Tech News on G4
Fritz Frame for iPhone 5 and 5s
July 29, 2014
By Greg Gazin - Apple Gazin' - G4 Canada
Say it quickly and it sounds like you're saying "freeze frame", but it's actually Fritz Frame. It's a cleverly designed video stabilizer, stand and case that allows you to position your iPhone 5 or 5S virtually any which way, even hang it, so you can do Facetime, watch videos and even take those must-have selfies, totally hands-free.
Frank Mansfeld, Fritz Frame CEO and director, and his designers have exploited almost every viewing angle. Fritz Frame is hinged at the bottom, pivots at the centre and can rotate a full 360 degrees in any direction. Movement is smooth and precise on both the hinge and pivot, each with a six-step stop position.
Fritz Frame is amazingly sturdy, yet light, CNC machined from aircraft grade aluminum. It has a fine finish and even where there are square corners you'll find them smoothly finished. The attention to detail down to the locking pins and countersink screws, of course, is something you'd expect from German Engineering.
In fact, although the frame covers both the phone's speakers and mic they've even added small inconspicuous sound tunnels so as to not impede sound performance. A quick Voice Memo test proved that to be true.
Beyond a stand, it can also be used as a grip by holding one end of the frame while open. Furthermore, not only does it make for a perfect arm extender, it's also a stabilizer and you'll have less camera shake in your videos. That's good for people like me who consume copious amounts of caffeine.
When installing your iPhone into your Fritz Frame, to keep the perimeter of the phone from being scratched, they've cleverly inserted rubber strips in carefully selected points within the frame. Having done so, and by not having a full rubber gasket, it makes it easier to insert and remove your iPhone, while at the same time, it keeps it snug and secure so it won't fall out.
There is no rubber anywhere else on the unit. As such, Fritz Frame may not stay in place if you're using it on a non-flat surface- such as an incline or curve - like your car's dashboard.
For that, you'll need the optional Fritz Frame Clicks – slotted rectangular shaped rubber stoppers with 3M adhesive which you can stick to tough surfaces like dashboards, armrests and others. Once placed, you simply click your Fritz Frame into its precut grooves.
Hands-Free Companion App
It might seem unusual, but Fritz Frame does have an iOS companion app. It allows you to use voice control to snap pictures or shoot video with your iPhone hands-free. For pictures, all you need to do is say, “Photo”. To shoot video, say “Film” and “Stop” when you're done. You can also manually adjust the app's sensitivity and set a 0, 5 or 10 second wait time.
Overall, Fritz Frame is a clever little product. The creators call it a case; I'm thinking it's more like a fancy bumper. In fact it's more like a combination bumper, grip and multi-position stand.
I'm impressed with its extremely precise design and finish, unlike a lot of the other products that come off the lines with rough edges and partially thought through features.
There's nothing cheap about the Fritz Frame; I compare the Fritz Frame to a fine pair of eyeglass frames. It's seems delicate and light, yet sturdy enough to protect your iPhone from falls - if it falls flat or on its edge. For screen or back cover protection, you'll need to find another solution.
The only thing I find is that it's too bad that you can't use your headphones while in the closed position. I assume they needed to avoid having a cut-out in the outer frame to keep it stabilized and balanced.
Fritz Frame sells for $99 US plus $10 shipping and can be purchased directly from their website. The Fritz Frame Clicks come in a pack of 6 (3 pairs) for $19. For simple utility, (i.e., someone looking for just a frame or stand) they might find Fritz Frame somewhat on the pricey side. And while it's certainly a premium product, perhaps a price point somewhere in the $75-$80 range including the rubber stoppers, might make it more appealing.Fritz Frame is compatible with iPhone 5 & 5S. It's currently available in Black or Silver; Gold and Pink options are expected some time in August. And while the iPhone 6 hasn't even been announced the company has committed to creating a model for it.
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