That’s right. I officially own three different selfie sticks. The first one I bought back in 2008 – we didn’t call them “selfie sticks” back then, it was an “extendable handheld tripod”. The second one I got two weeks ago, at SocialFresh 2015, as some hand-out swag from Cision. The third was offered heavily discounted to me in exchange for a review, the PlaanetGadget ministik.
I’m not really a “selfie” kinda guy (videos notwithstanding), but over the years, the Quikpod proved to be pretty handy, and I’ve no doubt that the PlaanetGadget ministik will find a home in my travel bag, as well. If you’re not familiar, a “selfie stick” is basically a monopod (like a tripod, but with only one “leg” instead of three) that has an attachment on the end to hold your phone, thus enabling you to take a photo of yourself, aka a “selfie”.
The PlaanetGadget ministik has some key features that make it stand out against the other two, but also has some drawbacks and lacks some features I’ll really miss.
For starters, the best thing about the PlaanetGadget ministik is its compact size. The “handle” is about the exact dimensions of a bun-length hot dog, which is just about perfect. It’s covered with a grippy nonslip texture, and feels very solid. In contrast, the Quikpod has a plastic handle that feels extremely cheap and flimsy. I’m honestly surprised it’s held up for the better part of 7 years. The one from Cision (heretofore called the “NoName”) is more similar to the ministik, with a solid metal feel, and it’s covered by a ribbed blue covering, which is also pretty grippy.
Extenders That Extend
One of the key aspects of a selfie stick is how far it extends – this is going to dictate how much you can capture in your selfie. This is where the Quikpod really falls….short. It only extends 16-inches. The ministik stretches to 28-inches, and the NoName reaches out to a full 41-inches – that’s just over 3 feet! The NoName clearly wins here, but the ministik is respectable, as well.
It should be noted, however, that while the ministik and NoName have metal…extenders, the Quikpod is plastic, and this makes a HUGE difference, especially with today’s larger and heavier smartphones. The Quickpod is not very sturdy at all and droops noticeably, especially while holding a large or heavier phone. The other two don’t droop nearly as much, if at all.
Connecting Your Phone
The connector/holder is also a key differentiator, and one place where the ministik really shines. The Quikpod was really designed before smartphones had decent cameras, so it has a standard threaded bolt on the end, like most normal tripods. I eventually ordered an iStabilizer smartphone mount to attach here, but that’s both an extra piece to keep track of and an extra cost to factor in. The NoName came with essentially a knock-off iStabilizer mount, which is handy, and I like that I could detach it and screw a regular digital camera on there, if I wanted to.
The ministik’s smartphone mount is designed similarly, but with two key differences. First, it’s not removable. Probably not a big deal, but something to think about. Second, and most important, it’s designed to store folded down, so that it sort of “wraps around” the handle. This is really smart, and makes the ministik MUCH easier to tote around with you. It’s also tweaked slightly, so that the parts that grab the edge of your phone are angled in slightly, giving it a firmer grip on your phone.
The biggest benefit that the ministik has over the Quikpod and the NoName, though, is the shutter button built into the handle. When you attach your phone, there’s a springy cable that you plug into the 3.5mm headphone port on your phone. You can then use the button on the handle to snap the photo, instead of fiddling with the timer on your phone. It’s supposed to work with iOS v4.0+ and Android v4.0+, but basically, any phone that lets you use the volume key as a shutter button should work OK. If you’re going to buy a selfie stick, DEFINITELY get one like the ministik that has this shutter button. You’re welcome in advance.
With the Quikpod and the NoName, you’re left to using the timer on your phone, which may or may not support the front-facing camera. The Quikpod does have a small mirror at the base of the phone holder, though it’s roughly the size of a dime, so good luck framing your shot in it.
The only thing that I’m really disappointed in is that the ministik doesn’t have a threaded hole in the bottom of the handle, like the Quikpod and NoName do. While not a dealbreaker, this can be really handy if you wanted to attach your selfie stick to a normal tripod, something I’ve done often with the Quikpod over the years.
Toting Them Around
Both the ministik and the Quikpod came with handy little carrying bags, and there’s enough extra room in these bags for a small portable power bank and cable, too, if you wanted to keep it all together.
Overall, the PlaanetGadget ministik will most definitely be forcing my Quikpod into retirement. The extra stability of a metal build, paired with a more secure smartphone mount and that super handy shutter button makes it a no-brainer. It only gets 4 stars, though. They could get the 5th star if they added a threaded hole in the base of the handle in future models. The NoName was a strong contender, but it doesn’t fold up as nicely as the ministik does.
Update: after emailing with the maker of the PlaanetGadget ministik (who was super responsive, BTW), I was told they would look into adding the threading to the handle of the ministik. I also randomly suggested that they could easily fit a portable power bank into the handle, and they seemed to think that was doable, as well. We’ll see.
Disclaimer: the PlaanetGadget ministik was provided to me by the company for this review. Also, this post contains affiliate links to the product listing on Amazon. Because I need to buy new gadgets, and the alternative is ugly banner ads.