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Lightstrap: an iPhone case that's all flash (hands-on)

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Trying to take a good picture in a dimly lit nightclub is hard enough, but doing so on a camera phone? Nearly impossible. Engadget Live San Francisco was hosted in such a dark establishment, which made it the perfect venue for the folks at Brick & Pixel to seek us out. The company's first product, Lightstrap, just happens to be an iPhone 5s case designed specifically for shooting in dark places.

Company founder Cassidy Clawson brought prototype to Engadget's table, pointing out a flash ring running around its outer-edge. Powered by the case's own 1000MAh battery, this LED array promises to light over 500 photos with a flash ten times brighter than the iPhone's native camera. We gave the rig a shot: the above image of Lightstrap was shot with a Lightstrap in a dark corner behind Temple Nightclub's first floor bar. We have to admit, it seemed to work -- images shot with the lighted case were brighter and significantly less grainy for the sake of the larger flash. Sure, a few of our test subjects squinted in the face of the souped-up kit, but it did deliver on its promise: brighter shots in dimmer places.

Undocking the phone reveals a light sensor covering the iPhone's embedded flash -- a trick that grants it universal compatibility with any flash-enabled camera app. Clawson says this allows the case to shine on while shooting video too, though we didn't get a chance to try this out in our brief time with the product. Care to see how that looks? Check out the team's Kickstarter page: their pitch video was shot and lit by -- you guessed it -- a Lightstrap equipped iPhone.

Gallery: Lightstrap hands-on | 6 Photos