Vidpro MP-12 Selfie Stick review: No looking back

by | Apr 1, 2016

Occasionally, a product comes to market that redefines its category, like the original Macintosh for personal computing or the Walkman for portable music. But rarer still is the product that completely transforms the consumer landscape, not just redefining a category, but creating an entirely new one.

The Vidpro MP-12 Selfie Stick Monopod is that product. Its design is elegant; its impact, epochal.

Like Gutenberg’s dream of democratizing the sharing of ideas with the movable type printing press, Vidpro’s MP-12 puts the power of the selfie in the hands of anyone who wishes to put him- or herself on public display. It is perhaps an ironic twist that the use of such a humble tool is an activity associated with unbridled vanity, as if this were a product built by Bernie Sanders but used exclusively by Donald Trump.

Which is, of course, why we love this product so much. It appeals to conflicting interests of the American psyche, combining the refined vibrato of a first-chair violinist with the horror-inducing, head-banging guitar riff of a Slipknot performance.

With a retracted length of just 9”, the MP-12 can be easily hidden away in a purse or satchel. This allows the user to effortlessly remain incognito until the moment is right, when the Selfie Stick can be extended to its full potential of 40”, enabling the user to unapologetically get all up in other people’s faces, while shamelessly promoting his or her own.

While I must applaud Vidpro for producing a selfie stick that maintains stability all the way out to 40”, in reality most users will likely use it within the 20-30” range. I found this length to be appropriate for capturing the details of facial expressions, while still including enough of the surrounding environment to lend one’s selfies a definitive sense of place.

The MP-12 uses a hardwired shutter release cable that plugs into your iPhone or Android phone via the headphone jack. The shutter can then be triggered with the press of a button on the handle. There’s no Bluetooth or WiFi setup to worry about.

In practice, I found the shutter button to be solid, but it required such a significant amount of force that my thumb began to tire after just a half day of selfie-taking. Fortunately, I was able to remedy this by simply switching the MP-12 to my other hand, as it is (thankfully!) designed to be ambidextrous.

The overall build quality of the MP-12 is nothing short of professional grade, which we have obviously come to expect from a company with “pro” in its name. The metal handle provides superior torsional stiffness compared to plastic alternatives, while the rubberized grip ensures a solid hold, even during intense selfie sessions when one’s hands are want to perspire.

The articulating mount makes it possible to orient a phone in any direction—yes, even to take non-selfies, should the occasion arise. Additionally, for users looking to take their selfies to the next level, the phone mount can be swapped for a GoPro mount, which, in a testament to Vidpro’s largesse, is included in the box.

With or without a GoPro, I found the MP-12 to work well for selfios (which is a term I just coined as a portmanteau of selfie and video). I believe selfios are the future of selfies; there’s only so much you can say with a single image, after all. Selfios are a great way to document your daily life.

Unfortunately, the front-facing cameras on most smartphones haven’t caught up to the quality of the rear-facing ones, so selfios may be limited to lower resolution. Still, it’s the story that matters most, and that’s where the MP-12 really shines: as a storytelling aid.

If the idea of creating your own selfio sounds daunting, don’t worry. The MP-12 makes it easy. Just shoot your clips and then upload them to Google Photos. Within a couple of hours, your finished movie will have edited itselfie:

 

If there’s one thing the Vidpro MP-12 has made abundantly clear, it’s that selfies are the future of photography.

The past few years will be remembered as a shakeout period in the industry, in which a tsunami of a probability wave rushed shoreward in search of a defined, purposeful existence. With the Vidpro MP-12 Selfie Stick Monopod, we can now see the inevitable collapse of that wave, and the singular reality that will spring up in its wake. A world of self-obsessed, self-parading individuals, all enabled to display on equal footing their expressions of love, anger, fear, gratitude, enjoyment, or disgust.

All of this comes together to form a decisive conclusion, which I can say in no simpler or clearer a term than that stated by the MP-12’s sole reviewer on Amazon: it is, quite simply, “excellent.

Happy April 1st!

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