Swivl has got to be one of the most interesting and powerful devices we have reviewed to date. Swivl is a device that can be used for presentations, time-lapses, videos, or just about anything else that you want to record. The majority of people who would have a use for Swivl are administrators, instructors, students, and enterprise.
Above is the Swivl itself. It may be hard to tell from the picture, but the Swivl is quite small. It weighs around 1 pound and is 80mm x 30mm. There are two main parts to the Swivl, the Marker (remote), and the Swivl base. The Swivl base only has two buttons which are located on the top. When I first received the Swivl, I was confused because I couldn’t find the Marker. It turns out, the Marker is located inside of the Swivl.
Here’s a better picture so you can see what I’m talking about. There is a magnetic flap on the top half which you open to store or remove the Marker. Other than it being a good storage spot, it serves for one other super important purpose. It charges the Marker when you place it inside the Swivl.
This is what it looks like once the Marker is removed. As you can see, there are three brass prongs which match the ones on the Marker so it can charge.
The Marker itself is quite small. Personally, I would prefer a larger remote because it would feel more natural to hold, but I’ve gotten used to it. There’s a total of 5 buttons on the Marker. There’s a power button, a record button, and three buttons on the top which can be used to change your presentation slides.
On the front side, there is a microphone and an infrared sensor. It’s perfect that the microphone is located on the remote because it allows you to get the best/clear audio when recording. It also helps eliminate background noise. The infrared sensor is where all of the magic happens. The Swivl base also has an infrared sensor so the two can communicate. It’s very similar to a TV remote. The only difference is that the Swivl follows wherever the marker goes. The only way this wouldn’t work is if there’s a physical object in between the two, or you take the marker more than 30 ft. away from the Swivl base.
Here is a better picture pf the infrared sensor on the Swivl Base. As I mentioned before, it has to be in the direct line of sight from the Marker in order for it track/follow you.
Here is what the back of the Swivl base looks like. It has a USB port for charging your device, a mico-USB for charging the Swivl, a shutter port for a professional camera, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Yes, you can charge the Swivl and use it wirelessly. You can expect to get around 3-5 hours on a single charge. I know that’s not a lot, but to be honest, most presentations won’t exceed 5 hours. If they did, your audience might be asleep by the time you’ve finished.
How does it work?
For the Swivl to operate, it must be charged, and you must own a smartphone or tablet. The Swivl operates on Bluetooth; It surprised me how fast my phone was able to connect to the Swivl. It would also be a great idea to download the Swivl Capture app for iOS and Android. The Swivl app comes with tools to make presentations, change your Swivl settings, upload your presentations to the cloud, and much more. That’s right, Swivl has their own secure cloud which you automatically receive full access to with the purchase of a Swivl.
To get started, you need to place your smartphone or tablet in the groove located on the top. The Swivl comes with a few shims to fit different devices. I use a bit larger of a shim for my phone so I can use it with my case. The Swivl can rotate 360 degrees with a 45-degree tilt system. The Swivl can film just about any angle you need. There have been a few cases where I wish it could tilt more, but I easily found my way around it by stacking a few books under it.
As I mentioned earlier, Swivl can be used with professional cameras. There is a standard camera mount on the bottom so you can to mount it on your favorite tripod. To mount your camera to the Swivl, you have to purchase their Mount Anything Kit separately for $29.
The Swivl is truly a unique and innovative device. It’s made of high-quality materials that combine to make a solid device. I can tell that the team over at Swivl really put some thought into this to make it as portable as possible. It’s also quite nice for them to include a special carrying case to protect it when traveling. Of course, the main use for the Swivl is presentations and teaching. If you don’t plan on using it for presentations or teaching, I would highly recommend you put some serious thought into it before buying. It’s not cheap. One last note is that Swivl has a very helpful support team which will help you resolve any issues. They also have one of the best support pages I’ve ever seen.