Our Narrative Clip review after 3 weeks of life-logging

Back in October 2012, a tiny camera device called; Memoto appeared on Kickstarter. Beginning with a goal of $50,000 the device topped this figure fast raising over $550,000 within five hours. Memoto then went into production and began shipping in November 2013.

 

Fast forward to today, the Memoto is now called the  Narrative Clip and is one of the most smashing Kickstarter successes. With such hype Kalexiko wanted to see just how good the Narrative Clip is, so we decided to take it on a trial for a few weeks.

 

Narrative Clip: Specs

The Narrative Clip is one of several new wearable “life-logging” cameras created to capture moments from everyday life.

 

Designed to be easy to use, the Narrative Clip can be clipped onto clothing. Once attached it captures an image every thirty seconds. In terms of its construction, the Narrative Clip is convenient and as unobtrusive as a ubiquitous camera can be. It weighs only 20 grams (0.7 oz) and measures 36 x 36 x 9mm (1.42 x 1.42 x 0.35 inches). Contained in this tiny package is a 5 mega pixel camera and a storage capacity of 8GB (6000 pictures) and battery life for 2 days of use. It’s design is minimalistic and clean. Apart from a slim rubber cover covering the Micro USB port and a four-light battery indicator there is no other ornamentation.

 

How to use the narrative Clip

This device’s simplicity is continued through its usability. Once attached the camera will take a snap every thirty seconds. If you want to capture a particular moment you can simply double tap the front of the device. The Narrative Clip operated via light-detection, so to turn off the camera you merely need to place it face-down on a surface or place it somewhere completely dark.

 

Operating the Narrative Clip is as very simple. To obtain the photos that you have taken you will need to connect it to your computer via Micro USB, which is also used for charging. Then the Narrative Uploader software will take the images off and upload them to Narrative’s servers for storage. You can only then access your photos by logging into your user account; the software also lets you make some settings adjustments, and update the firmware.

 

To view the uploaded photos, you will need the Narrative app on iOS or Android devices, which means you’ll need access to a smartphone or tablet. Like the camera itself, the app is straightforward to use. Photos are arranged by time and date and you can also activate a slideshow where the app goes through the photos like a mini movie reel. You can also share the photos from the app via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

 

Camera Quality

The quality of photos can best be compared with the iPhone 4 – see examples below (click to view actual size).

 

Wearing the Narrative Clip

In the beginning, you can feel quite awkward about wearing the Narrative Clip. This isn’t due to its size, but more so the fact that you become very conscious about the fact that you are documenting your life every thirty seconds, which can become intrusive. Similarly, when in conversation with other people while wearing the device you may find that the invasion of privacy may not be taken too well, but in most events the device aroused more curiosity.

In general, the device fills its purpose very well. Its size means that it isn’t intrusive and burdensome. Likewise, it is also very easy to forget that it is attached to your jacket or hat, so some adjustment is required to ensure it isn’t lost or left snapping away on the coat rack.

 

What is impressive about the Narrative Clip is it’s ability to cling on to wherever it is attached. Whether you wear it to take snaps while you are jogging, or if you are squeezing onto a packed bus or train, the Narrative Clip clings on solidly. This is a relief due to the fact, as I mentioned before, the device is small and light enough to easily lose. The added security of the device not falling off means that it is much easier to become comfortable and relaxed wearing the device and to let it get on taking snaps of your day-to-day life.

 

When you eventually do view your photos for the first time you may notice a number of things. One may be that your images may not have turned out as great as you may have thought. This is no real fault of the camera itself, but due to its simplicity it means it is lacking the functions of a flash and other customisation features that your smartphone camera will have. Therefore, photos can blur easy or look grainy in low light, but the more you get to grips with the Narrative Clip, you will know which conditions allow it to work best.

 

Another thing you may also notice is that dependant on how you have been wearing the device, photos may be sloped at one strange angle or another. When the photos are uploaded to the Narrative App this is corrected automatically, but not when the photos are copied to the user’s computer.

 

One nice feature with the Narrative Clip is the ability to create a time lapse. To do this you simply place the Clip Narrative somewhere and have it take its routine snaps throughout the day. So, for example, if you have a great view of the skyline from your office or home, you could capture the day rolling from morning to night.

 

What’s great about the Narrative Clip?

There are many great features about the Narrative Clip. One is that it allows you to capture moments that you may not be able to normally capture. Due to the fact that it is constantly snapping you will never miss a moment, which means that moments you would usually have to lug around a camera for won’t be missed again. With this comes the ability to reflect back upon your day, week or even month seeing those moments you may have missed or forgotten about entirely.

Another great feature is the fact that you can share special moments with your loved ones easily. While, yes you can do this with any portable device, the Narrative Clip makes this as easy as it possibly could be. You don’t even need to remember to take a snap as the device will do it for you.

 

The functionality of the narrative Clip is also great. It’s simple to operate; easy to wear; fun to use and the battery life is great. It is a great tool to make life logging easy and fun, and when used with the app the ability to view and share your images via your smartphone is great.

 

What are the flaws of the Narrative Clip?

For its plus points, the Narrative Clip also has its flaws. One being that due to the minimalistic nature of the device, it is sometimes hard to tell if the device is always working or not.

 

Secondly, the image quality of the narrative Clip can sometimes be disappointing. Of course, the nature of the device means that images may sometimes be blurred or grainy which is fine when you consider the Narrative Clips purpose, but nevertheless, one can’t help but look at the images taken from a smartphone such as an iPhone 6 and feel a little disappointed with the quality of the images taken on the Narrative Clip.

 

The real flaws with the Narrative Clip come more iwith its connectivity with other devices. When using the app on an iPhone, I found that it was crashing quite frequently, which can get irritating as does the amount of time uploading can take on lesser internet connections. The main issue I found was that the lack of control when it comes to uploading the images. Due to the fact you can’t filter through the images that get uploaded, you can easily end up loads of images being uploaded all at once, a lot of which are no good due to the quality issues.

 

A final, and understandable issue is the social issues the Narrative Clip can create. While many people don’t seem to mind being in the presence of a camera taking images every thirty seconds, you will find that some people are not comfortable with this and feel it an invasion of their privacy.

 

Conclusion

Overall, I love the gadget and think the concept is excellent. Whether you are documenting your first speech on the podium at an awards ceremony or just your daily commute to work, the Narrative Clip helps you to record and remember all the good, bad and ugly times that make up life. The simplicity of the device is refreshing in a time where technology can be alienating in its complexity. While the image quality isn’t always great, and it won’t be a practical substitution for your digital camera or smartphone, for the purpose it is trying to fulfil it is great. Just make sure you remember to take it off before throwing your jacket down at the end of the day.

 

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