The first time I saw a selfie stick I was experiencing what it was like to float thousands of ridiculous feet above the street next to the Willis Tower in Chicago. The only thing preventing me from splatting was a layer of transparent glass.
But the moment was incomplete because my wife and I both wanted to get our picture taken together in the crazy glass cube hanging off the side of the building over the city. But after I exited attraction I witnessed something strange: an Asian fellow was in the cube by himself with a long pole holding a camera.
My wife and I laughed hysterically; what was this guy doing? But then it hit me that what he had was sort of brilliant. He didn’t need anyone else to take his picture (he was apparently visiting the Willis Tower solo), the stick retracted when not in use to as not to take up much space and it didn’t look like the stick would be visible in the photo.
Now I’m one of those people getting laughed at by others who have yet to witness a selfie stick in action. Yep, what I laughed at at first has now become an accessory I don’t usually leave home without if I know I I’m going to be visiting something picture-worthy.
Since the Willis Tower sighting, I’ve gone from zero to two selfie sticks (and get offers to review new versions far more often than I actually have time for). But I recently came across one that’s pretty noteworthy. At the moment, I’d call it the best selfie stick I’ve ever used or even seen.
It’s the KJstar Z07-5 and if you’re wondering how one selfie stick be better than the next, let me break it down for you. Note: this is a Chinese product and not sold in the USA as far as I can tell, but you can get it from a number of websites including GearBest or Alibaba.
All selfie sticks are not, in fact, created equal. The KJstar Z07-5 has a few noteworthy features that help to set it apart; a good grip, an solid and adaptable phone grip and, most importantly, a built-in shutter button on the handle.
Facing facts, most selfie sticks are made cheaply. That means that they usually don’t last long. This selfie stick, on the other hand, is built a little bit tougher. And the place where this shows the most is in the grip. Specifically, it’s not loose. There’s nothing worse than a selfie stick that spins upside down because the grip isn’t glued onto the actual stick well enough and the weight of the camera or phone flips it around. Plus, it’s very… grippy.
Importantly, the phone grip is a beast. And by that I mean it can not only easily accommodate large phones (like my iPhone 6 Plus), but it can firmly hold them in place too.
I hate different smartphone adapters and accessories that fit only one type of phone; that’s another reason why I really appreciate this selfie sticks phone grip. While it can stretch to fit a large phone like the iPhone 6 Plus, it can also handle smaller phones — like an iPhone 5 — just as well.
That happens to work well for my family because we have phones of varying sizes. But it might also be great for someone who currently has a smaller-sized phone but is looking to upgrade in the future; this way you won’t have to buy another selfie stick down the road.
This selfie stick’s killer feature, though, is it’s wireless shutter button. One of the most annoying things about trying to snap a picture of yourself (or the people you’re with) is messing with a timer. Now, thanks to this selfie stick, you don’t have to: just snap the pic when you’ve struck the perfect pose.
True, you could use a wireless Bluetooth remote dedicated to such a task, but that’s just another thing to haul around with you. In my experience, they are small and easy to lose (or, but differently, they are hard to keep track of). When everything is all together in one package it makes things simpler.
Pairing the selfie stick with your camera happens via Bluetooth. It does feel a bit odd having to charge a selfie stick, but hey, it’s worth it if you want to take better selfies with your phone.
Like any good selfie stick, this one is light and compact and can easily fit into a backpack or other bag to haul along with you.
Until I find something better I’m calling this the best selfie stick around (if you’ve run into one you like — or that sounds cooler — let me know in the comments below).