Lens accessories for smartphones are everywhere, but the HiLO Lens is the only one I know about that lets you shoot around corners. This little lens attachment, about the size of a piece of Dubble Bubble gum, has a prism inside of it that’s tucked behind a wide-angle lens.

Recent Videos

The idea behind the HiLO Lens is that smartphone cameras can be hard to operate comfortably when photo subjects aren’t directly in front of you or at eye level. The HiLO is built for extreme low-angle shots without having to lay (yourself) on the ground, above-the-crowd shots where you can actually see your phone’s screen for composition and shooting pictures of buildings or the sky without having to crane your neck.

Many dedicated cameras ease these shooting situations by offering a tilt-and-swivel LCD viewfinder, but adjusting the screen isn’t an option with a smartphone. The HiLO moves all these tricks to a little unit that shoots at right angles from your smartphone’s lens. It was born from a Kickstarter project that raised its target of $27,500 in a little over a month — eventually reaching a pledge total of more than $38,000.

My hands-on tests were done using the same version of the HiLO Lens sent to its Kickstarter backers. The HiLO comes in a keychain-friendly, fat-bullet-shaped metal case with a screw lid, and there's a small microfiber cloth for cleaning the lens that’s attached to the inside of the case. The case is sturdy, well-constructed, and protected the lens nicely when it wasn’t in use.

The keychain-friendly case protects the lens nicely.
It includes the lens and a microfiber cleaning cloth.