Let's face it: While the iPhone 4s takes amazing pictures, it isn't the easiest device to hold. Belkin's $49 LiveAction Camera Grip is an answer to that. This simple attachment makes it easier to hold your iPhone in one hand, making for steadier images while shooting pictures and video.
Design and Setup
The LiveAction Grip snugly secures itself into an iPhone's 30-pin port, and two spring-loaded clamps on either side grab the phone even more firmly. On top of the Grip is a large black button for capturing still images, and a smaller red one for recording video; on the bottom is a tripod mount. Thanks to a sturdy design, a small dimple for your middle finger and a rubberized finish, the Grip fit very comfortably in our hand. While light at just 1 ounce, it had enough heft to make our iPhone feel like a real pocket camera.
With the 2.9 x 1.75 x 1.2-inch Grip attached, the iPhone didn't slip as easily into our pockets as without, but we liked that we could use the Grip without having to remove our Griffin iPhone case.
In order to use the LiveAction Grip, we had to download LiveAction's free camera app, which is very much like the iPhone's standard camera application. Onscreen commands enable the user to switch from front to back cameras, turn on the flash, set a timer or choose where to focus. After taking a picture, we had the option of saving it to the camera roll, emailing it or posting the picture to Facebook.
Click to EnlargeIn addition to the LiveAction Grip's quick shutter-response speed, we liked that we no longer needed to have both hands on the device for steady pictures and there was no more awkward reaching for the capture button when using the front-facing camera.
While snapping a photo is a responsive process, videos sometimes took a few takes because the button designated for recording is tiny and hard to press at times.
The major drawback to the LiveAction Grip is that it doesn't work from the iPhone's lock screen, as the native camera app does. While you'll be able to take steadier pictures, you may miss some spur-of-the-moment shots while you unlock the phone. Plus, you can't recharge your iPhone with the Grip attached.
The $49 Belkin LiveAction Grip doesn't weigh too much, can slip fairly easily into a pocket or any bag, and is a great way to take steadier shots from more natural positions. Since it takes one more extra step to use than the native iPhone camera app, it's best reserved for planned photography outings.