GeekDad Review: HISY Bluetooth Camera Remote for iPhone

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HISY in black
HISY remote is available in black or white. Image copyright HISY

I’m not big on the whole selfie thing, but there are many occasions when I like to get into the picture for group shots with my family and friends. If we planned things ahead, a proper camera on a tripod with a timer is the usual method for capturing the moments. Spontaneous shots are more likely to be on one of our iPhones. There are self-timer apps available for these siutations, but I think HISY has come up with a much more useful solution: the HISY Bluetooth Camera Remote for iPhone.

HISY in hand
HISY remote is tiny. Photo by Brad Moon

The HISY is a tiny, round widget (see the photo of the review unit in my hand), with a single button, a red LED and Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE) radio. The idea is you push the button and your iPhone snaps a photo or starts shooting video. It’s pretty simple and it works well.

Setting up the device took all of 30 seconds, and that included taking it out of the box. The CR2032 battery (good for two years) is already installed, so you just push the button for a few seconds until the red LED flashes, open Bluetooth in your iOS settings and pair the device. Done.

So long as your Camera app is open, pushing the button on the HISY will immediately trigger an action. This depends on the setting your Camera app is using (for example, if the flash is on, the flash will also trigger; if it’s set to video, pushing the button starts video rolling and pushing it again stops it).

A remote like this is extremely useful, letting you compose group shots without running to beat the timer and — if you’re so inclined — selfies can be had without worry of arm shake. My teen daughter confirmed the selfie thing for me…

If taking photos with an iPad is how you roll, HISY works with those and the 5th generation iPod Touch as well — so long as they’re running iOS 7, you’re good. Outside of Apple’s own Camera app, HISY supports other third party apps as well (full list here).

No Android support, but HISY is providing updates on future device compatibility, so it may be coming.

HISY headphone jack dongle
The HISY headphone jack attachment — looks useful… Image copyright HISY

In terms of range, HISY says 30-90 feet. Maybe if you have a clear line of sight. I found walls and other obstacles quickly ate into that range, but I could still stand in one room of the house and snap a picture in another room — call it 20-30 feet between iPhone and HISY.

My only quibble with the device is its headphone jack attachment (shown in the photo). This is a good idea — something this tiny could easily get lost, so a little strap with a plastic headphone jack insert is a great way to keep track of it. Unfortunately, threading the strap through the two holes in the HISY to secure it defeated me. I simply could not get the cord through, even with a paperclip. I took the whole thing apart too, hoping I could thread the cord through more easily with the battery removed, but not dice. Oh well, I guess I’ll glue it on.

Other than the stubborn headphone attachment, the HISY is a pretty slick little device and iPhone photographers will likely get a lot out of it. At $24.99, it’s a bargain too.

Disclosure: HISY provided a sample device for the purposes of this review.

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