Hagibis Magsafe NVME SSD Hard Drive Enclosure Review

I recently had the chance to review the Hagibis external solid state drive enclosure, a device that magnetically attaches to the back of an iPhone—or an Android phone with an adapter—allowing for video recording directly onto an external drive. You can see my full video review here.

The enclosure is designed to house a 2230 NVMe SSD which is not included. The choice of NVME SSD is important as the iPhone as very strict power requirements for externally attached drives. Hagibis put together a helpful video with a number of popular SSDs to see which ones work best. The enclosure itself is equipped with a sizable capacitor to mitigate potential power issues.

In my research, I learned that not all NVMe drives are created equal in terms of power consumption. A Kingston drive I initially considered was too power-hungry for the iPhone’s restrictions. But I did find a Lexar drive (compensated affiliate link) that, despite not advertising its power consumption, performed admirably within the setup.

The Hagibis enclosure also offers external power input through an additional USB-C port, a feature that ensures recording isn’t interrupted by power issues. This provides the option to mount additional accessories, like a battery pack, to provide the drive adequate power and charge the phone while recording.

But that power port doesn’t work for data transfer, so users looking to connect external microphones or other peripherals will need to explore alternative solutions like a USB-C hub.

Recording video directly to the SSD is an easy process now on compatible iPhones. Enabling Apple ProRes in the camera settings allows for external recording to automatically occur when the drive is attached, although the size of these files are enormous. During my tests, the Lexar drive and enclosure combo maintained its performance without any noticeable hiccups or frame drops, even during extended recording sessions.

Blackmagic’s awesome new (and free) camera app also supports recording externally with the drive. In addition to providing additional manual controls the Blackmagic app also allows for compressed video formats to be recorded vs. just ProRes on the native Apple app.

Testing the enclosure with Android devices revealed similar flexibility and functionality. Open Camera, an app I used on a Pixel 8 Pro, supported external video recording to the SSD. I’m sure there are other apps available too.

The Hagibis enclosure is a promising tool for video enthusiasts looking to expand their recording capabilities without being tethered to the limited storage of their smartphones. Its magnetic design, combined with the practicality of external SSD storage, brings a lot of convenience and efficiency to mobile video production.

My iPhone “In the Field” Video Production Set Up!

Every so often, I venture out of my usual workspace to cover events in person like last week’s Pepcom New York City tech event. My workflow for these events has evolved significantly as portable video technology has improved.

These events used to be a two person job using a much larger camcorder, but a year or two ago I switched to a GoPro that allowed me to operate as a “one man band.” For my latest trip I experimented with using my iPhone 15 Pro Max which has superior video options versus the GoPro.

You can see how I used it in my latest video. I also have a list of everything I used up on Amazon (compensated affiliate link).

The iPhone’s versatility, especially with its camera options, make it an attractive alternative to the GoPro. The iPhone boasts ultrawide, standard, and telephoto cameras, providing a range of shooting possibilities along with the ability to switch between them even while recording. The video quality, particularly the ability to capture fine details, is a significant advantage over the GoPro. The iPhone’s optical and digital stabilization features also do a great job keeping things smooth and steady.

The foundation of my setup is a small Manfrotto “pixi” tripod, which doubles as a handle. This tripod’s adaptability make it easy to switch between handheld and stationary shots. To secure my phone, I used the Glif, a robust phone mount that I’ve come to trust over the years. Its sturdy construction ensures the phone remains in place, regardless of movement or angle. Unfortunately the Glif has been sold out for quite awhile and I’m uncertain if its manufacturer, Studio Neat, intends to make more of them.

Lighting is crucial for any shoot. I employed an old Lite Panels LED light that I’ve had for well over a decade. Its brightness and compact size, powered by AA batteries, make it a reliable choice.

Sound quality is paramount, and for that, I turned to the Sennheiser AVX handheld mic. Its reliability in congested areas, like trade shows, is unmatched. The cardioid head I added to the mic better isolates my voice from the surrounding noise, ensuring clear audio in the final footage. Note that the AVX handheld comes with an omnidirectional head. You can see an example of both microphones in a trade show environment here:

However, connecting the microphone to the iPhone presented a challenge. The iPhone’s lack of a headphone jack meant I had to use an Anker USB-C to headphone adapter, coupled with a TRS to TRRS adapter. This setup ensured seamless audio integration with the video.

While shooting, I primarily used the iPhone’s standard camera app. The absence of audio monitoring meters was a minor inconvenience, but the overall experience was smooth. The transition between shots, especially when switching from a subject to myself, was slightly rocky, but manageable. In terms of storage, the iPhone’s 256GB capacity was more than sufficient for the footage which I was recording with the phone’s HEVC codec.

The iPhone’s battery was surprisingly good throughout my coverage. The event spanned roughly two and a half hours, and by its conclusion, my iPhone still had about 75-80% battery left. To be fair I wasn’t shooting for the entire time but I did have the phone on the camera app, unlocked, for most of it. For added assurance, I carry an Anker battery pack, offering rapid charging via its USB-C output.

Overall I was pleased with how well this set up worked for a solo operation. For the next outing I’m going to use the awesome new (and free) video BlackMagic Camera App that provides much greater manual control along with on-screen audio meters. It apparently was released just a day or two after my live shoot!

Retro Review: An Original iPhone Time Capsule!

It’s hard to believe it’s been 16 years since the introduction of the original iPhone. There are kids today using iPhones who weren’t even born when the first one was introduced!

I bought my Mom an original iPhone as a gift in late 2007 after their controversial price cut. She used the phone all the way until 2010 when she upgraded to an iPhone 4, but never reset the old one. In my latest video, we take a look at this digital time capsule running iPhone OS 3.1!

I purchased my own iPhone on its release date in 2007 mostly on a whim. I went up to my closest Apple store in the evening after work looking to get some hands-on time with a demo unit and assuming there would be none left in stock. To my surprise my local Apple store was mostly empty and they had plenty of iPhones to go around even at 8 p.m. that evening.

In the days that followed my purchase I became the most popular person in any setting. People (mostly strangers) would gather around wherever I went, curious to see this new piece of technology. Perhaps in some ways it was the start of my YouTube career as I was peppered with questions and demo requests. Eventually I figured out what most people wanted to see and developed my own formulaic demo procedure whenever I made a new friend.

The packaging from that time was signature Apple. Back then, they included a lot more with your phone. From a charger to headphones, and even a little dock to charge it on. I also managed to hang onto the original retail bag and my original receipt! You can see both in the video. But I did sell my iPhone when I upgraded to the 3 the following year.

One of the most surprising discoveries on my Mom’s phone was that many of the original iPhone’s features still work. Google Maps, for instance, still fetches map data. The App Store still pulls data from Apple, even though you can’t install any of the apps. I also plugged it into my Macbook Air M2 and found that it was fully supported on Mac OS 13.6, allowing for photo, music and video transfer along with backups.

But most other functions did not work correctly. The web browser struggled with modern websites, and many apps that were installed no longer functioned. The phone’s interface design philosophy, known as skeuomorphism, definitely looks dated today.

Today’s iPhones are certainly orders of magnitude better than this original, but none captured the public’s curiosity more than this original one. I can’t think of any other products in recent memory (beyond perhaps the original iPad) that captured the same level of consumer interest. Apple certainly hasn’t captured that with their new $3500 VR headset.

The New and Notable Features of the iPhone 15 Pro & Pro Max

I once again upgraded to a new iPhone, going from last year’s iPhone Pro 14 to the new iPhone Pro 15 Max. In my latest video I take a look at some of the new features introduced in this year’s model – many of them centered around Apple’s move to a USB-C port.

I opted for the larger Pro Max, which boasts a 6.7-inch display. It’s been a while since I had a phone this large, the last one being the iPhone 7 Plus back in 2016. The reason I went for the larger phone this time was the 15 Pro Max’s superior camera system. The telephoto lens on the larger phone offers a 5x Zoom, compared to the 3x on the smaller variant. This provides around a 120mm equivalent for zooming in, which I found might be useful for my video work.

Surprisingly, as someone who prefers a smaller phone the larger size of the new Pro Max didn’t bother me. It felt comfortable, and I can type on it one-handed. The slightly thinner bezels do make a difference in the hand. Even though it’s heavier than my old 14 Pro, the 15 Pro Max feels lighter. This might be due to the materials used and how the weight is balanced.

Unlike prior versions, the new iPhones have an “action button” vs. a switch for silent mode. But it can now be configured to do other things. By default, holding it down toggles between silent and ring. However, you can customize the action button to perform different actions. I had fun setting mine to activate the Tesla fart machine, much to the amusement of my kids.

The most significant change is the shift from the proprietary lightning connector to USB Type-C. On the pro phones, that port can run at Gen 2, get a 10 gigabit speeds. As a full service port the phone can take power in, output to an external display, and work with USB data devices simultaneously when connected to a USB-C dock or hub.

For video professionals, the iPhone 15 Pro can record professional ProRes video onto external SSDs at up to 4k at 60 frames per second. The phone will output HDR, SDR, or LOG video.

The camera system of the iPhone has always been impressive. With the new iPhone, you can now switch between lenses at 4K 60 while recording. The new 5x lens offers a nice natural bokeh, but it requires a lot of light to get the best results. In low light conditions, the image quality isn’t as good.

Performance-wise, the new iPhone showed a 22% performance boost over the iPhone 14 Pro in gaming on the 3DMark Wildlife Extreme Test. But the phone tends to throttle significantly when under load, leading to a drop in performance after a very short period of time.

Battery life seems decent on the phone but it’s hard to say how long that experience will last given what I experienced with my iPhone 14 Pro which lost nearly 14% of its max battery capacity in less than a year. Apple did finally add a means of checking the battery’s charge cycle count in the about section of the settings app.

While the new iPhone doesn’t feel groundbreaking compared to its predecessor, it does offer several improvements. The 5x lens, the switch to USB Type-C, and the ability to record ProRes video onto external media are the most notable new features.

All About My iPhone 14 Pro’s Dying Battery..

Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a significant change in my iPhone 14 Pro’s battery life. Despite purchasing it less than a year ago, the battery doesn’t last nearly as long as it initially did. This is the topic of my latest video.

Curious, I delved into the battery health section of my settings and found that my battery health had dropped to 89%. It seemed to be decreasing by about 1-2% every two weeks. In fact since shooting this video on Friday my battery health has dropped another percentage point.

I wasn’t the only one experiencing this. A fellow tech YouTuber, Tech Daily, shared a similar experience with his iPhone 14 Pro on Twitter. This got me thinking about the factors that could be causing this decline.

Apple defines a functional battery as one that retains 80% of its original capacity after 500 complete charge cycles. A charge cycle is counted every time the battery is completely drained and recharged. For instance, if you use up half the battery and then recharge it, that counts as half a charge cycle.

Finding the charge cycle number isn’t straightforward. However, after navigating through the settings, I discovered that my cycle count was 329. This meant that, according to Apple, my battery was still functioning within its expected performance range and would not be subject to a warranty replacement.

I began to wonder if my charging habits were affecting the battery’s longevity. Like many others, I primarily use wireless charging. I’ve noticed that my phone heats up considerably when placed on a wireless charger. Additionally, when I need a quick charge, I use high-powered USB-C PD chargers, which also generate a lot of heat. Could this heat be impacting the battery’s lifespan? TechDaily suspects that might be his problem too:

Interestingly, the European Union is considering a mandate for phones to have user-replaceable batteries. This could be a game-changer, allowing users to easily swap out batteries and extend the life of their phones.

I’m curious to hear from others about their experiences with their phone batteries. Is there a correlation between wireless and fast charging and reduced battery longevity? Let me know in the video comments or on Twitter. It’s all anecdotal for now, but gathering more data might provide some insights.

8bitDo Controllers Now Officially Apple Compatible

8BitDo controllers are now officially supported by Apple devices, including iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. I tested them on all three platforms in my latest video.

This compatibility eliminates the need for complicated workarounds to pair these controllers with iOS devices. Compatible controllers include the SN30 Pro, SN30 Pro Plus, Pro 2, the 8BitDo Ultimate Controller, and Light SE. 8bitdo has a compatibility page here for more information. Users may need to update their controller’s firmware first – even if they just purchased it recently.

The controllers can be connected via USB-C on iPads with a USB-C port, but iPhones or iPads with a Lightning connector must use Bluetooth connections. I found that they work just like Xbox and Playstation controllers once connected.

The 8-Bitdo controllers can be used with various games, including those on Apple Arcade, as well as game streaming services like Xbox Cloud Gaming. Users can remap controls and set up different profiles for their controllers using iOS settings or the 8-Bitdo Ultimate app, which allows for further customization on their more premium controllers like the Ultimate and Pro 2 controllers.

This new feature closes a big compatibility gap these controllers had since the beginning. Now if only we can get them working with Xbox and PS4/5 Consoles next!

iPhone at 15 – Original Box and Shopping Bag

The iPhone started shipping on June 29, 2007. I can’t believe it’s been that long. Incidentally I also got married that year so it’s easy to remember how many years I’ve been married based on the age of the iPhone :).

I posted this video on the extra’s channel the other day in recognition of the iPhone’s 15th birthday. It’s kind of a re-run as I made this short on the main channel a little while back.

Those of us suckers who bought an iPhone on release day also got a cool shopping bag to take it home in that you’ll see in the video. I called it the “mug me” bag as it clearly gave away its contents as you left the store. My original receipt was still in there too:

June 29, 2007!

My then fiancé was on a trip with her family and I was bored. So I drove up to the Apple store and bought the phone. There were no lines and they had plenty of stock. Of course that would soon change in future iterations. AT&T’s activation servers that were set up specifically for the iPhone were so overloaded I couldn’t actually use the phone until the next day.

Back then it only worked on AT&T’s network and I had to switch from Verizon. What a mistake that was – the phone part of the iPhone didn’t work anywhere in my house! I had to get a “Femtocell” in order to receive phone calls which barely worked. As soon as Verizon got the iPhone on its network I switched back.

The phone had pretty slow data speeds.. 3G networks were prevalent at the time but the iPhone only supported “Edge” which was about a 135k bits per second – not much faster than a dialup connection. There was no front facing camera and the rear camera was pretty lousy.

I think I traded in my old iPhone at one point to save money on a new one. I regret that now. It sure would look nice on my gadget shelf!