Selfy Hands-On: Remote Control Built Into Smartphone Case
The first selfie was taken in 1839 and took several minutes to execute. Luckily, the speed and ease for taking a selfie has improved over time. A new smartphone case and remote takes that to a new level. iLuv's Selfy bumper for the iPhone 5/5s and Samsung Galaxy S5 features a slide-out Bluetooth remote control that lets you trigger your native camera app. You can get the Selfy in black or hot pink for $49 on iLuv's website. We took the Selfy out for a spin and love its convenience and ease of use.
There are plenty of Bluetooth remote control devices for your smartphone's camera, such as Audiovox's ShutterBall or Shuttr's wireless camera remote, but most of them are external attachments or require third party apps to work. iLuv has integrated a remote control into a case so you won't have to root around in your bag to find it. The case itself is also shock-absorbent to protect your phone from falls.
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Pairing the remote control to our iPhone 5s was a relatively painless process. All we had to do was turn on our phone's Bluetooth, hold down the button on the Selfy for four seconds to turn it on, and tap "iLuv Selfy" in our settings.
You only need to go through this process once, unless you pair your Selfy with another phone. Once it's been linked, you only have to hold the Selfy's button down for four seconds to turn it on, and it will be ready for use.
The Selfy goes to standby mode after 1 minute of inactivity, and shuts itself off if it hasn't been used in 5 minutes. iLuv's equipped the remote control with a replaceable watch battery that the company says will last between 6 months to 2 years, depending on use.
Since the Selfy remote is basically a proxy for the volume up button on your iPhone, you can use it to trigger the shutter on any app that makes use of that key. On the native camera app, this means it triggers the shutter, and holding it down activates burst mode, letting you take multiple shots in rapid succession. You can even have use it to start recording clips when your camera is in video mode.
Those using the Selfy on a Galaxy S5 can only use it with the native camera app and will only be able to shoot stills for now.
We really liked being able to slide out the remote wherever we were -- from standing on an escalator to walking around in a park -- and snap a shot. The button was easy to depress, but secure enough that you won't have to worry about it accidentally turning on while in your purse or backpack. It was also easy enough to slide out the remote control with just a thumb. You can use it with both the front and rear cameras.
Our pictures turned out crisp since we didn't have to struggle to hit the shutter or volume button on our iPhone. Those who like to take candid pictures of passersby will find that the remote control lets you easily snap stealth shots without people noticing.
Outside of the camera, you can also use the Selfy to increase your ringer volume, even though this isn't its intended use. You can use the remote with apps that make use of the volume button (on an iPhone).
iLuv will also release a series of accessories that will be compatible with the sliding mechanism on the back of the Selfy case, such as a mini tripod, helmet, handlebar and car mounts. While we appreciate the convenience the Selfy provides, it does add significant girth to your phone, thanks to the protruding backside. Overall though, those who frequently take pictures on the go will find the Selfy an excellent companion.