Narrative Clip: Remembering great moments with some caveats – UPDATED for 2017

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Welcome to the age of devices!  To be more specific, devices that are always on.  You now have Internet that is always on standby, just waiting for you to use it.  You are always connected with your smartphone, tablet or desktop computer.  You have CCTV cameras guarding your house and other properties round the clock.  And even cars are getting smarter.

Then there are devices that log your life, such as wearable cameras and fitness bands.  And it is in this milieu that you have the Narrative Clip.

The Narrative Clip is a small wearable camera that you can put on just about everywhere: your shirt, your bag, your hat, or your jeans if you want.  It can take two photos in one minute, so if you leave it on for an entire 24 hours, you would have 2,880 photos at the end of the day.  The storage is good for 4,000 photos, which means enough space to log your entire day.

The basics

The Narrative Clip is small at less than 1.5 square inches and around a third of an inch thick.  It comes in three different colors: orange, grey and white.

It is promoted as a life-logging tool, recording every aspect of your life at a rate of one photo every 30 seconds.  If you want to force it to capture a moment at the right time, then you can double tap the Narrative Clip to take that photo.

The Narrative Clip is very easy to put on and because of its light weight, you could even forget that you are wearing it.

The battery, fully charged, would last approximately 30 hours.  Again, enough to record all 24 hours in a day.

Once you arrive home, you can connect your Narrative Clip to your computer via a micro USB port.  You can use Narrative’s own cloud service to store all that photos.

The Narrative Clip is very durable and sturdy.  This means that you can drop it and not worry about it getting broken.  It is also weather resistant and can stand outdoor conditions.  But you might want to take it off if you’re going to swim or dive.

The camera

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The Narrative Clip comes with a five-megapixel camera that has a 70 degree field of view and takes photos with resolutions of 2592 pixels by 1944 pixels.  Although the camera is comparable to the one you see on the iPhone 4, you really cannot expect it to churn out great photographs, because most of the time, you do not have control over framing.  Some shots also come out as blurred.

There is no viewfinder, so you really cannot see what your camera has captured until you upload it to the Narrative cloud service.

The first lesson you would learn is that placement of the Narrative Clip is very important.  If you place it wrongly, you will find that most of your photos are going to be useless or poorly framed. And looking at the photos, you would realize that the Clip is not meant to replace your DSLR or even your smartphone camera.

Another lesson is that most of the pictures are going to be very repetitive.  This is especially true if you wear the Narrative Clip while working in the office or while going about your daily routine.

The sensors

The Narrative Clip has three different sensors.  It comes with an accelerometer that automatically flips the images you take upright even if the clip is upside-down.  It has a GPS chip to help record location information.  Lastly, it comes with a magnetometer.

Turning it off

If you are in a situation wherein you want to stop taking photos, you can put your camera face down on a table or put it in your pocket.

The software

 

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Mobile app for both iOS and Android devices

When you upload your photos, Narrative uses a software to present you with what it thinks are the most interesting photos you had for the day.  These are based on certain algorithms.  Manually taken photos (those you have double tapped) are going to be automatically flagged as “important”.  These photos are classified as moments and you can view your day’s moments on the mobile app that they have for both iOS and Android devices.

Once you fire up the mobile app, you will be shown a slideshow of your day’s moments.  One tap on a toggle switch would allow you to see all the day’s images.  You just swipe through each image to see what happened during the day.

The Narrative Clip will not sync the photos to your phone or computer, just the cloud service. If you want to transfer or copy the pictures, you have to manually do it using a micro USB.

Sharing

You can share your most interesting photos on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.  You can also e-mail it to yourself or others.  What’s more, you would be able to download your photos to your mobile device through the app.

Privacy issues

As with other wearable cameras, there are some privacy concerns related to Narrative Clip.  Surely there are people who would not appreciate having their photos taken without them knowing it.  Even if they do recognize the Narrative Clip as a camera, they might be uncomfortable not knowing what you are going to do with the pictures.

Also, there are instances when you might want to get rid of the camera, such as when you are attending a product meeting, or going into the restroom.

The good thing is that it is very easy to instruct Narrative Clip to stop recording.

Nevertheless, it helps to know and practice some etiquette when using the Narrative Clip.  First is to let people know that it is a camera that automatically takes a photo every 30 seconds and, secondly, to turn it off when asked.

The bottom line: is it worth it?

The Narrative Clip is as straightforward as it gets.  It does not have all the bells and whistles of other wearable cameras.  It has one function, which is to automatically take a photo of your life and allow you to view it at the end of the day.  It does what it says it does and gives you the capability and the storage space to capture your life daily.

At $279, is the Narrative Clip a good buy?  Lifeloggers would jump at the opportunity to be able to record their lives in 30-second intervals.  Others would want to use it to record birthday parties, sporting events and other special occasions in such a way that is not intrusive and that is able to capture the moments more spontaneously.

The quality of photos is acceptable

The image quality is passable, and we would see it improve as technology catches up.  But the lack of capability to record videos, especially when MeCam HD, a wearable camera that can shoot full high-definition videos as well as photos, is already out in the market and at a slightly more affordable price at that!

There’s additional $9/month for the cloud service

You should also consider that more than just the $279 you pay for the camera, you would need to pay $9 per month in order to use the cloud service after the first year.

It does not automatically sync photos to local devices

Another downside to the Narrative Clip is that it does not have an intuitive way of letting you keep your photos local.  You need to trust that the Narrative cloud service is secure and that it will keep your photos, including location information, safe.

Also, it does not allow you to sync your photos to your mobile phones, so even if you can recharge the battery, you might run out of space for new pictures beyond the 4,000 photos it can contain.  This is especially a problem if you are out somewhere where you do not have Internet access, so you cannot offload your images onto the cloud service.  Additionally, there is no easy way for you to keep a local backup of your photos.  You can share individual photos or save them into your phone, but it would be time consuming to do so one by one.

It captures great moments with ease

The Narrative Clip does have its strong points.  For one, it allows you to capture the moments that you would have otherwise missed because you took too long to get your camera.  There are also times when you would not even have thought to take a photo of it.  Yet, when you see it on your stream, the photo would strike you as priceless.  It is also an invaluable tool for recording images and remembering your day.  It is not uncommon to stumble across a photo that you might like but have already forgotten about.  In fact, it is a great tool to help you remember people and things that you would not otherwise pay attention to.  And that serendipitous quality is what makes this life-logging camera a great gadget.

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If your aim is to be able to log your life, and that is all you require, then the Narrative Clip is a good choice.  It helps you manage your photos by showing you the highlights or moments.  But at its price point, there are other wearable cameras that allow you to do more.  Plus, the quality of the photos might be a little disappointing.

 

UPDATED FOR 2017

This review that was originally written in 2014 has been updated for 2017.

 

Nowadays, it is almost regarded as an anomaly if you are not constantly connected through your device or smartphones. Your computer, phone and tablet is almost always connected to the internet and never switched off. You have cameras around residence, on the streets and almost everywhere, which means that everything is visible at all times.

There are recording devices which track your activities or daily life. These include wearable cameras and even fitness bands. The Narrative clip is one such camera or device that can help you log your life. You can attach it to anything, a shirt, bag, trousers, and hats or to your jeans. The camera can take up to two photos per minute, which means that if you record everything in 24 hours, you will end up with 2,880 pictures when the day finishes. Fortunately, the storage allows users 4000 photos, so you can actually keep it on for 24 hours and take pictures.

The 5MP camera is very handy when it comes to good daily life pictures. You can enjoy a two day battery life gives ample time to record and capture everything. However, you will not be able to print anything.

The Basics

This Narrative Clip camera is quite small, less than 1.5 square inches and almost a third of an inch in thickness. Mostly, it is regarded as a life logging device that can enable you to record every aspect of your life, with one photo every 30 seconds. If you want to capture a particular moment through the Narrative Clip, you can double tap it.

The lightweight of the camera is quite useful as the wearer does not even know that they have a camera on them. Once fully charged, the battery may last up to 30 hours at a stretch. The camera can be connected to a computer via a USB port and also comes with its own cloud that can be used to store photos.

It is sturdy and durable which means that you can take it outdoors without worrying about damage or injury. However, it is advised that you keep it away from water.

The Camera

The Narrative Clip has a 5MP camera as mentioned above, with a resolution of 2592 pixels by 1944 pixels. You can also focus it on an angle view of 70 degrees. It is stated that the camera is comparable to the one found on an iPhone 4, although, this one cannot be relied upon for the quality of pictures since the user cannot really control the photos which are being taken.

Since you may not have navigation control over framing, it could result in some pictures coming out as blurred. Users can only see the results once they go on the cloud.

The placement of the narrative clip is integral. If you do not focus upon placing it correctly, you may find your pictures obstructed or in poor quality. Basically, the camera is ideal for day to day activity recording but not as a substitute for a DSLR or a smartphone camera.

Some pictures may even be repetitive if you have worn the camera out to work or any other daily routine activity.

There are three main sensors that come with the camera. It also has an accelerometer which flips the image in an upright position automatically, no matter how it’s been taken. The Narrative Clip has a GPS chip which records the location and stores that information as well. It also features a magnetometer.

You can turn the camera off easily by pocketing it or putting it face down on a flat surface.

Software

What’s most interesting about the Narrative Clips is its software, which presents to the user the most engaging photos of the day based on an algorithm. The photos that you take manually, by double tapping, are already marked as important. The pictures are categorized as moments, and users can easily access or view them through the app which is available for both Android and iOS supported devices.

You can either start a slideshow or individually bring up images. The pictures will not be synced automatically and are only accessed via cloud; hence, if you want to transfer them on your computers, you will have to do it through a micro USB.

The images can be shared on any social media platform of your preference, be it Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

The Bottom Line

The Narrative Clip may raise some privacy concerns since most people would not like to be photographed unknowingly. However, it is very easy to turn it off or ask someone before recording. The camera is worth it if you want something simple to operate and without any additional functions. This is as straight a device as you can think. It does not have the dazzle and shine of other wearable cameras, but it is reliable and dependable.

It allows you to capture important moments instantly, and help you treasure memories forever. The quality of the photos may be disappointing, but if you just need a device for life logging, then this is where you need to go. It retails for a price range between $200 to $400.

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