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Review: Aukey’s affordable and universal 18mm clip-on wide angle smartphone lens [Gallery]


While iPhone photography keeps on improving thanks to the advancement of tiny camera sensors and image processors, it’s still nowhere near as fully-fledged as DSLR or Micro 4/3rd photography. You can’t swap out interchangeable lenses for different types of imagery, and have to rely on third-party manufacturers producing clip-on accessories. That’s where the Aukey 18mm HD wide angle clip-on lens comes in.

As the name suggests, a wide angle lens lets you add extra width to your images. With its 110-degree angle, clipping it on to your phone’s camera means you can take much wider landscapes, or take closeups without over-cropping out details from the edges. Any photographer or videographer will tell you that having a wide angle lens is a necessity.

In the case of Aukey’s, the clip-on lens is pretty big and contains a 5 element lens. It’s built primarily from aluminum, making it really durable, and secures to your phone using a flexible plastic clip that fits around the edge of most phones. There’s a small rubber foot, which normally ends up on the screen, to hold it in place. As a bonus, the lens itself can be detached from the plastic clip. This allows the addition of other adapters and lenses.

Being universal has both advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, it means you can clip it to virtually any phone. As long as you center the lens to match the center of the phone’s camera, it’ll deliver the desired result. It also means that you don’t have to buy a new one when you inevitably upgrade your smartphone. On the cons list, I found that it wasn’t as securely-fitting as a bespoke clip-on lens like the ōlloclip range might be. It’s very easy to push off-center with a stray finger.

As well as testing the lens with an iPhone, I also tried it out on some Android devices. All the images included in this post were taken with the iPhone 6s Plus. Most of the time, results were as I expected. Shots were much wider and retained most of their detail. I did notice a little warping towards the edges, almost making it seem like I was inside a fishbowl, but that can often be the case with a wide angle lens.

Most of the time, I found results to be just as expected. But I’d like to test it further, particularly in low light and for shooting video. Every now and then, I did find that the odd image ended up a little blurry and with a little too much ‘glow’. The close-up of the snow-drops above, and the tree in the gallery below (as a couple of examples). It looks nice, but wasn’t really what I was going for.

You can pick up the 18mm wide angle lens by Aukey for just $39 on Amazon, which really isn’t that bad considering the new versatility it will give you. Even if it’s not perfect, it’s just about cheap enough to warrant its relatively minor shortcomings. After all, it could mean the difference between cutting something out of a shot, or not. Still, if you don’t want to (or can’t afford to) stump up forty bucks on a single clip-on lens, the same company makes a 3-in-1 set including a fish-eye, macro and smaller wide angle lens for just $17.

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  1. hiksfiles - 7 years ago

    “This item does not ship to Quebec, Canada.”

    Sucks to be me :(

    • Justin (@yuprules) - 7 years ago

      Hiksfiles, maybe you should try Amazon CANADA? In fact it’s on sale for. $35.99 RIGHT now! Even cheaper than US.

  2. rettun1 - 7 years ago

    39 bucks ain’t a bad price for an iPhone lens, but the pictures taken with it don’t seem markedly better unfortunately.

    A random note having to do with accessories, I’m surprised we haven’t seen more, and cheaper, lighting to headphone jack accessories. If there are a ton of those on the market when iPhone 7 drops, it would be much better for Apple than if they do what they normally do. They normally announce 1 accessory (their own) or show off the expensive competition on the market during their keynotes.

  3. Avieshek (@avieshek) - 7 years ago

    When the dual-lens setup becomes the standard, what’s the solution?

  4. Stephen Ellerington - 7 years ago

    The dual lens set up will most likely make all the clip-on lenses redundant? The iPhone design has become less suitable for clip-on lenses over time. The aluminium finish of the iPhone 6 is more prone to scratches than the glass of the iPhone 4. For all the talk about how important the camera is to the iPhone it’s design has always compromised camera performance. All the ballyhoo over the slightly protruding camera lens on the iPhone 6 shows how constrained design is to suit the consumer.