Product Reviews

Kraken Smart Housing Customer Review

Kraken Smart Housing
Review written by: Louis Deslauriers

Kraken Smart Housing

I’ve decided to write this review because when came the time to find information about this product, it was really hard. There are only a few reviews out there and most of them are pretty basic… So here is my take on the good and the bad about this smart housing (SH). But before, just a little background about myself. I’m a recreational diver who like to dive while traveling. But above all, I love to share with others what is hidden underneath the sea. Before buying this SH, I had tried to capture photos with a GoPro and I was quite deceived with the lack of focus when it comes to macro and I had some stability issues.

So, I was looking for something better than a GoPro, that would last through time and would not cost me thousands of dollars. This SH came under my radar quite rapidly since it can fit virtually any smartphones and you can also add lenses such as a macro or a wide-angle. The versatility of this SH is what sold me. If you change your smartphone every 2-3 years, you always get a better camera and you don’t need to buy a specific camera for diving.

Sure, you don’t get DSLR quality pictures, but recently, have stepped up their games and the quality of the pictures is amazing. This is more than enough for an amateur photographer. So let’s go through some of the good points I enjoy about this SH.

THE GOOD

Versatility
As I mentioned above, this is a great SH that works with almost every smartphones (Android or IOS). If you change your smartphone, the case will still work and you will still enjoy the functionality of this SH

Quality
I was a bit skeptic about the build quality since this is produced in China (known as Weefine in Asia). I must say I am really impressed! The SH feels sturdy (all metal) and has a good grip. The housing comes in a nice travel box which makes it easy for transport. A nice touch to the sealing is the addition of a vacuum system that helps secure the sealing. The first time I used the camera, I tried to open it without reseting the vacuum and it was a total failure. The seal was so strong, I couldn’t open the SH. This vacuum system really does the job at reassuring me that my smartphone won’t get flooded (you do need to check the integrity of the seal/O-ring, otherwise the vacuum system won’t protect your phone).

There’s a nice big window at the rear of the SH which is really nice; you get a good view of your shot every time. There are also 5 buttons on the back to activate different options while diving and there is the shutter button on top. My only complain about those is I would like them to feel a bit more “clicky”. Sometimes, I did not press hard enough and did not take the picture 🙁

In front of the SH, you can add a mount to add different lenses. It is quite easy to install, and works with 52-67mm lenses. At the bottom, you will find the holes to attach to a tray. Overall, great quality.

Easy to use
At first, I was a bit puzzled by the lack of explanations on how to use the SH, but I found it quite easy and intuitive to use. You just need to activate the bluetooth on your smartphone, open the app, scan the QR code inside the SH, connect to the SH, put your phone in the SH, close the SH and use the vacuum system to secure the seal. That’s it!

Good battery life
I used the SH on a liveaboard in Egypt. I took the SH on approximately on 10 dives. I did not had to change the batteries a single time. You need two AAA batteries to power-up the SH. So, I would say you have at least 10 hours of battery life with two AAA batteries. After each dive, I would take the batteries off the SH to make them last longer.

As for my phone, on a 1 hour dive, the app uses around 50% of my battery (I use a Google Pixel). Between each dive, the IST was 2 hours, so plenty to charge my phone to 100% with fast charging.

It is not all rainbows and butterflies with this SH; these are the things I disliked about it.

THE BAD

App
This is by far the weakest point of this product. It is still a relatively new app and I do believe this point can be improved, but as of right now, I would say the app looks more like a beta phase app then a fully functional app. There are some bugs where the app shutdowns for no reasons. Fortunately, this did not happen during a dive. I noticed this happened most of the time when the wi-fi was turned on. So I just switched the wi-fi to off and it seemed to decrease the number of shutdowns.

The app doesn’t let you choose the parameters for photo (photo quality) or video mode (HD, 4K). This is a shame, because I think the quality of photo/video could be even better if the app did let you the choice to use the full power of your smartphone camera. This could be fix by an update. Finally, when I was diving the first times, the SH kept buzzing and beeping even if I had muted my smartphone. I noticed that you need to mute your phone once you are connected to the SH, because if you do it before, the app puts back volume to max and you are stuck with this annoying sound/buzz during your dive. So, it looks more like an unpolished app right now. I do hope that the app (Dive+) will be updated and will fix those problems.

Photo retouching
The app offers a really good color correction for underwater photos. Unfortunately, every time you retouch a photo with it, the app adds a stamp (watermark) at the bottom of the photos…So, I don’t use the app for color retouch anymore. It is a shame, because the app did a fairly good job at it.

Conclusion

Overall, I think this is a great product with plenty of potential. I give it 3.5 stars. The app is the real drawback and the company needs to fix it before this can become a truly exceptional product. Finally, you can get beautiful photos without having to pay thousands of dollars and with the great built quality, this should last a long time!

Review by: Louis Deslauriers

Kraken Smart Housing is available here

Or, get the Pro version here

NOTE – Kraken have notified us that they are working hard on an app update which should resolve all the issues and deliver a much better user experience and much more stable app overall. The update is expected late March / early April.

May 2019 Update – The app has been updated and working much better now! Most issues have been resolved and user experience has improved significantly.

Ran Mor
Follow me!

25 comments

  1. Karl May 26, 2018

    Can you use any kind of external lightning and/or flash to this system?

  2. Tal Mor
    Tal Mor May 28, 2018

    Hi Karl,

    Yes, you can mount it to a tray and attached any video light that you want to an arm.

    Tal

  3. Mel Popovich June 23, 2018

    Thank you so much for this review! It was informative, honest, and balanced, and your description of what issues to look out for has made me feel more comfortable considering the Kraken SH as a housing option.

  4. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor June 25, 2018

    Hi Mel!

    Great to hear you enjoyed the review. We very much appreciate Louis for taking the time to post this review!

    Btw, the app has indeed been updated recently, just a couple of weeks ago.
    Let us know if you have any more questions.

  5. Jumana July 22, 2018

    Hi!
    Is it possible to use the iPhone camera app with this housing?

  6. Tal Mor
    Tal Mor July 22, 2018

    Sorry, it will not be possible. Only with a dedicated app.

    Regards, Tal

  7. Alvin B September 26, 2018

    Hi, thank you for writing a review on this SH. As you said, it is quite difficult to find anything about it (even) at this point. I recently bought the Asia version, Weefine as I am based in Asia. It took me quite a while to research on it before deciding to get it, so I thought I should share these knowledge with people.

    1.) App for Still/video shooting – For Weefine (not Kraken), you have 2 options when buying the SH. One come with its native Weefine app, while another with the exact same hardware come with the license to use the Dive+ app. The later option is about USD 50 more and is what you can only get in NA or Europe region. Dive+ app is frequently updated and has included all manual settings (except aperture). It however still does not let you choose between video quality and are by default 1080 at 30fps. They even have an active Facebook group called “Dive with Dive+”.
    2.) The Dive+ package will come with a QR code that let you pair with your phone, that’s where you pay the extra USD 50 for. However, noticing the frequent update and engagement in their FB group, I am confident the app can only improve overtime, of which doesn’t require and upgrade of phone.
    3.) Non depth gauge option – what was not mentioned here is Weefine/Kraken has a non-depth gauge version that is much cheaper. The depth gauge when paired with Dive+ will become a comprehensive dive com, even tracking your dive data for upload.

    Final Note: One can forget about Weefine’s native app. It’s the worst.

    I hope this helps anyone who is interested with this SH. The FB group mentioned above has a lot of friendly and generous people who are ready to advise if you want more info.

  8. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor September 26, 2018

    Thanks for sharing your feedback Alvin!

  9. Jean-Paul October 4, 2018

    Aloha,
    I have this case and am looking at a light, the Kraken hydra 5000+.
    Can I use the strobe function? Would the Kraken remote control co-ordinate the strobe timing?
    If not, the if I still get that light, do I really need the remote or can I simply use the controls on the back of the light?
    Please share your knowledge!
    Thank you,
    Jean-Paul

  10. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor October 4, 2018

    Hey JP!
    The strobe function won’t work I’m afraid. You need a built in camera flash to trigger it.
    A phone flash can’t really trigger a light. It may theoretically be able to, but there’s no access to it with the case and it’ll be hard to trigger the light with a fiber optic cable.
    The remote can be used regardless, simply to adjust the power output of the light without reaching up. Like a remote control, for the light 🙂
    It replaces the back controls for ease of access.

  11. Richard Cleverly November 20, 2018

    Thanks for the great review! I just bought a Kraken for a trip to the Western Caribbean in a couple of weeks (Roatán and Harvest Caye, Belize). Looks like my Pixel 2 XL will just barely fit. I’m trying to find a wrist strap or leash for the housing. I don’t want to drop it when diving.

  12. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor November 21, 2018

    Hey Richard!
    Glad you enjoyed the review.
    Something like this is highly recommended:
    https://www.housingcamera.com/id1648-bts-cl36ssy.html
    Or you can just grab a piece of string and use it as a wrist lanyard. Both options would work 🙂

    Enjoy!

  13. Thierry Chausse February 20, 2019

    Hi guys,
    What would be a good setup to use with this SH? Is the Weefine Smart focus 3000 a bit of an overkill if I can not use the strobe function? What lense would you add for Macro? Should I use a lense for wide angle or just the case itself?
    Thanks for the help!

  14. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor March 26, 2019

    Hey Thiery!

    Sorry for the very late response!
    If you’re looking for more affordable lights that don’t have features that you don’t need, Big Blue would be a great option. Most of the Big Blue video lights have a flood feature only which is what you’ll need with this housing.
    As for wet lenses, I would recommend the following two lenses:
    https://www.housingcamera.com/id5020-i-das-krl-02-wide-angle-lens.html
    https://www.housingcamera.com/id4852-itorch-krl-12-macro-lens.html
    For the macro lens you will need this adapter:
    https://www.housingcamera.com/id4854-itorch-kr-ad-m67.html

    Let me know if you have any further questions!

  15. leah April 8, 2019

    would you knw if this will be compatible with a Huawei Mate 20 Pro. the dimensions of the mate pro is within the range of allowed dimension, however, the mate 20 pro’s camera position is not typical to other phones. i wonder if the cameras of mate 20 pro will come within the camera window of the kraken housing. thanks.

  16. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor April 8, 2019

    Hey Leah,

    It’s a bit tight, but the Smart Housing has quite a large window, and from the looks of it I think it will work.
    At least the top cameras would fit for sure. How does it work? Do they operate independantly? Can you choose to use the top ones?
    If so, it’ll be fine.

  17. Lawrence April 25, 2019

    Thanks for the good review. it is so helpful.
    I wonder if the depth sensor is sensitive? For example, if absent will the meter respond immediately or there’s a delay?
    Can the product replace a dive computer?

  18. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor May 15, 2019

    Great to hear it was helpful Lawrence.
    Yes, the depth sensor is very sensitive and there is no delay.
    The Dive+ app features a dive computer built in, and can be used as a dive computer. That being said, a smartphone is a very complicated device and as opposed to a standard dive computer, it can go wrong in various ways (crash, out of battery, flood etc..). Therefore I would NOT recommend using the app as a sole dive computer, but rather as a back-up with a “real” dive computer always on you.

  19. Tami May 24, 2019

    Does this housing have a recommended max timeframe under water?

  20. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor May 26, 2019

    Hey Tami!

    What do you mean by max timeframe? How long it can be underwater? As long as the phone battery lasts!

  21. Ed McNeill September 26, 2019

    Is it possible to use the Lightroom app to shoot in raw while using the Kraken or are we limited to the camera app ?

  22. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor October 1, 2019

    The housing is fully electronic, all controls are via Bluetooth which the Dive+ app connects to. You won’t be able to use any other app since you need the bluetooth connection to use it.

  23. Erwin July 28, 2020

    The best review are sample images

  24. Erwin July 28, 2020

    Do you have sample photos?

  25. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor July 28, 2020

    Actually, in this case sample photos aren’t that relevant. Simply because the phone is the camera that takes the photos… Each phone has different cameras and different capabilities. The quality of the photos will depend on the phone you’re using inside the housing, not the housing itself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.