The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Z_CNHI News Service

August 27, 2013

Cooler iPhone photos, in a snap

(Continued)

The lenses slide on and off, which is cool — and not so cool. If you throw the phone into a purse or a back pocket, the lens slides off. So, if you're careful, it's a handy tool; if not, your lens will be dropping off and getting lost at the bottom of your satchel.

— Anne Farrar

Bamboo Solar Charger for phone or tablet $35.

I was super-excited to find a solar charger that's within budget. Being made out of sustainable bamboo made it all the better. After the initial wall charge, I looped it onto my satchel so that it hung out as I walked around the city. Using my own iPhone cord, I hooked the charger to my phone so that I could shoot for a prolonged amount of time.

Issues: First of all, I'm not much of a cord person, so having my phone hooked up to the charger as I walked and used the phone was a bit irritating. Putting that aside, I had a hard time keeping the charger pointing upward, toward the sun. It kept swinging and flipping, then not charging. I'm sure that there's a formula for making it stay in place, but I didn't land on it.

Nevertheless, it's a great backup if you're out and about for the day and can't plug in somewhere. When the sun was shining and the solar panel was upright, the battery more than kept up with my power use.

— Anne Farrar

Optrix iPhone Adventure Suit for iPhone 5 $130.

I looked at several waterproof phone cases and ended up choosing the Optrix because it comes with an attached wide-angle lens. I didn't have time to take the case swimming but opted to dip it into the fountain at Washington's Dupont Circle instead. As I held my breath (I live on my phone!), under it went for a few seconds. It stayed dry!

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