It was just a few months ago that we first saw the Grip & Shoot at CE Week in New York City. The device is a pistol grip attachment for the iPhone (4S and higher), allowing users to shoot stills and video one-handed, without having their fingers awkwardly splayed to reach the touchscreen controls. Its commercial launch has taken place since then, so I recently had the chance to try one out for myself.
The main Grip & Shoot unit has a plastic body, rubber grip panels on both sides, an index-finger switch to take photos or start/stop recording video, and two thumb switches to zoom in and out. The package also includes two polycarbonate phone cases (to fit the iPhone 4s or 5), that easily snap on and off of the main device's spring-loaded mount. Ordinarily you would keep the two parts together, although because the Grip & Shoot communicates with the phone via Bluetooth, you can also use it control the phone from a distance.
I started by downloading and opening the accompanying free app, which was quite straightforward. Pairing an iPhone 5 with it was also no problem.
Shooting stills was just as advertised. It was nice having a secure, ergonomic grip on the device, and it was convenient being able to shoot and zoom just using my finger and thumb.
Switching to video mode on the app screen was a little challenging – it looked like there was a slider that I was supposed to swipe between icons of a still camera and a video camera, yet I had to jab at it several times before it would switch modes. After contacting the company about the problem, I was told that users are actually just supposed to tap that part of the screen, and that the confusing slider-like display will be changed in an upcoming version of the app.
I also noticed that the zoom didn't work in video mode. The company informed me that this was because the digital zoom for video wasn't available in iOS6 when the app was created – again, that shouldn't be a problem once the app is updated. An Android app is on the way too, incidentally.
Built into the bottom of the grip is a detachable tool that allows the case-clad phone to be mounted on a tripod or simply set on a flat surface, then operated remotely using the main device. It also allows for the use of third-party phone cases or other accessories. I tried using it on a tripod, and it worked fine.
Given that the two app issues are apparently being resolved, I only had a couple of small-ish issues with the Grip & Shoot. One of those is the fact that it does feel a little insubstantial and plasticy, given its US$99.95 price tag. In particular, the eject switch for the tripod attachment rattled around whenever I moved it.
Additionally, it doesn't have a power switch. Instead, you just press any of its control buttons to "wake it up." While this does make things simple, I can see it being unnecessarily woken up quite often if it were just thrown in a handbag. That said, to be fair, it does come with an included leather carrying case. Additionally, its coin cell battery is said to be good for over 10,000 button presses, so a little extra time spent powered up probably won't account for much.
All in all, I'd say that the Grip & Shoot is worth its rather ambitious price if you take a lot of photos or videos, and you remember to update the app once it's improved. More information on the device can be found in the video below.
Product page: Grip & Shoot