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Customer Review

on 18 July 2013
Bought this camera to record bike commuting after a previous one packed in. This is a good camera.

Plus points:

* simple to operate. Slider switch on top of unit turns camera on and records and off again. Loud beep (can be turned on or off in settings) confirms the action plus LED red light (can be turned on / off in settings) shows unit is recording.
* Good battery life. Get a good 3+ hours out of this. Will record all of my 56 mile loop round these parts. Will record most of the 72 mile one.
* Can be charged while filming. By taking out the a USB battery charging pack (one of those big ones for charging phones several times at festivals etc) the camera will record for a lot longer. Can capture all my 72 mile spin with this on.
* Good picture quality and choice of resolutions. I mainly use this in tall HD which is basically the same as 720p HD with the tops and bottoms left on producing a 4:3 aspect video. I prefer 4:3 aspect ratio for bike video anyway as 16:9 doesn't really give as good all round coverage. The 170 degree angle is pretty standard with these type of action cameras. Whilst being quite useful in getting all the surrounding detail into the frame (at the expense of fish eye distortion) the 170 degree angle does make things in the centre of the shot look *much* further away than they are. This is quite obvious considering how much extra "view" it's capturing at the edges of the frame. 1080p mode is 130 degree which is far more sensible for a lot of shooting. I'd say 170 degree best when the camera is mounted on the stem (as it will capture both sides of the handle bars and the speedo etc on the road bike from there) and 130 degree for on the helmet (as the camera is then directional, due to being on your head).
* Lens Cap : Useful for when camera in transit.
* Locks : Both the back panel for charging, inserting SD card etc and the record slider switch on the top of the unit have sliding lock switches to prevent them being opened or moved by accident. This is very handy for when your not using the camera and it's in transit in your bag and when you're filming to stop accidentally knocking it off.
* Software: The software is easy to use and will let you do things like sync the video with a gpx file from say a garmin or strava export. You can then save the video with the embedded gps data which will then let you see your speed and location in sync with the video when viewed with the contour software. Products like DashWare which will embed speedo and other gauges to video will automatically see the GPS data and use it then, so you don't have to worry about syncing gps data up in other products. Useful.
* Build quality : Aluminium casing to the camera itself. Makes for a rugged shell. However see negative points.

Negative points:
* Build quality. The buid quality of the camera itself is good. However, compromises have been made which let it down. The bit at the bottom of the camera where the mounts connect to it is actually plastic. Seems strong enough to deal with the contour mounts though so I can't see it going too wrong, however the tripod mount at the bottom is plastic, yes, plastic threaded. If you're using a tripod screw mount that isn't that long, any kind of knock to the camera when mounted will risk damaging the thread of the tripod mount. My Contour has already got broken thread on the first few screw rotations due to this where the plastic has simply crumbled away after it fell over whilst tripod mounted. If this had been metal threading like on 90% of other cameras this wouldn't have been a problem.
* Settings: All the settings are controlled by the installed software on your computer. This means that to make changes to resolution etc you need to connect to a computer making changes to settings out in the field quite tricky. The settings saved from the software live in a text file which is fairly self explanatory so it is possible to either edit it on an android phone etc, maybe, or even just keep multiple copies the text file and either copy them on / off the card with a phone or just keep a separate micro SD for each type of setting you might need whilst out and about (although this adds to the expense).
* Mounts: You get 2 mounts with it. Both are useless for vented bike helmets. There's one flat mount and one curved mount for attaching to ski type helmets included. That's it. This does keep the price down (why should you pay for a million bundled mount options when you're likely just to use one)... however, take a look at the price of Contour mounts on Amazon. They're not cheap. The vented helmet mount is about £15 and the stretchy flex mount is £25 which in my opinion is vastly overpriced. You can always use the tripod mount and go for third party cheaper mounts but then beware of the plastic threading to the tripod mount in the camera!
* Video : The quality of the video *is* superb however, the 920p HD and 720p options in 720 degrees do have a slightly pixelated look to them which isn't there in the 1080p 130 degree mode. This is most noticeable with sharp edges of things which will look slightly blocky, almost as if it's a lower resolution image scaled up slightly. It's still good though.
* Size : You're not going to look quite as "tellytubby" as a GoPro user (when stuck to helmet etc) but it's still quite sizable. I don't think there is a camera available that will make your recording unnoticeable (the 720p Eye Of Mine Eye-View Sunglasses are the other end of the spectrum but they record 720p 16:9 for 90 mins tops!). Smaller bullet cameras exist and look a bit less obvious, so do keep this in mind if you're worried about the camera standing out like a sore thumb. This doesn't stop most people from using them though and I often just keep this mounted on the handlebar stem so it's hardly noticeable there.

Hope this review helps you out in your choices...
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