Have you heard of GNARBOX? If you answered no, that's okay… neither did I until recently. GNARBOX was funded by a Kickstarter Campaign, and I'll be honest–I don't follow what's going on over on Kickstarter, so I didn't know much about GNARBOX until recently. As I looked more into it, I could see that this product could be very useful for GoPro users, photographers, and… literally, anyone who shoots video and/or photos out of their house for more than a day (vacation, anyone?).
So this is more than a GNARBOX review; this an overview of how the GNARBOX works and why you might want to own one.
I contacted GNARBOX to see if they'd be willing to send me a loaner box to test out and review for my audience. They happily obliged, so here's my GNARBOX review and overview! Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, and these are all products I highly recommend. I haven't put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used. GNARBOX provided this product on loan and has not sponsored this post.
Before I get into the details, I want to make sure you know where to get the GNARBOX because they were just made available to the public recently. You probably won't find GNARBOX at your neighborhood Walmart, but you can pick it up from B&H, gnarbox.com, or my favorite: buy your GNARBOX on Amazon.
What is a GNARBOX?
At first, the GNARBOX (pronounced NAR-box, like the word gnarly–the G is silent) looks like some kind of portable, external hard drive but it's more than that. Instead of connecting it directly to a computer to store media files, you load media files (photos, videos, etc.) directly into the GNARBOX, eliminating the need for a computer. That means you can take your GoPro on vacation and leave your laptop at home. When your memory card is full, simply transfer your clips to the GNARBOX where they'll be safely stored until you get home.
The GNARBOX is compatible with (probably) any device out there in one way or another. It has a MicroUSB port (for charging), and 2 USB ports (3.0 and 2.0), plus an SD card slot and a MicroSD card slot. For GoPro users, you'd take your MicroSD card out of your camera, insert it into the GNARBOX, and us your phone to perform the transfer of files.
The GNARBOX app is available for iOS and Android, and in my GNARBOX review and how-to video, I explain how to use the app to transfer files (it's really easy — watch it here). Just make sure when you put your MicroSD card into the slot, you put it in with the logo-side down.
The beauty of the GNARBOX is that the media is stored on the device itself–not on your phone. I don't know anyone who has 32, 64, or 128 gigabytes of free space on their phone! You simply use the GNARBOX app on your phone to control and operate the GNARBOX, manage the media, and even do some editing.
Another feature of the GNARBOX that's important not to overlook is the fact that it is rugged–meaning it is shockproof and waterproof. I didn't test it 🙂 But gnarbox.com says so. Also, the GNARBOX has 4-6 hours of use-time, and it is recommended that you use a wall charger to charge it (versus plugging it into a computer).
Editing on the GNARBOX
I'm not a huge fan of editing videos (or photos for that matter) on my phone, so this feature of the GNARBOX app is a bonus for me. But, it's a really really great bonus. Editing in the app is super simple, as I show you in my GNARBOX overview video. The app is definitely designed to make quick and easy edits, and I love all the cropping options when you're editing a photo. Especially the correct ratio for an Instagram Story. That was a nice surprise.
While I don't think the editing function is meant to do a TON of editing, it really does a great job without being over-complicated.
All in all, I love the GNARBOX! Would I buy one? I probably would consider buying one if there was a capacity higher than 128gb if I traveled a lot (although it is possible to use it on conjunction with another external, portable hard drive). Maybe I should rephrase: I WISH I NEEDED A GNARBOX. 🙂 We don't take a lot of long vacations or family trips at this point, and so far having multiple memory cards works out “ok” (although it does get confusing very quickly). But the unit itself is very well-built, it feels as rugged as it looks, and is constructed well. The app works great, absolutely no issues there. The GNARBOX gets 2 thumbs up from me!