ShiftCam SnapGrip Review
Even though it’s definitely overpriced and could do with a few more features to justify said expense, the ShiftCam SnapGrip makes smartphone photography so much more fun and engaging that it’s hard to stay mad at it for too long. The fact that it doubles as a stand and a MagSafe charger when needed just adds to the SnapGrip’s charm, and I can safely say that I’ll be carrying it with me long after this review.
- Feels great to use
- Easy to adjust the orientation
- Charges your phone
- Doubles as a stand
- Expensive for what it is
- Doesn’t quite work with ultra-wide cameras
- UKRRP: £69.99
- USARRP: $69.99
- CanadaRRP: CA$99.99
- AustraliaRRP: AU$129
- MagSafe compatible:Fits securely to the back of your iPhone
- Wireless charging:Charge your iPhone over a MagSafe connection
- Doubles as a stand:Turn the SnapGrip on its side to keep your phone upright on a surface
Offering a new way for content creators to make the most out of their smartphone cameras, the ShiftCam SnapGrip is a well-thought-out example of accessory design.
It’s no secret anymore that smartphone cameras have advanced leaps and bounds in the last few years to become serious options for content creators, filmmakers and photographers alike. With all the innovation happening on the phones themselves, there’s been a burgeoning industry for well-designed smartphone accessories to make the most out of new technology.
Smartphone gimbals like the Asus ZenGimbal and the Zhiyun Smooth Q4 make it possible to shoot cinematic style footage with your handset, and now ShiftCam has added a new device to its line-up dedicated to helping entry-level creators by putting simplicity above all other factors. While the SnapGrip might seem a bit too simplistic at first glance, it now has a permanent place in my kit bag.
- MagSafe compatible
- Textured material around the grip
- Physical shutter button for taking pictures
The SnapGrip is actually the second grip accessory that ShiftCam has released, with the more fully featured ProGrip having come before it. By comparison, the SnapGrip has been designed as the more consumer friendly option with a more colourful aesthetic and easy to understand build that can be appreciated by photographers of all ages and skill levels.
For starters, the SnapGrip is available in five colours, ranging from a more conservative Midnight shade to an eye-catching Pink Pomelo option. Unlike the ProGrip which would partially encase your phone to amp up stability, the SnapGrip does exactly what it says on the tin and uses a MagSafe compatible magnet in its centre to attach itself to the back of your iPhone.
It’s worth mentioning that the SnapGrip does come with an adhesive magnet that can be placed on the back of any non-MagSafe phones, but for the most part, the SnapGrip has been made with the iPhone in mind.
Because of the flexibility of MagSafe, it’s possible to use the SnapGrip in both portrait and landscape modes, so if you want to make an upright video for Tik Tok then you still have the freedom to do so. The one thing to be aware of is that when using the ultra-wide camera in the upright position, it’s possible to see your hand around the SnapGrip in the shot, which effectively makes that specific mode redundant when the SnapGrip is attached.
The SnapGrip is encased in smooth plastic that keeps it feeling lightweight and adds to its portability, and there’s even a faux-leather texture over the handle to give the feeling of a sturdier grip in your hand, and on this front it absolutely works. Over the course of the review period, I have noticed a few scuff marks however so it’s worth noting that the SnapGrip isn’t impervious to wear and tear over time.
The mere presence of the SnapGrip however, and in having a sturdier grasp of my phone when out shooting, meant that I became more methodical in my picture taking. There’s definitely some psychology afoot but the SnapGrip makes the iPhone feel more like a competent portable camera, and part of that sensation lies in the physical shutter button.
While it doesn’t register a half-click like a traditional camera would, nor does it pack the weight found on almost any dedicated camera, the process of actually pressing the shutter is so much more engaging than tapping on the screen. It might sound quaint but I found myself enjoying street photography again in a way that I hadn’t done so in years.
As an added bonus, the bulkier side of the SnapGrip is balanced enough that it can be used as a makeshift phone stand. This is great if you want a quick selfie from afar or you need to hop on to a video call quickly.
- Works as a wireless MagSage charger
- Add-ons can be bought separately or as a bundle
- Not an awful lot to justify the price
Beyond its core function as a camera grip, the ShiftCam SnapGrip doesn’t offer much in the way of extra features which does call its £69.99/$69.99 pricing into question. There’s no companion app to make the most out of the SnapGrip, nor any way to interact with the camera app beyond pressing the shutter once to take a picture and holding it down to record a video.
There is one extra feature however that might tempt you to buy the SnapGrip, being that it can also work as a MagSafe charger at the press of a button. Just to the right of the shutter is a tiny button that, when pushed, uses the SnapGrip’s internal battery to charge your iPhone on the go.
This is particularly helpful in prolonging the amount of time that you can film for, but it’s also handy just to have an accessory that doubles as a battery pack when needed.
There are two accessories that expand the SnapGrip’s capabilities. You can buy them all via the SnapGrip Creator Kit or simply upgrade piecemeal with the accessory that you want. The add-ons in question are the SnapPod, which works like a selfie-stick/tripod, and the SnapLight which can brighten up your shot, much like the light attachment on the Zhiyun Smooth Q4.
All of these add-ons are MagSafe compatible, so you can stack them on top of the SnapGrip to create a strange looking contraption that nevertheless, serves its purpose quite well. You just have to be willing to pay for it all.
- Plenty of battery to last all day
- Topped up our test phone by 42%
At this point, I’ve taken the SnapGrip out on the town for roughly four or five sessions of street photography, and at the time of writing the battery level is still being displayed as full. ShiftCam doesn’t list a quoted battery life for the SnapGrip but at this rate, I’d say that you could get away with charging it at infrequent intervals.
Things are a little less optimistic when it comes to the SnapGrip’s skill as a battery pack. Starting the test with 15% battery left on my phone, I was able to boost that back up to 57% in roughly an hour and a half before the SnapGrip died. That isn’t a massive boost to battery life, nor is it a particularly fast charge at that. For prolonging periods of filming and saving your phone from a flat battery, the SnapGrip can get the job done but don’t expect it to fully replace any existing battery packs that you might have lying around.
Should you buy it?
You want to make the most of your smartphone camera: There’s no denying that the SnapGrip makes smartphone photography a lot more fun and engaging, particularly if you have prior experience with traditional cameras.
You’re looking to make video content: As great as the SnapGrip is for photography, I’d still recommend picking up a smartphone gimbal if you’re only looking to film as they can offer more stable capture.
At first glance, it’d be easy to write off the ShiftCam SnapGrip as a gimmick, but the more I used the device the more I came to appreciate everything that it brings to the table.
By combining the sensibilities of a traditional camera grip with the ease of smartphone cameras, I have become more methodical in the shots that I take and have quickly begun to reap the benefits with photos that are far more pleasing to the eye than anything I took before.
Given the relatively high price of the SnapGrip, I don’t think it’s an instant buy for every iPhone user out there, but if you do enjoy using your phone to capture the world around you then I think you’ll find a lot to love about ShiftCam’s colourful grip.
How we test
We test smartphone accessories in a variety of scenarios to see how they hold up under real-world use. This includes comparisons against similar accessories for a comprehensive understanding of which product is best for you.
Tested over a period of three weeks
Tested with an iPhone 14
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There is an adhesive magnetic panel provided with the SnapGrip that can be placed on the back of an Android phone to make it compatible with the accessory.
There are several accessories that you can buy either separately or bundled together as part of the SnapGrip Creator Kit.
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