ast March the Galileo debuted on the crowd funding site Kickstarter asking for $100,000. After 30 days the project had over 5,200 backers and had netted more than $700,000 in funding. Fast forward more than a year later, and the Galileo is finally shipping to backers. Today I received my Galileo and here are my first impressions.
Measuring no larger than a small can of nuts, the Galileo is clad in a black rubber finish that makes it feels silky, almost supple to the touch. It’s not sticky or soft like, and while I’ve only had it for a the better part of a day, it’s already got a little bit of marring, although almost imperceivable, on its facade.
Flipping the Galileo over reveals the tripod mount, as well as some sort of 4 pronged connector that I have yet to discover what it does. Spinning the base clockwise activates the Galileo’s battery indicator, which blinks green when it’s charged or red when it needs to be plugged in using the included microUSB plug – you’ll need to bring your own AC plug to the party.
Turning it back over and you’re welcomed with an iPhone dock that appears to be designed in the image of the human mouth. That said, Motrr makes two versions of the Galileo: one for the iPhone 4/4s and one for the iPhone 5. I don’t have an iPhone 5 in my possession despite owning two Android handsets, so I naturally opted for the version of the Galileo that works with Apple’s old, but tried and tested serial port.
Before docking my iPhone 4s into the Galileo I downloaded the associated app, Motrr V1.2. It’s nothing more than a repository for all of the compatible apps, which include a few free apps, a few coming soon apps, but mostly paid apps. Naturally, I started with the really only free app, TimeLapse (there is also a paid version).
With my iPhone 4s docked, the TimeLapse app preview screen will display the Motrr icon. Tap it and you’ll be able to set the rate at which you’d like the Galileo to Pan and Tilt. There are variety of settings that include rotating by degrees or revolution, all of which can be paired with a time (minutes, hour, day, photo, sessions). It took some trial and error, but after some messing around I was able to find a setting that actually captured a viewable video.
Next, I tested DMD, a panoramic app that costs $2. Fortunately, in my past iPhone life, I had already bought (I got it for free during a promo period) and downloaded the app. I’ve long used DMD (when I was using an iPhone) as it allows you to capture 360 degree photos just by spinning the iPhone around on an axis. Arguably performing this feat manually is easy enough, but in reality I often end up with a misaligned piece of the photo thanks to my unsteady hand. The Galileo negates the hand and creates what appears to be perfect panoramas by working in tandem with the app to capture seamless 360 degree photos.
It’s now day two and I’ll continue to play with the Galileo. However, I’m a bit confounded as I don’t know what else to do with it. I could use it in my next car review, allowing me to easily capture a 360 degree photo of the vehicle’s interior, or perhaps I could set it up on my roof to capture a sunset while panning across the horizon. That said, there are a variety of other apps available, albeit at a cost. There is one that lets you remotely control which direction the iPhone’s camera is pointing, though you’ll need two iOS devices to accomplish this as one serves as the controller. There is also Motrr Live, a video calling app that lets participants control the camera, though from my understanding they too have to sign up for an account and the likelihood of one of your friends having this is quite slim.
So this ultimately begs the question of is the Galileo worth its $150 price tag. Since this isn’t a review, and a first impression, I’m not prepared to answer that. But I suggest you give it some thought.