Nova Bluetooth Flash for iPhone

I have been aware of the Nova Bluetooth flash for iPhone for a while now. The information on their website is not very well laid out, and there are no true ‘how it works’  reviews out there. Hence I have not bought one to try, but I could not resist the offer as it was reduced to £34.99 at Mobile Fun ( RRP £49.99). Addendum (18/12/14 below)

As we all know, there are significant limitations to the iPhone (and for that matter all smartphone) cameras, which Apple have been trying to solve with each new model of iPhone released. But at the end of the day, there is only this much they can squeeze out of a small sensor in low light situations. But it is often the only camera to hand, which is why many people choose to use it; better a mediocre camera in hand, than a top-of-the-range camera which is left at home.

The need for better lighting for the iPhone camera prompted the Nova Bluetooth flash for iPhone to be developed (through Kickstarter). I have put my thoughts on the Nova Flash in this review. Hopefully it will give you more information about whether this flash works and whether it is worth buying.

Nova Bluetooth flash for iPhone
Nova Bluetooth flash for iPhone Box
Back of packaging
Back of packaging

It is charged via a micro USB port. There are no buttons or moveable parts present on the Nova flash – the controls are through the app.

Nova flash and micro USB cable for charging
Nova flash and micro USB cable for charging

It is recommended to charge this flash prior to use. An orange indicator light comes on while it is charging, and when it is fully charged this indicator light will go off. Mine took under 1 hour to charge after unboxing.

Simple quick start guide
Simple quick start guide
Micro USB port for charging
Micro USB port for charging
Back of Nova flash
Back of Nova flash
Nove flash lying on top of iPhone 4S
Nove flash lying on top of iPhone 4S

You will need to download the Nova camera app (free) from Apple App Store, as this is the way the iPhone connects to the Nova flash. You will need to ensure the bluetooth function of the iPhone is switched on, and the pairing will automatically take place when you open the app. A blue indicator light will appear on the Nova flash to show that it is connected.

Indicator light on Nova flash when connected to iPhone
Indicator light on Nova flash when connected to iPhone

There is a test function on the app which allows for the LED lights to turned on.

Two banks of LED lights
Two banks of LED lights (only the warm LEDs lit)

Size: 86mm x 53mm x 6mm

Weight: 30 grams

Number of LED lights: 2 banks of 20 LEDs (20 warm and 20 cool LEDs)

Free Nova camera app
Free Nova camera app
Screen view of flash options
Screen view of flash options

As can be seen, the App allows you to set the flash to Off, Gentle (for macro), Warm, Neutral, Bright and Custom (where you can adjust the balance of warm/cool light).

Settings page
Settings page

There are various options for adjusting the functionality in the settings page.

Addendum (18/12/14 – The Nova flash did not work for a short period of time. I connected it to recharge it again for the third time, and for some reason it started to work again. Not sure what the problem was but at least it is working again. For that short period of time, I did miss having the use of this flash. 21/12/14 – solutions to syncing issues with Nova flash has been added to end of Page 2)

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