Snappgrip makes iPhone feel like a point-and-shoot

By Gregg Ellman

McClatchy-Tribune

Coming from a photography background, I’ll still fight the battle that a smartphone’s camera cannot replace the functionality of a pocket-sized camera, but it does win with its instant availability.

The Snappgrip from BiteMyApple is an accessory that makes an iPhone5/5s feel like a point-and-shoot camera. Obviously, it must be used in conjunction with the iPhone’s camera in order for it to function as one as well.

The accessory consists of two parts: a standard case for the usual protection, along with full access to all the controls, and the snap-on camera.

The Snappgrip snaps on to the back of the included case with a quick-release button and connects to the Snappgrip photography companion app (free at iTunes) via Bluetooth. Images are stored in the app and can be moved over to your photo library and shared directly to social media.

Before I even took a picture, the Snappgrip made the phone feel more like a camera, while transforming my phone into a comfortable one-handed device.

Once I started taking photos, I really liked the Snappgrip and was most impressed with the shutter button. By pressing it halfway it gives you the feel of a real camera by focusing before pressing it to take the image.

Next to the shutter is a toggle for zooming with the internal lens. A mode dial allows access to the flash, scene and video modes.

There’s a USB port for charging the accessory, and it even has a very useful standard tripod thread on the bottom.

The case also can attach lenses, available separately for purchase, which include a macro, fish-eye and telephoto.

Details: $69.99 available in black or white; www.bitemyapple.co

Three emergency items in one

While the Satechi LightMate Emergency LED Flash Light is easy to be considered a flashlight first, it falls into my favorite category of a multi-functional device.

In addition to the light, you get an emergency glass breaker (which I didn’t test), but wondered what it would be good for. So, I went to the Satechi site and they suggested it would be helpful if your car gets submerged in water, enabling you to break the glass and get out; so there you have it.

Obviously the LightMate is waterproof and strong with an aluminum and steel alloy body.

Internally, it has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery (2,200 mAh), which can be removed if you purchase an additional one.

There’s also a built-in USB port for charging other portable electronic gadgets including smartphones, GPS units and cameras.

As for the daylight-friendly LED light, you get 5 different LED lighting modes. The main one is a SOS feature. In a continuous cycle, it produces three short flashes, pauses, three long flashes and keeps repeating this until help arrives.

The other modes include another emergency setting of a flashing strobe, 3 brightness settings and directional lighting.

Details: $29.99; http://satechi.net

Solar charger

Bracketron’s Xolar3000 battery is the ultimate in true portability with its built-in solar charging panel to power up the 3000mAh battery.

The battery itself charges up in about nine hours of sunlight and can charge an average smartphone about 2.5 times until another round of sunlight is needed.

If an AC outlet or USB charging port is around, the battery can be plugged into that for a shorter three-hour charge.

The battery has USB ports to plug in your own cables to connect the device needing a charge.

Other portable electronic gadgets, which can be charged with the Xolar3000 include MP3 players, tablets, digital cameras and portable golf games, even while on the course.

The charging time for smartphones is approximately 1 to 1 { hours, while a tablet can take up to 2 { hours.

An auto shut off feature allows the battery to be shut off it it’s not used within one minute.

Details: $49.95; www.bracketron.com

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