It's always fun to see former Kickstarter projects make it to market -- kind of like seeing a kid you mentored graduate from college. That's the situation with Sparkbeats (US$49.99), a unique iPhone 5/5s case that started with a successful Kickstarter campaign and is now available on BiteMyApple.co, the place where you can find a lot of cool Apple-related products.
What makes Sparkbeats so different? A channel in the back of the case that reflects light emitted by the iPhone's camera flash. In theory, it makes for a bright and silent way of getting notifications, plus you can have a lot of fun with it at the same time. Pair it with the accompanying free app, and you can change the frequency of flashing, have it pulse out an SOS, flash in time with motion, or even have it follow the beat with music.
As cool as the idea of Sparkbeats sounds, I wasn't impressed with the execution. I explain in the video that not all of the app settings worked consistently (or at all), or sometimes required constant adjustment to get them working properly. Even when the app worked well, the effect was just not that impressive to me. If you need a flash notification, save fifty bucks and your iPhone's battery life by just enabling Settings > General > Accessibility > LED Flash for Alerts.
Rating: 2 stars out of 4 stars possible