by Tommy Ly
April 25, 2012
When it comes to iPhone accessories, there are seemingly endless possibilities. Some accessories can enhance your iPhone's features by either working for or with your iPhone. When paired with an app, some accessories let you do things like fly iOS-controlled helicopters, or even control yachts. Last month, we told you about three new accessories from Photojojo (via Belkin) that work with your iPhone to aid in capturing photos and videos: the iPhone Shutter Remote, the iPhone Shutter Grip, and iPhone Boom Mic (which is actually a shotgun mic, $40 each). We had an opportunity to spend some time with these accessories (thanks, Photojojo!) and it's tough to say whether or not they enhance or degrade the experience of capturing photos and videos on your iPhone (more on that later). If you haven't seen these yet, the iPhone Shutter Remote pairs with your iPhone via Bluetooth and can be operated from up to 30 feet away. It features one button to snap a photo, and another to take a video. Part of the remote detaches to be used as an iPhone stand. The iPhone Shutter Grip connects to your iPhone's 30-pin dock connector and works as a handle for your handset. Like the Shutter Remote, the Shutter Grip features the same two buttons for photo and capture. The iPhone Boom Mic connects to your iPhone's headphone jack and can be adjusted to fit over most cases. It can be set to directional (multi-layered sounds; concerts) or super-directional (more precise recording). The iPhone Shutter Remote and Shutter Grip can only be used with Belkin's free LiveAction app, while the Boom Mic can be used with any video or voice recording apps. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's see how these accessories performed.
The GoodShutter Remote: The Bluetooth pairing is quick and easy, although you get an error message (which indicates that pairing worked, according to the manual). The built-in stand does a pretty decent job, allowing you to get in your own photo. Shutter Grip: Using the iPhone's camera feels much more natural when using the grip. It's comfortable to hold and is just the right size for the iPhone. Boom Mic: Unfortunately, I can't say that there is anything good about this.
The BadShutter Remote and Shutter Grip: While these are solidly built and work as intended, the fact that they can only be used with the LiveAction app is a serious downfall. Not being usable with the stock Camera app is an iOS limitation and not the fault of Belkin, but if their app was any good, this wouldn't be a problem. The app's lack of features (such as focus and exposure lock) and bugginess nearly make using these accessories more of a hassle than anything. Boom Mic: The Boom Mic does in fact pick up more sound than the iPhone's built-in microphone, but that's also its biggest problem. No matter what, there was too much ambient noise picked up in both its directional and super-directional modes. That clear sound you picked up gets a little muffled under the light sound of static.
The VerdictOn the hardware side, these accessories are great. In short: They are what they are, but the app required to use them needs some serious work. Would I recommend these? Not a chance, especially at $40 a pop, but there is potential. If Belkin can improve its LiveAction app and offer some simple, standard features, then maybe using these accessories could be a little more practical. Until then, you'll be just fine using your iPhone's camera the same way you've been doing it. You can find the iPhone Shutter Remote, Shutter Grip, and Boom Mic on Photojojo for $40 each, but honestly, I'd take a look at their other iPhone offerings. What are some of your favorite iPhone accessories?
Belkin International, Inc.