UNBOXED: Reviewing the Hitcase CRIO Lenses for the iPhone X
As a member of the media, I’m always looking for ways to do my job more efficiently—especially while on the road, traveling to different tech shows around the country. One of the biggest drags on productivity has been lugging around large DSLRs that take up so much space and take marginally better photos that the iPhone X that I carry around with me.
As such, I’m a sucker for smartphone photography accessories. More specifically, I jump at the opportunity to get my hands on smartphone camera lenses. As more a more portable option than a full-blown camera, these tiny lens attachments help to upgrade the already-stellar camera systems that are integrated into our smartphones.
And it’s no different with Hitcase and their CRIO lens kit, which we recently got our hands on to review. Earlier this year, Hitcase rolled out an iPhone X version of their CRIO case, which utilizes a magnetic attachment system for the various lens options.
Available in a $99 three-pack or individually for $39.99 each, the lens options include TrueLUX Wide, TrueLUX SuperWide, and TrueLUX Macro models. Bundled with the $40 case itself and you’re looking at a total of about $140, which is slightly more than the three-lens bundle available from Olloclip for the iPhone X (which just launched at the start of May), which doesn’t require the extra case.
But here’s why I think it’s worth having the case: Hitcase’s magnetic link system for the lenses allows each individual lens to attach to the back of the iPhone without the need for a piece of plastic to sit over the top of the phone. In the case of Olloclip’s product, that mounting system effectively renders the FaceID system useless while you’re using their lenses. Instead of using some odd-shaped attachment, Hitcase integrated their attachment system into a very familiar form factor—a smartphone case. So, not only does the lens stay out of the way of the rest of the phone, but the case itself can act as your everyday method of protecting your smartphone.
So, while you’re spending $40 for the Hitcase CRIO case, you’d be doing so anyway to ensure your iPhone X was properly skinned and protected from potential drops.
The only downfall with the magnetic link system that Hitcase opted for is that it’s not ideal for action photography. The lenses are secure in traditional shooting environments, but once you start moving the camera all around or mounting it on yourself or some moving object, you’re taking a risk that the lens will detach mid-shot or mid-video.
As for the lenses themselves, I found myself favoring the SuperWide and Marco lenses more often. The Wide lens is great, but I personally preferred the even-wider field of view provided by the SuperWide that the Wide just felt useless to me. That’s just my style of photography. All three lenses, though, took exceptional photos and were incredibly easy to use. You will find that the microfiber carrying case comes very much in handy as fingerprints happen easily while putting on and removing the silicon lens protectors, but that comes with the territory of owning smartphone camera lenses.
At the end of the day, the Hitcase CRIO system ended up becoming one of my all-time favorite smartphone camera systems, which I’ll continue to use in place of bulky camera equipment.