The cellphone camera has come a long way, I remember when they were just these grainy fuzzy things that you could barely make out what it was a picture of, now we’ve got multiple megapixel cameras in our our phones and tablets but the problem is that the flashes in those devices aren’t exactly the best, that technology hasn’t caught up to the camera technology I guess. If you need more light there is a solution and that’s to get something like what I have for review today, the iblazr, which is an LED flash that can be used with both iOS and Android devices to put a little more light on your subject. The iblazr has four LEDs in it and can be used as a regular flash or as a constant light source like if you’re taking a video where you might need that light. Read on…
The packaging for the iblazr is nice looking with lots of information on it and it opens up to show you the iblazr itself.
Once you get everything unpacked you’ll find the iblazr itself along with a cloth carrying bag, brief instruction sheet, cold shoe mount, diffuser and special charging cable.
Here’s some better views of the accessories listed above that come with the iblazr for you:
Here’s the iblazr in several views and it features four LEDs that can product up to 270 LUX flash at 1 meter distance. It uses the audio jack of your phone or tablet so it has a what looks like a headphone connector on it. The connector is also used to charge the iblazr as well. On the top is a single button to turn the iblazr on and off and it’s also used to adjust the level of brightness when not attached to your phone.
Here’s the iBlazr on the cold shoe mount. I should note that it doesn’t actually lock into place, it just rests in the hole of the mount.
The diffuser just slips over the iblazr and there’s a section on the top that sticks out so you can feel where the button is making it easier to use.
You can use the diffuser with the cold shoe mount as well if need be.
Specifications and Features
The iblazr fully synchronized flash for iPhone, iPad and Android. Small, powerful, multifunctional iblazr apps are working with smartphones and tablets that support supports iOS 7 (iPhone 4 and higher, iPad 2 and higher, Android 4.0 and higher. The most popular smartphones like Samsung Galaxy S series have received more attention from iblazr app development team so you will find better iblazr synchronization. Each device has its own camera specification, so our team was working with each camera to find the perfect flash synchronization. Moreover, we developed the SDK and continuously looking for new camera apps that will support iblazr functions. The flash is constructed to include four hi-end LEDs that provide an uncompromising amount of light for such a small size. The light comes through 70-degree optics, of our development, which works perfectly with any smartphone or tablet (yes, even the iPhone 5 too)
Off-smartphone Constant Light Modes:
1st Power mode – 16 Lux at 1 m (similar to smartphone flashlight)
2nd Power mode – 60 Lux at 1 m
3rd Power mode – 120 Lux at 1 m
Flash mode – up to 270 Lux at 1 m
Constant light mode- Dimmable 0% to 100%
Thermo sensor (preventing from overheat)
Battery controller (check the battery level by pushing the button for three sec)
Light Controller (measuring ambient light)
Height: 27 mm (1 inch)
Width: 32 mm (1.25 inch)
Depth: 9 mm (0.35 inch)
Weight: 10 grams
Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Charging via USB to computer system or power adapter
Capacity – 110 mAh
Up to – 500 flashes
Constant light mode:
1st Power mode – up to 3 hours
2nd Power mode – up to 50 minutes
3rd Power mode – up to 25 minutes
Sleep Mode – Up to three month
Price: $49.99 (from bitemyapple)
Price: $49.99 (from Amazon at time of review)
The first thing I did was charge the iblazr with the included USB cable. The iblazr has four LEDs and when charging each represents 25% so when they all light up that means it’s done charging. I’ll be honest, I do not like the charging system as you have to use the special cable that comes with it and if you lose it you can’t charge it anymore. I don’t understand why they just didn’t use a microUSB connection for charging as there is room on the iblazr for a port. The specs say that you should get up 500 flashes on a single charge and I don’t take many pictures with my phone in a year so we’ll just have to take their word for it I guess.
The iblazr can be used when not attached to your phone, there are three levels of brightness that you adjust by tapping the button on top. This is one thing I very much like about it as it can be used as a flashlight in an emergency if need be. According to the specs the battery should last up to three hours in the lowest power setting but only about 25 minutes on the highest setting.
Here’s a couple shots of the iblazr with the diffuser on for you:
I used the iblazr with the HTC One Android phone and I have an Otterbox Commuter Series Case on it and it has a rubber cover over the headphone jack which sort of gets in the way of the iblazr so I took the case off for a while for testing. What I’m saying basically is that some cases might interfere with the iblazr, it just depends on the case of course.
You’ll need to download the iblazr app before you begin and yes you must use the app if you want to use the iblazr flash as it won’t just work with the built-in camera feature unless you use it in constant on mode. When you open the iblazr app you’re told to inert the iblazr and then the app will open to the live camera view.
The app screen is mostly the camera view with icons on the top and bottom. The large lightning symbol at the bottom center is to actually take the pictures, or the shutter button. Across the top the icons are for gallery view the pictures you’ve taken, settings and then switch from back to front camera and vice versa if your phone has both cameras. The bottom left side is actually a slider to switch from still to movies taking and then on the right side is another slider to switch from flash to always on. When you change to always on mode a blue slider bar will appear on the display at the bottom so you can adjust the brightness of the LEDs as needed.
There are only two choices in the settings and that’s to use the iblazr and the phone flash at the same time or not in both flash and constant modes.
I didn’t get a screenshot of it but when you first start the app there’s a notification that you need to turn the volume all the way up to use the iblazr and I thought I did that but the iblazr wasn’t working for me. After some fiddling around I found that I had to actually turn the music volume all the way up and not just the ringtone volume to use the iblazr.
I did run into an issue with the app. When I press the power button on the HTC One it turns off the screen and if I do this while the app is running it will crash. Not that big of a problem but when it happens you can’t go directly back to the app like you can if you were using the regular camera. When I’m taking pictures with the HTC One and I want to stop but take pictures soon again I can just press the power button and the screen shuts off and suspends the camera. Press the power button again and then slide to unlock and it takes me right back to the camera to take more pictures; the iblazr app can’t do that for whatever reason it seems.
Here’s some sample pictures for you, I chose these two items because they were colorful.
This is taken with the regular HTC camera app and flash:
These are taken with the iblazr app and iblazr itself and as you can plainly see there is a big shadow there and I’m guessing the phone is getting in the way. This shadow happens more when taking close up pictures though. I think this also has to do with the configuration or placement of the audio jack so depending on your phone this might not happen.
The last thing I have to note is the price and at $50 I think it’s a bit too expensive honestly.
The iblazr is one of those things that I find useful but it certainly has a lot of room for improvement.
If you take a lot of pictures and you find you need more light then the iblazr is certainly something that you should seriously look into as it does work well.
The iblazr has a few problems. Two problems stand out for me as major issues, the first one being the app crashes when turn your screen off, that’s bad when the app that you need to use the product doesn’t work. Now you might not ever run onto that app problem, you might take pictures and then you’re done, but we live in a time where pictures are a big thing with social media and what not and I find the app crashing to be a big problem overall.
The next issue is the charging system. I can understand why they did what they did, but it still really make no sense to me as you cannot easily replace the charging cable it you lose it. It’s not just them though, it’s many companies out there today that use these non-standard charging jacks and systems.
Another small issue is the shadows on the pictures, this happens only when you take close up shots using the iblazr so it’s not that large of a concern though, but something that should be noted for sure.
Yet another small issue is compatibility with cases. I think everyone uses a case with their phones and yes not every case is like the Otterbox I have that has the cover over the audio jack, but again, this is something that should be noted.
The last little issue is the price, and in my opinion the iblazr just doesn’t feel like something that should cost $50, especially when the app doesn’t work correctly.
On the plus side though, the iblazr does work well as an extra flash or to provide a constant light source for videos in low light situations.
I also very much like the fact that the iblazr can be used by itself as a light source for taking pictures or for an emergency light if need be. I know a lot of people out there, me included, use the flash on their phones as light source and the iblazr is tiny and yet very bright.
Battery life seems to be decent, if the specs are to be believed then you can get at least 500 flashes or uses on a single charge.
+Should offer up to 500 flashes on single charge
+Includes diffuser, cold shoe and carrying bag
+Fairly simple to use
+Can be used as flashlight in emergency
-App crashes when you turn off screen sometimes
-Might not work well with some phone cases
-Non standard charging system
|Scores Out of 10
|Design / Aesthetic
|Value / Price
|Performance / Usage
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