No one really knows where the term "selfie" came from. We've heard rumors that it originated from the Slavic word selfic, coined in the 1800s, when selfies were actually taken by teams of two people. One person would pose attractively (the "self") while another operated the camera (the "image capturer"). Some called this "studio portraiture."
Others believe that selfies are the offspring of an ephemeral being known only as "the Selfie", wrought from the narcissistic muck of Myspace and prophesied to forever stalk your Twitter and Facebook feeds.
Regardless of their origin, selfies are the hottest topic ever retweeted. But where can humanity go from here? How can this newfound art form be pushed to—and beyond—its natural limits?
Human arm length is a real, biological roadblock, restricting our portrait perspectives and stifling our creative spirit. But worry no more, Instagrammers and Pinterested parties: Human ingenuity has triumphed once again. "Selfie sticks" are one of the hottest stocking-stuffer gifts this holiday season, ousting chocolate oranges and underwear from the coolest kids' decorative sock-shaped present receptacles.
Most of these sticks are cheap, $25 affairs imported directly from China—flimsy aluminum and plastic that seems destined to break within a year. But the XShot Pro is different.
Proudly "designed in Santa Barbara," this "ultimate camera extender" is a 32-inch-long affair that feels sturdier than the average stick and comes with two different camera mounts so you can swap between your point-and-shoot and a GoPro, Sony or JVC action cam.
It also costs $75.
Is it actually worth $75? Well, we tried one out and came away with mixed feelings. It's definitely a cut above the selfie stick crop; the materials are nicer than just about any other stick we've tried, with anodized aluminum and a nice, chunky rubberized grip. But at full extension, it still feels pretty wobbly.
(We definitely wouldn't recommend using it as a fencing foil in a lightsaber battle with your coworkers.)
Do you hate asking strangers for help with vacation photos? Now you can toss social interaction to the wind and be your own stranger. And with the XShot Pro's nearly three-foot reach, you can take elaborate selfies that look just like normal photos... for the low, low price of $75!
Unlike the regular XShot (and indeed most other selfie sticks) this camera extender comes with the aforementioned GoPro mount. That means you can take extreme selfies on the slopes, in freefall, or even in the office (as you dream up ideas for selfies to put in a review of a $75 selfie stick).
Pair it with the GoPro smartphone app and you can actually put your phone in your selfie. Look disinterested in every photo by staring intently at your phone!
Of course, there are plenty of legitimate uses for selfie sticks—precisely none of them having to do with selfies.
For those more serious uses, the XShot Pro is probably one of the best around. Its 360-degree ballhead is only a marginal improvement over the natural rotational capability of... sticks. Still, it lets you frame shots any way you like, including some truly unusual angles—out windows, over cliffs, near the tires of a moving car, and more.
The sturdier build also means you'll feel marginally more comfortable hoisting your expensive camera above the crowd at Burning Man.
Ultimately, if you want to spend $75 on this selfie stick, we won't stop you. We are legally unable to stop you from purchasing this product. But we're not prepared to say that it's a wise investment.