GNARBOX Wants to Help You Ditch Your Laptop in the Field

GNARBOX Wants to Help You Ditch Your Laptop in the Field

I’m outdoors a lot and I post images and video of my adventures to social media all the time. But one of the biggest problems I have is if it’s anything more than a snapshot on my iPhone, or a video on my GoPro I can pull over to my phone via WiFi, I have to wait till I get home to edit on my laptop, slowing down the time it takes from getting the shot to sharing it with my followers.

I don’t want to carry my laptop with me on long hikes, and GNARBOX hopes to change that by cramming the power of a laptop into a portable, rugged device that can fit in your pocket allowing you to review and edit your content right on your phone without relying on your phone’s storage or processing power.

Users directly plug in a SD/Micro SD card or a USB connected camera to transfer content to an internal 128 GB of Flash Memory which also acts as a backup for your media. Users then connect to the GNARBOX Hotspot and manage their media with an iOS/Android app. This is similar to the GoPro app but the highlighted difference is your content now lives on the GNARBOX and not your GoPro, allowing you to take advantage of the GNARBOX’s quad-core processor which the company totes can handle 4K footage in real time.

The makers of GNARBOX also say this is the only pocket-size device to automatically organize media and employ advanced compression techniques to make accessing and controlling content simple. The app promises to offer a host of features as well, including basic editing and preset filters including pro-style color correction.

GNARBOX Images Upload Fstoppers

Once content has been edited, GNARBOX can upload to major social networks using WiFi on a phone’s 3G/4G signal. But it’s unclear if those exports will include the ability to upload 4K to YouTube and how compressed they actually will be and using your cellphone’s data to do all that can be a lot depending on your cell phone plan.

With that said, GNARBOX has received positive accolades from early beta testers and brand ambassadors, including professional snowboarder and all-around rad dude, Travis Rice who has worked with GoPro as well on the new Hero 4 Session. Rice is now in charge of GNARBOX’s brand ambassadors.

GNARBOX Kickstarter Images Fstoppers

The team behind the GNARBOX released a Kickstarter and have already surpassed their $100,000 funding goal offering the GNARBOX for $149 (MSRP $249). As with any Kickstarter there is risk, but I know personally I am going to want to test one of these bad boys when I have the chance. Bye bye laptop.

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Sean Shimmel's picture

Hmmm... I read it and understood it (kind of). But lacks an immediate aha! Reminds me of the confusion with Wii U.

Casey Berner's picture

I think a lot of people are comparing it with a WiFi GoPro or the wireless transfer features on a lot of new DSLRs or the EyeFi. It is more than that. It has a computer in the box with 128 GB of storage so you don't have to use your phone memory while backing up at the same time and use the GNARBOX's CPU and GPU to actually edit your photos in high resolution, something phone's don't always have the capacity to do, especially for video.

Sean Shimmel's picture

Thank you, Casey.

Out of mere curiosity, I wonder how many people will even "get it" (the concept) and thus not get it (purchase).

While I'm no technical god, I scanned over the article a few times but still scratched my head confused.

For all the rest, enjoy. I'd be open to hearing more.

Tim Feess's picture

Hi Sean,

Thank you for your feedback! My name is Tim, co-founder of GNARBOX.

I'd love to hear more about what parts of our message were unclear. We are always looking to improve our communication and would welcome the chance to address your questions. It will help us get better!

Please feel free to reach out to me directly - you can reach me: 844-GNAR-BOX x1


Sean Shimmel's picture

What a great example or receptivity, Tim. Thank you.

I thought of 4 references:

1. Attention Economy (the greatest commodity in the information age is a person's attention span). Somehow I had to work too hard to "get it." Maybe it's just me.

2. Made to Stick (same point), cooler title:

3. Mrs Obama: I feel like her

4. And Mr Blueblocker Sunglasses himself, Joe Sugarman:


Or maybe just sales 101 adages of the elevator pitch, or being able to write the idea on the back of a business card. Or better yet... hook me in 1 sentence or less.

Tim Feess's picture

Great feedback! I'll take some time to dig in further for sure.

We've had difficulty with the elevator pitch concept with this product - it is multifunctional so this is a challenge always.

If I had to give you a value proposition in one sentence, it would be:

"GNARBOX solves the biggest problem with owning a camera by making it easy to manage all of your HD photos and videos from the convenience of a smartphone"

Of course, within these value propositions are four embedded concepts:

1) Backup/download (we automate this)
2) Organize (we automate this)
3) Edit (we simplify this)
4) Share (we connect you to all your favorite destinations)

It's what we all have to do to make content we're proud of, and we make those 4 steps faster, easier, and more mobile than ever before - it's our mission

Mr Blah's picture

So it's everything a laptop does, minituraized and you use your mobile devices as screen and mouse?

Got it!

Mr Blah's picture

I scanned quickly, but I would suggest considering making it able to run Adobe CC on it. Just a thought!

Daniel Flanagan's picture

This is the best idea since sliced bread!

I did some research, Adobe offers something called the "Creative SDK" that seems like it could benefit this product...

Ryan Chia's picture

Tim great product concept and impeccable timing as i was just researching options as this popped up on my Facebook feed the other night. I was just wondering 2 things.

1)If you were planning larger capacities soon after our during the funding period.

2) Reading through the product description and FAQ, I was wondering when the Android app would start development/porting. I didn't quite understand the time frame given.

Regardless, i have already backed for one Gnarbox and can't wait to receive it next year. Cheers!

Martin Francis's picture

Sounds like you're describing a WD My Passport Wireless, only with flash memory instead of a HDD. I haven't used the WD yet, so I don't know how much functionality the app has- I.e, if it has social media connectivity or whether it can be integrated with apps like Snapseed or Pinnacle, but I still get the feeling that this isn't a groundbreaking product.

Tim Feess's picture

Hi Martin,

Thanks for your feedback! My name is Tim, co-founder of GNARBOX.

There are some similarities between us and WD MyPassport Wireless, but some very key differences. At a high level, the GNARBOX is a computer, while the WD MyPassport Wireless is a hard drive - meaning we can run the same types of system as your laptop while the passport is "dumb"

Point-by-point comparison:

1) WD Doesn't support video or RAW photos
2) WD Doesn't have ANY editing capabilities
3) WD's app is difficult to use and crashes frequently
4) WD has just one SD slot and no USB ports for a camera. Users can also only connect to one phone at a time, where we support 4.
5) WD MyPassport is about 2.5x the size and weight of the GNARBOX
6) WD is not rugged or waterproof
7) WD has more storage capacity than the GNARBOX by 8x, our one disadvantage. However, you can connect an external HD to our hardware for more space.

Please let me know if you have any other questions!


Edward Porter's picture

Thanks for taking the time to describe things in great detail. I've wanted a simple SD card cloner in the field, but this device offers so much more at the same price. Congrats on reaching your goal! Looking forward to this.

Tim Feess's picture

Thank you for your kind words! We have worked really hard and this has been an amazing journey!

Usman Dawood's picture

This is a great concept, however I think storage options need to be greatly improved, 128GB isn't significant considering a mobile phone can have that.

Paul Wieczorek's picture

+1 We want to have the ability to put our own SSDs inside :)

Paul Wieczorek's picture

Actually Gnarbox is everything that WD Wireless is NOT. I was very happy with the solution WD made for photographers etc BUT few minutes before purchase I started reading. And then decided that WD's product is a farce, unfortunately. Been waiting for such thing for too long to spend $150 on a piece of gear that doesn't work as stated.

Congrats Tim, You guys are changing the industry. At last!

Max Leitner's picture

I got what it was right from the headline. Why seem people not to get it? Also amazing concept, I would love to consider one. Keep it up!

Daniel Flanagan's picture

First off, I'm very excited about this! I've already backed this revolutionary product! (Pssssst if you need a student beta tester, I'm here)

I do wonder exactly how the RAW editing works, is it editing the JPEG preview or is GNARBOX actually able to interpret and edit the RAW file as Lightroom would.

Tim Feess's picture

Hi Daniel!

Thank you so much for supporting us! It means a lot.

Great question about RAW editing - we get it all the time. The editor we built streams a proxy JPG to your phone. While this is the "interactive copy," all of the changes you make are synced with the full-res RAW that sits on the device's flash memory.

This allows you to edit a proxy but still get the full pop out of your RAW photos. All of our light/color/filter system was built by our awesome iOS Engineer/Pro Film editor, Jason, and he is absolutely obsessed with making an awesome product. I think you'll enjoy it :)


Daniel Flanagan's picture

Awesome! I'm very excited to get mine in a few months!

Mr Blah's picture

So it's an "in house" editor? No chance of seing compatibility with Adobe CC (which offers editing on mobile devices..)?

That's a massive partnership that could go a long way!

Ken Adams's picture

Love the idea behind this. This is not a dumb portable HD, but a mini computer.

Can I install my own software on this? How cool would it be if I could export an X-window session to my phone.. basic editing and preset filters, idk ...

I second the motions about marketing though to some extent. The concept and why it is great and maybe even unique needs to come out better and most of all, faster. I admit I haven't checked the kickstarter page, though.

Tim Feess's picture

Thanks Ken! Appreciate the kind words!

Right now, the only software you can install on it is the systems we've developed. There have been ideas about allowing more open source integration down the road, so please stay tuned on that front.

The reason it's a closed architecture at the moment is that our OS and hardware are highly customized to work together. Think of it as closer to an iPhone than an Android device, if that makes sense. We've gone through the hard work over the last year of recompiling everything from scratch to make it crank media, which has taken some of our open SDK developer capabilities away.

Please feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions - 844-GNAR-BOX (x1).

P.S. If you have a moment to look at our KS page, I'd love to know if that is a better marketing representation of what we are doing.

Claude Lee Sadik's picture

I really like the concept but then all the similar products I tried were unreliable. Maybe the GNARBOX will be different? I hope so! Can you clarify something:

- If I want to transfer files between an SD card to an external HD, do I have to keep my phone connected the entire transfer time? Or can I just initiate the transfer and then disconnect my phone and let it run by itself?

With previous products I tested, my iPhone had to be connected during the entire transfer time. I'm guessing it's because the phone was the "computing device" taking care of the transfer. The problem is, when backing up hundreds of GBs, if the phone would go to sleep, the backup would fail! Tell me this is not the case with the GNARBOX and I'll buy one straight away!

Tim Feess's picture

Thanks Claude!

GNARBOX is entirely different from the products that you've tried (I'm assuming the WD Passport Wireliess, Kingston Digital Mobile). The big difference is that this product is made by a team of guys who are media and camera obsessed. We took the time to understand our customers' needs and hit them directly with functionality that actually works!

To answer your question: No!!!! That's the beauty of it. Once you tell the box to transfer your files you can disconnect, walk away, put it in your pocket, get on the phone, whatever you want! We've also created a "Sync" mode, where you just have to plug in a card and the GNARBOX will find the files not yet backed up, download them, organize them into folders, and turn off when it finishes.

Mr Blah's picture

Quote: We've also created a "Sync" mode, where you just have to plug in a card and the GNARBOX will find the files not yet backed up, download them, organize them into folders, and turn off when it finishes.

Damn. Now THAT'S smart!

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