you go from camera mode to review mode (also only in portrait orientation) you can't swipe left and right to index through your camera roll; you have to click on the odd menu icon at the top left to view the camera roll, then pick from the thumbnails to view the selected shot full size. But wait, there's more! There's no delete function! You have to leave the app and go to another app to get rid of pictures you don't want. Another glaring omission is that the review mode doesn't play videos.

Sharing, available from the review screen (which is, you'll remember, only available in portrait orientation) includes Facebook, Twitter, email, and Instagram, leaving out SMS and iMessage and other social services. On my iPhone, Facebook and Instagram worked, but Twitter crashed the Snappgrip app every time with no warning or explanation. Email did create a message with the photo embedded but the default subject was — and I'm not making this up —   "Share with you" written in Chinese.

Back to the beach location I mentioned above - so on Father's day, I took my iPhone with the Snappgrip along to the beach when we walked the dogs. I tried to take a video, but the Snappgrip app wouldn't work. I fiddled with it for as long as I could, but with a large excited dog connected to my wrist I soon gave up. Back home, I tried to get the app to work but no luck; it would load then immediately exit every time. Weirdly, when I tried the app again this morning as I started writing this review, for no apparent reason it loaded successfully without crashing.

As far as I'm concerned, those are all showstoppers, and yet another concern is that the Snappgrip site provides zero support documentation, implying that nothing has ever gone wrong with the product. Oh, and there's also no FAQ.

 

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