We get a lot of gear sent to us in my household. Most of it disappears into my office/gear cave, and occasionally I ask Sarah for help with reviewing it. She rarely, if ever, comments on the items, but the SlingShot caught her attention. We used it on a few hikes to take video and photos, and today Sarah declared that it’s the first item I’ve ever reviewed that she would buy without hesitation. What triggered such high praise? Read on to find out more about this great Kickstarter project!
Project title: SlingShot
Status: In progress
Closing date for funding: May 21, 2012
URL of the project: Find it here.
From the creatives: I’m Charles Waugh, a professional photographer and design engineer in Portland, Oregon. When I became dissatisfied with the available smartphone stabilizers out there, I decided to design one, so now there’s the SlingShot!
Who from Gear Diary Backed It: Dan
At What Level Did They Back It: For $14: You get a SlingShot with FREE shipping in the US (Int’l add $10). Yes, it’s really that simple. And yes, you really are that awesome.
Why We Backed It: Because Carly was sent one for review and raved about it.
How’s The Communication Been?: N/A since the project was just backed.
How has the experience been (aka, the review!):
The SlingShot is pretty basic, both in style and purpose. Essentially, it’s a simple plastic cradle that fits any smartphone, attached to a rotating ball on a stick with pop-out stabilizer legs. Effectively, it’s a tiny tripod for any phone. You can also unscrew the cradle and screw it onto a regular tripod, or use the lower half as a mini tripod for a regular camera. The whole package is ridiculously light, and while it isn’t quite pocketable it takes up very little space in a bag.
Why do you need a SlingShot? Because it gives you a stable way to take photos and videos, especially in places where you can’t easily hold your phone and get a good shot. As I said above, we took the SlingShot on a hike and had a great time using it for fun photos. It made it easy to extend the phone out at an odd angle, or keep it steady while the dog charged at us, and there was no blurring or shaky cam effect. My favorite moment was when I was able to get down on my knees and hold the phone steady while shooting the dog jumping into the water. I could have probably gotten the same shot without the SlingShot, but it wouldn’t have been as smooth. Having the handle meant I had a better grip, I had the phone angled exactly how I wanted it, and with a quick tap on the screen, I had the perfect shot.
If this were just a great way to stabilize the phone, it would be a great bit of gear. But the pop-out legs make this an awesome tabletop tripod, which is even better. Need a good macro shot? The SlingShot makes that easy. Photographing an important note? You know it won’t be blurry with the SlingShot. Despite the light size, the tripod is very stable, even when the iPhone is at odd angles.
The SlingShot claims to fit any phone, and while we only have iPhones here, I do have lots of cases. I tried in the Case-Mate Phantom (thickest case I had lying around) and in a Lifeproof (longest one) and it accommodated them both easily. Admittedly, I was a bit nervous shoving them in, but the cradle handled them easily and didn’t warp or show signs of disfigurement. It also grabbed on nice and tight — there’s no risk of a phone popping out here.
What was sent to me was a pre-production model, and there are a few differences between this and the final retail version. The cradle is a touch wider than the final specifications, which isn’t a big deal, and the pop-out legs will be steel, not plastic. I didn’t have an issue with the angle of the stowaway legs, but their base will be a bit wider in the final version, so any especially large phones or odd angles will have more stability. Honestly, if this were the final version it would be a home run, so I am sure the two minor changes will also work well. I would also love to see the SlingShot add more accessories, like a car cradle, or even a video stand. There’s a lot of possibilities for this design!
Here is the best part about the SlingShot, and why I think it will be a huge success: the retail price will only be $14.95. At that price, every smartphone owner should have one. If you use it once or twice to capture a special event, it’s worth having one around. If you use the camera regularly, it is the best piece of gear you can have on hand, because it is flexible, easy to use, and can improve your photos and videos instantaneously. All for less than a decent case, and far, far less than a case with a tripod screw.
If you don’t end up backing it on Kickstarter, be sure to look for it this summer, because you will love it!
What I Like: Lightweight design; Multiple tripod and stabilization options; Very reasonable price; Fits most phones and cases
What Needs Improvement: Nothing