Here at Mozaik, we’ve reviewed the Kraken Smartphone Housing before, most recently in 2018. However, with new models and an updated IOS and Android App, we thought it was time to check out the latest iteration. Mozaik contributor Adam Leaders took one out on a trip to Bali, Indonesia, and put it through its paces.
For more info on the Kraken Smart housing system, also check out our original review from 2018, below. Since our first review, Kraken has unrolled a completely new app interface, aimed at hopefully correcting a few past issues. While the app is pretty basic at the moment, Kraken says they’re working on adding new features. Read on for our last review with notes on what has changed.
Kraken Smart Housing
Original review by Louis Deslauriers.
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.
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
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.
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. Update: no longer an issue, with the new Kraken app!
The app doesn’t let you choose the parameters for photo (photo quality) or video mode (HD, 4K). Update: this is now possible, with the new Kraken app!
Many reviewers of Kraken’s earlier smartphone housings had concerns about the app, not the quality of the actual housing.
Now, Kraken seems to be taking steps to address that, first by unveiling their new app platform, which, while currently rudimentary, Kraken says will receive new features soon.
Overall, this is a great product with lots of potential. With the past issues resolved, you can get beautiful photos without having to pay thousands of dollars. And with the great built quality of this product, this should last a long time!
Check out the housing on our website here.