Sometimes unusual combinations go hand in hand in awesome ways – Exhibit A: The Mac and Cheese Pizza. Other things are a bit less of a slam dunk. Exhibit B: The Incipio Focal Camera Case.

The Incipio Focal Camera case was always going to have a bit of a hard life when it had such a confusing mission statement “transform your iPhone 5/5S into a point & shoot camera”. I’ve been using one for a while and I still only half get what that means. My iPhone is already a pretty awesome point & shoot camera. It’s almost pure, instant gratification in terms of image capture, as the popularity of iPhones photos on sites such Flickr and Facebook attests to. So from the outset the Incipio Folio case was going to be a bit of a head scratcher.

The case works with the free companion Incipio inCAMERA iOS app to bring point and shoot functionality to your iPhone 5/5S. What this means in the most practical terms is a dedicated shutter button and programmable function button. This is handy as you don’t have to press the onscreen shutter button, thus making your images a little more stable and a little less blurry. However, the volume button on your iPhone already acts as a shutter button – you can even use your headphones. Even worse, you can’t use the case with the built-in camera app, so you won’t benefit from all the functionality when you are trying to take impulsive photos direct from the lock screen.

The programmable button is much more useful and lets you customise quick access to flash, a video/camera toggle, and shutter timers. The case is powered by a CR202 battery and uses new low-energy Bluetooth, so it won’t be a crazy drain on your phone battery.

The case adds a significant amount of bulk to your iPhone, making it almost like having a handgrip on the back. This is semi-useful when taking handheld shots, but as gripping a slender iPhone 5 was not something I was struggling with beforehand it’s not an essential addition. As a case, it provides access to all the needed features and has an easy-detach button on the back if you need to dress down your phone in a hurry.

The Incipio inCAMERA app offers a wide range of editing features and functionality, plus the ability to easily share your finished images to social media networks including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram … but this is the same as pretty much every camera app our there, as well as the support baked in to IOS.

Oddly, the feature I used the most was the lanyard. I loved being able to sling my phone over my wrist and have it dangling for easy access. A great feature, although not one I would pay £50 for.

The Incipio Focal case for iPhone 5/5s is available now from Amazon and a range of other retailers priced £49.99. The companion Incipio inCAMERA app is available to download free from the Apple App Store now.

Find out more at Incipio