There’s a reason that so many digital cameras have a hand grip built into their bodies – it makes them easier to hold onto when taking pictures. Unfortunately for people whose smartphone doubles as their camera, phones lack such a feature. London-based product designer Lee Harris decided to address that shortcoming, with his snappgrip case for iPhones 4 and 5, and Samsung Galaxy S3.

When you’re not taking pictures, the snappgrip looks and acts just like a regular protective smartphone case. When it’s time to do some serious picture-taking, however, you just snap on its hand grip/controller.

Not only does this device let you get a firmer grip on the phone, but it also has controls on its top surface that allow you to activate the shutter, change between shooting modes, and zoom in or out. On the bottom, there’s a standard tripod mount hole, a standby switch for saving power between shots, and a mini-USB port for charging its lithium-ion battery.

A snappgrip on display at CES

The unit communicates with the phone via Bluetooth, and a custom iOS or Android app.

Harris and his business partner Rex Chen are currently raising production funds for the snappgrip, on Kickstarter. A pledge of £29 (US$46) will get you one, when and if they’re ready to go. The estimated retail price is around $99.

Readers interested in this product might also want to check out Belkin’s LiveAction Camera Grip.

Source: Kickstarter