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This camera grip talks to your iPhone with ultrasonic waves

Lots of physical buttons — but they come at a price

The Pictar is a new $90 iPhone accessory that gives you physical buttons and a one-handed grip. It's a lot like the "Friends" camera module for the new LG G5, except instead of clipping in to your phone, it slides over it like a case. (Unfortunately, it's not a very practical case — it's too clunky and doesn't cover the full phone.) It launched today on Kickstarter, and the company behind it — Miggo — has a history of delivering to Kickstarter backers. That said, even if this project is fully funded, the products won't ship until the end of the year.

Pictar doesn't use Bluetooth like most of its competitors. The Pictar emits an ultrasonic noise every time you hit one of the buttons, and the Pictar app — which you have to use, but is actually pretty nice! — uses the iPhone's microphone to pick up the signal. (This also means it's not slowly draining your phone's battery life, or the case's, which should last a few weeks between charges.) We got a demo in The Verge office, and this worked pretty well. There was a slight delay, but nothing you wouldn't encounter with a similar Bluetooth product. It's hard to say how well it would work in a noisy environment, though.

Good stuff

  • Customizable physical buttons, including a two-stage shutter button
  • Compatible with multiple versions of the iPhone
  • Built-in tripod mount
  • Allows for single-hand use
  • Company has a history of delivering to Kickstarter backers

Bad stuff

  • Won't ship until after the next iPhone is released
  • Relatively expensive
  • Bulky
  • Doesn't double as a practical phone case