Even though Apple’s addition of a front-mounted FaceTime camera to the iPhone made self-photography much easier, taking good shots with the higher resolution rear iSight camera remains a challenge. Is the issue serious enough to warrant a $50 accessory solution? Dexim’s betting “yes” with the release of ClickStik Bluetooth Remote + Camera Stand ($50), which bundles a wireless shutter release button and three-legged stand. Together, the ClickStik parts allow users to remotely snap pictures on recent iPhones and iPod touches from up to 30 feet away, with partial support for iPads. Also in the box is a Micro-USB cable for charging the Bluetooth wireless remote controller.
The remote is about as simple as it can get and does exactly what it’s promised to, although not quite in the manner we were hoping for. Measuring a little less than two inches long, the black soft touch-coated plastic controller has a single button at the top inside a chrome-colored ring, and a Micro-USB port for recharging at the opposite end. It ships with a wrist strap attached, so you can wear it rather than pocketing it. To toggle the power on and off, you just press the button until a single LED starts flashing. This puts it into pairing mode, and allows it to connect to any supported iPad, iPhone, or iPod.
Our initial thought was that the remote duplicated the functionality of the iOS volume up button, and would therefore work with any camera app—notably including the one built in to iOS. Instead, the remote uses its own protocol, and requires Dexim’s free ClickStik app. This application duplicates the still photography functionally of Apple’s Camera app, though the version we tested left out video recording capabilities. It also has Instagram-like filters, stamps, text, and drawing options, in addition to the ability to share via Facebook, Twitter, and email. While not as elegantly designed as Apple’s official option, it gets the job done.
Although the remote can be used with the iPad, Dexim’s 3.75” tall stand is made solely for iPhones and iPod touches. Thankfully the holder is flexible enough to support multiple generations of devices, whether they’re inside cases or bare. We’ve seen this three-armed style of stand before, and it’s not fantastic, but it works. The two bottom corners are supported with rubber-lined plastic, and an arm grips the iPhone or iPod at the top, moving up and down to accommodate the iPhone/iPod model and case you’re using.
The device holder is attached to the body of the stand with a ball joint that can be adjusted based on your desired position via two dials, which help the device stay in your choice of positions. Three plastic legs keep the holder upright. When not in use, the two smaller legs fold into the larger one, and a long Velcro strap wraps around them. The whole thing works fine, although it strikes us as being a bit overcomplicated. For storage purposes, the Velcro strap is way too long, but Dexim suggests that the strap could alternately be used to mount the stand on a pole rather than a desk.
ClickStik lives up to Dexim’s promises. Though it’s not as fancy as might be expected for the price, the stand holds your pocket-sized iOS device well, and the remote is reliable, fast, and easy to use—really the star of the show here. Three issues do give us pause: the overall necessity of such an accessory, the price, and app compatibility. Most users will struggle to find $50 worth of value in such a simple stand and remote control set; additionally, some users will really prefer to use the remote with apps that aren’t supported, and possibly never will be. That said, if you frequently need to snap tripod-assisted, remote-controlled pictures and are willing to use Dexim’s app to do that, ClickStik may merit the price tag; on the strength of its included parts at the $50 price, it earns a limited recommendation.
Company and Price
Compatible: iPad 2/iPad (3rd-Gen)*, iPhone 3GS/4/4S, iPod touch 4G