Take the Xistera out of its box and you’ll be disappointed. It’s ugly as hell, like a cheap corkscrew, and it looks like it won’t really do much. But hidden in those graceless curves and eye-gouging corners is what a lazier journalist than me would call a “Swiss Army knife of iPhoneography.”
Here’s what Xistera adds to your iPhone:
- Magnetic lens mount
- LED light bank
- 2x tripod mounts
- Headphone cable wrap
- Key ring
- Bottle opener
The Xistera XS iPhoneography Pro kit contains the sharp-edged bracket itself, plus a pair of lenses and the 8×4 LED grid lamp. The L-shaped gadget slides over the corner of your iPhone 5/s like an oversize Olloclip, adding an array of accessories. First is the magnetic circle around the lens, letting you add any magnetic accessory lenses. On each side of the L you get a standard tripod screw, and in one of these there’s a key chain adapter screwed in (remove this to add an accessory).
Slots cut in either side allow you to slip in the iPhone and use the Xistera as a kickstand in many directions; a metal spike at the end of the long edge has an easy-to-lose rubber cap that lets it act as a stylus.
And that scary-looking spiky curve in the crook of the L? That’s there to open beer bottles.
Despite the ugliness, the Xistera works pretty well. The rubberized lining grips the iPhone but slides on and off easily enough when you want it to. The cut-out slots for using the unit as a kickstand also grip tight. However, the positioning of these slots seems to be based on the ease of adding them to the rest of the rig, rather than putting them in the best place to make a stand. This results in a wobbly stand.
The magnets work fine, and the lenses are the same quality as you find just about anywhere (with the exception of the latest Olloclips, which have better optics). The LED unit – which retails separately for $45 – is acceptable. The lights light up blindingly bright, but the plastic case feels a little cheap.
When the Xistera is off the iPhone, it’s hard to find a place to put it. The awkward and sharp angles mean you’ll want to keep it out of your pockets. Thankfully, the Xistera has a little rocker on its top-right shoulder that lets you click the iPhone power switch underneath. This means that you could leave the “case” in place at all times.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one bracket/lens/accessory holder/tripod mount for your iPhone, you should certainly consider the Xistera. It’s pretty good and offers lots of functionality. If you already own a bunch of magnetic lenses, it’s an even better bet. However, it might be best to avoid the whole $100 rig I tested, because its only advantage is convenience — that you can get everything in one go. There are better lights, lenses and stands out there, but you’ll have to track them all down separately.
|Xistera by Xizix ($99 list as tested)
The good: Does everything. Lots of utility.
The bad: Feels cheap. Lots of sharp edges.
The verdict: Not bad, but not really worth the asking price.
Buy from Xizix