XShot Sport Pole Review
March 31, 2016
The XShot Sport Pole is a selfie stick made for your GoPro, camera, phone or other action cam. These days capturing your outdoor moments has become almost as important as actually participating in them. Everyone knows the old adage of “Pics or it didn’t happen”. Thats where the XShot Sport Pole comes in. With a multisport design and multiple, adjustable, attachment heads to secure your recording device of choice the XShot Sport allows you to get the perfect angle to capture your outdoor adventure.
The big factor that really makes the XShot Sport Pole stand out to me from others on the market is it’s salt water resistance. I do a lot of sea kayaking and the ocean takes it’s toll on many things – it’s nice not to worry about corrosion. The other important feature that I appreciated is it’s twist locking extendable sections. They function the same way that a lot of trekking poles do. The quick and secure way to adjust the length made the Sport Pole much easier to use than other options I’ve tried. This is particularly handy when you are rushing to make adjustments to capture something on camera. The expansion length was also surprisingly long. I can’t think of a scenario where I would need to get more reach than the Sport Pole provides. I was a little skeptical that the sections would stay locked with a heavyish camera attached to the end but after a ton of twisting about nothing seemed to come loose.
One thing I should point out is that the Sport Pole is specifically designed for GoPros even though it comes with adapters for other devices. XShot integrated the mounting mechanism for a GoPro directly into the Sport Pole and I think your experience with this product will be better if you are using it for its intended camera. The adapters you need for other devices come with the Sport Pole so if you do want to use it for a different action cam or your phone that isn’t an issue. I don’t own a GoPro so I tested this out with my older Contour action cam (attaching it using the traditional tripod mount included in the box) and it worked great. One interesting thing to note is that XSport specifically calls out that the GoPro connector, the only structural plastic piece on the Sport Pole, as being made from “Reinforced Polycarbonate”. I’m assuming this means it won’t snap if you accidently bash your GoPro against a rock. Hopefully the plastic adapters for other devices are also made of reinforced polycarbonate but, unfortunately, I can’t find an answer to this question and for obvious reasons I’m not going to test this.
When I tried using my phone things didn’t work quite as well. I have an iPhone 6S Plus (the big one) in a Lifeproof case. My phone barely fit into expandable phone adapter and made it some strange clicking sounds as I tried to expand it large enough to fit my phone. If you have a bigger phone you might want to make sure it will work with the included adapter before you buy. The main issue with using my phone was taking selfies. Unlike other phone specific selfie sticks the Sport Pole doesn’t have any way of activating the camera either using the headphone jack or some type of bluetooth integration. You are forced to use the self timer to take a selfie which works but isn’t ideal. The fact that the phone adapter comes included with the Sport Pole is nice but if you are buying it specifically for use with your phone you should probably look elsewhere.
The biggest issue I came across while using the XShot Sport Pole cropped up after I was done “testing”. I loosened all the various telescoping sections of the pole, collapsed it down and tossed it in my backpack. Once I got home I pulled it back out only to discover that the section second from the bottom would no longer telescope back up. What I think happened was that when I put the Sport Pole into my backpack I twisted it around to get the camera, which was still attached, into a better position. That twisting tightened up the locking mechanism of that section. I’ll pulled, twisted and tugged – I’ve even tried taking it apart (the only thing you can disassemble is the handle which doesn’t help release the stuck twist lock) but I can’t figure out how to fix this. If you do buy a Sport Pole I’d recommend taking some electrical tape and wrapping the top of each section a couple times to prevent each section from being able to fully collapse. This might add an extra couple inches to its “collapsed” length but it will keep you from having a non-working Sport Pole.
The XShot Sport Pole is a fine device when paired with a GoPro. If you are looking for a way to get better action cam shots, particularly in an ocean environment, the XShot Sport Pole will do the job. Just be careful to not lock one of the sections in its fully collapsed position.
Note: I was provided the XShot Sport Pole free of charge for review purposes as coordinated by Outdoor PR. This fact did not in any way change my opinion of the XShot Sport Pole.