The award-winning initial model of the Swivl was certainly innovative, great for many video uses. We're sad that we haven't been able to use it for a Videomaker Challenge yet. There were some touchy movements in our unofficial office tests, but the function of getting a camera to follow you where a tripod can't - is invaluable and we understand those of you that work on one-person crews. Say you've got an accomplice that is some distance away from you, the remote control should be a professionally intriguing and fun application. (Remote camera heads go for thousands of dollars as high-end products.)
It has a vertical tilt of 20 degrees, does this still leave more to be desired? It should it be said that allowing for more movement can be bad, afterall, so many shots should come from a locked tripod. There are a limited number of instances when you'd want the camera to tilt much more, perhaps this is all a grand effort to stray from generating emotion from perspective.
Regardless of vertical tilt, powering is always an issue, especially with battery-operated devices, so the new Swivl's rechargeable batteries are a great plus, couple this with AC power and the usability just keeps on increasing. Satarii makes even more progress by adding support for Android devices, and to close out this paragraph on powering options, the new Swivl can also charge your device.
The mic jack and USB control are definitely big additions. The full capabilities of these aren't likely to be realized until little Swivl whites ($149) and silvers ($229) are in the hands of users, and the tight placement is a notable design, again, that's a question of how users will actually use it. Here at the end of this article you may still have some gift shopping to do, but if you know a person that likes Christmas in July then maybe the new Swivl is a score.
Jackson Wong is an associate editor for Videomaker.