Tech News on G4

iStabilizer Shutter Remote snaps pics videos and more

Nov 26, 2014

By Greg Gazin - Apple Gazin' - G4 Canada

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iStabilizer Shutter RemoteLong before the term was popularized but now abuse, people struggled to find the way to get that perfect "Selfie". While there have been hardware and app solutions to solve that ultimate puzzle, the Shutter Remote by iStabilizer has come along to give you that wireless proverbial extra long arm that you need, plus more.

Shutter Remote is a pocket sized remote that that not only gives you a wireless Bluetooth remote shutter button, but also a media controller for your music and video, a remote iOS Home/Siri controller and a wireless presenter, good for a range of up to 3 m.

It's a little thicker, wider and shorter than the Apple Remote, but it still very comfortable to hold and with a lot more functionality. It runs off 2 x CR2025 batteries (large coins cells), so it's not rechargeable, but the company says they should last up to six months if you use it for about an hour a day.

Its thickness allows for a conveniently located on/off switch on the left side and pairing button on the right. It has a familiar circular media controller, with the "+" (Volume Up) button (or Volume down - not documented), acting as your shutter release for your perfect Selfie.

iStabilizer Shutter RemoteMultifunction and Mac OS & iOS Compatible

Below the media controller are six additional iOS functions keys. There's a keyboard key, a lock screen key, a mute button, brightness up and dim screen buttons and a Siri button, which is also a Home button.

Shutter Remote is also Mac OS compatible.  When plugged into your Mac, the music controls, the mute button and brightness buttons perform their proper functions. However, the lock screen button acts as if you had hit the power button giving you the option to restart, shutdown or put your computer to sleep. The keyboard and home buttons in Mac mode don't actually do anything.

Quick to Configure

Shutter Remote is quick to configure - which you can do with one hand. Power it up, pair it with your Mac or iOS device, which it does quite quickly and you're good to go. A red/blue LED status light right above the shutter button tells you where you are. In fact, once paired the LED status light continues to blink blue. While I like that it's great to be reminded your remote is on, I do find it distracting and conspicuous - not necessarily a good thing particularly if you are using it at night or in a dark location.

iStabilizer Shutter RemoteWhile the name suggests its #1 purpose is that of a remote shutter but it's being marketed as that and a whole lot more. For its main purpose, it does a good job at that. All the control reacted quickly when engaged, with enough feedback you know when they were pressed.

Test Driving

The remote pairs, connects quickly and gets your shot without a hitch. In video mode, it starts and stops the recording as advertised. It not only works with Apple's Camera app, it tested fine with Tap Tap Tap’s Camera+ app and should work with other 3rd party apps as well if they are designed to use the volume up button on your iOS device.

My only issue with using the shutter button is its placement. I found it annoying when a few times when reaching quickly for the remote that I found myself inadvertently hitting the bigger centre play button just below which started up my tunes. I can't see why they could not have used one of the other buttons as a dedicated shutter button.

As for the other controls, I particularly liked having quick access to media controls especially the brightness controls and mute button that for me are two I use a lot. Also being able to summons Siri without having to pick up your iPhone, for example, to set up and alarm, is certainly a huge added bonus.

iStabilizer Shutter RemoteI feel however, that since iStabilizer opened the doors by touting Shutter Remote's other capabilities, I must point out that they missed a couple of really good opportunities to make the remote shutter shine even more.  I like that it can be used as a presenter, especially since my Logitech Presenter disappeared a few months back. However, it's limited to Keynote (for Mac OS, not iOS) when a good chunk of the world still uses PowerPoint. Adding that compatibility would certainly open it up to a bigger market. Plus, the functionality is limited to forward/backward. They might have considered programming the unused keys in Mac OS mode to be configured to "Play" and "Blank/Black" screen - a function I find very handy when doing presentations.

In fact, it might be asking a lot and maybe way beyond the scope of its capabilities, but it would have been nice to allow the keys to be programmed.

And finally, the remote is thick enough to add access to attach a little wrist-strap or caribiner to keep your shutter remote handy instead of fishing for it in your pocket or purse or keep you from losing it.

Overall, the Remote Shutter still does what it names suggests and a few extras – albeit not optimally implemented for a more universal remote use. Still, if you do a lot of selfies or need to set up your iPhone for example on a tripod or monopod, or a location away from where you are standing, Remote Shutter will help you get that shot every time. Just make sure you carry around an extra set of batteries.

It does however, make for a nice little stocking stuffer.

Shutter Remote is compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac OS running OS X 10.4 or later. It retails for $39.95 US and available directly from iStabilizer or Amazon. For $59.95 US, they also offer a bundle which includes the remote and the iStabilizer Monopod “Selfie Stick”.

Rating: 3.75 / 5

Greg Gazin can be reached at  gadgetguy "at" telus "dot" net , GadgetGreg.com , or on Twitter @GadgetGreg

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