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iPin laser pointer for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch review [update]

Sections: iDevice Accessories, iDevice Apps, iPad, iPad Air, iPad mini, iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, iPod touch, Reviews

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The iPhone is an amazing device. It can make phone calls, send emails, take pictures, play games and more. But it can’t do everything, at least, not without a little help. For instance, it can’t function as a laser pointer. That is, it can’t be a laser pointer without the iPin laser.

2013-10-27-ip

The iPin is a tiny little accessory that’s barely bigger than the headphone connector it uses to power its laser module. It’s an accessory that, when combined with the iPin app, hopes to transform your iPhone into a professional wireless presentation controller complete with laser pointer.

03-3The iPin is a very small accessory. Actually, it’s almost too small; it’s essentially a headphone jack with a laser inside of it. When inserted into your iPhone, it sticks out less than 2mm. Seriously. There’s a small tab that hangs out that functions like an on/off switch. The iPin itself can only make an electrical connection to your headphone port when this tab is pointing the right direction (pointed towards the front or back of the iPhone, not the sides). Turn it 90 degrees and it won’t do anything. Your iPhone won’t even know it’s there. It’s as if nothing is even plugged in.

Just in case you don’t want to keep this thing plugged in all the time, there’s a small earphone clip included that allows you to attach the iPin to your normal headphone’s connector. While this works, it makes me a little nervous that the iPin might fall out. But hey, maybe you worry less than I do.

01-4To use the iPin, you’ll need to download the iPin app. The iPin itself can only be turned on by the actions of this app. Basically, it’s playing a certain frequency through the headphone port which is used to power the laser. (This is not something you’d want to listen to with headphones, so don’t do that.) Anyway, this is all controlled by the app. It’s like a giant virtual laser on/off button.

But the app can do more than turn the laser on and off; it also functions as a wireless presentation accessory. You can control a presentation with gestures (PowerPoint or Keynote), start a timer, and use a trackpad to directly control a computer wirelessly. This, of course, requires a host program for Windows or Mac.

As cool as it is to put lasers in or on anything, the iPin laser doesn’t feel like the best solution to the problem it’s trying to solve. The iPin laser is a red laser beam with less than 1mW of power. That’s actually pretty dim. It gets the job done, but if you’re excited by lasers in general, this one looks like a toy. Additionally, using an app to turn a laser on and off just isn’t as satisfying as the tactile feedback of a standard laser pointer. And I hate to say it, but you can get a red laser pointer pretty much anywhere for next to nothing.

The iPin laser isn’t the best laser pointer and it’s not the best presentation control app, but it can do both of those things, which certainly makes it unique. It’s really quite an impressive accessory in terms of just how small it is, but this also makes me very nervous that it will be easily lost. The iPin is certainly capable of doing everything it’s advertised to do, but it’s a jack of all trades and a master of none.

Then again, this could easily make your iPhone into the most expensive cat toy ever, and there’s certainly something to be said about that.

Appletell Rating:

Provides: Laser pointer attachment
Developer: Conary Enterprise Co., Ltd.
Minimum Requirements: iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad
Price: $49.99
Availability: Now

Updated November 19th, 8:22 a.m. – The developers sent us the following clarification on Jake’s complaint about the strength of the laser:

… it’s true the iPin doesn’t have the strongest laser, but at the same time, it uses a red-orange 635nm diode, as opposed to a deep red 650nm diode, which makes it easier for the human eye to see (the eye is more sensitive to orange-red than deep red). Increasing the laser’s power would drain an iPhone’s battery, so instead, the iPin uses this orange-red 635nm diode to increase the laser’s visibility.

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