Top critical review
Great video quality, bad batteries & wrist remote; generous but mediocre mounting accessories
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on December 1, 2019
I purchased this for last ski season but never got to use it. I finally used it for the first time this ski season this past week. All in all, it performed very well, albeit with a few notable problems.
First, the good:
- The video quality appears excellent. I did not record at full 4k yet, instead opting for slightly smaller files with 2560x1440 resolution. Nonetheless, the video footage captured looks very detailed and sharp, and the colors look very good; the wide dynamic range appears to work well, capturing detail in shadows as well as the bright areas on a sunny ski slope with hard shadows just as effectively as on overcast days with very little available dynamic contrast.
- Wifi is a nice feature for dynamically viewing the camera's feed.
- There is a very nice assortment of different mounts to help in achieving the right mounting configuration.
- The files captured without any flaws that I've noticed so far; no dropped frames or other anomalies, and with no corruption of any kind preventing playback on either the camera or my computer.
Now, the not-so-good:
- The included pair of batteries don't last long. Additionally, one of the two batteries inflated its case on its first charge. The included charger also does not turn off the lights when the batteries have reached what I presume to be full charge. I had to simply time them, and upon jostling the charger or removal+reinsertion of the batteries, the light would then change from red to blue. The inflated battery is a safety risk, and barely fit in the camera, but since it was my only choice, I did go ahead and use it, and was able to at least get a bit more footage than if I only relied on the non-inflated battery pack.
- It's a pain to start and stop the video with confidence. The included wrist strap controller has a strap that is too short to be worn over gloves or a coat, and the one that came with my set appears to be non-functional anyway. The battery was nearly dead the first time I used it, but even after swapping with a fresh, identical-type battery, the wrist strap didn't work for me at all once I was on the ski slopes; I simply left it at the hotel the remainder of my ski trip. This meant I had to remove my helmet (where I had mounted the camera) to view the screen and ensure I had successfully started the video for each run.
- Photos had excessive compression or something; I only tried taking actual photographs with this camera a couple of times, but both images came out looking extremely pixelated and with visible artifacts. I would not rely on this for any sort of print-quality photos.
- While I listed the wifi feature in the "good" list above, it was also bad, as it was a pain to use. I had hoped I'd be able to check via my phone quickly to ensure I had the camera angled correctly, but switching the wifi on to do so was so cumbersome that I didn't bother. Also, the wifi is extremely slow for transferring the video. Obviously not the ideal way to transfer the large files, but I had forgotten my card reader and figured I'd try doing it wirelessly. It took an hour to transfer about 3 GB. Obviously it's running with a pretty slow wifi protocol.
- It was difficult to reliably stop and turn off the camera without looking at it. Hitting either the power or video start/stop button once only illuminates the screen. I found I had to hit the button once, then press and hold the power button again to actually succeed at turning the camera off to save battery during the ski lift rides where I didn't dare remove my helmet.
- Some of the included mounts have insufficient-length screw handles, such that the screw handle itself impacted the bottom of the camera case while trying to tighten it. Also, the mount I decided to use with my helmet-mounted clip did not stay as snug in the clip as I would have expected, so there was some movement in it. Luckily it didn't cause too much jitter in my video as my helmet wasn't vibrating that much due to the shock absorption provided by my neck ;)
- It would be nice if a curved mounting clip were included; I purchased one separately to affix to my helmet.
- All the footage I took on my 3rd and 4th days of my trip had date modified stamps on the files for the year 2000; somehow, my settings on the camera had been lost. I don't know if it was because my batteries died too early in the day during day 2, or because perhaps I left the batteries out of the camera too long while charging both simultaneously that evening. Either way, it would be nice if the chosen date/time settings would not have been lost so easily. At least it didn't appear to lose my other settings.
- The screen interface was a bit busy, and I had a little difficulty easily seeing that I'd successfully started the video recording on the first day; I mistakenly thought the constant ticking clock on the lower right was the indicator that the video was running, when it was actually another clock that is in the upper right corner. I'm not sure why the current time (what I realized was counting by, to the second, in the lower right corner) is even shown on the interface at all; it seems unnecessary and distracting.
I know I have far more negatives than positives, but, other than the blown-up battery and the non-functional wrist remote, most everything is minor and, in my opinion, not a show-stopper when you're looking to buy a more budget-friendly camera such as this one. The overall price/performance is very good. Hopefully my experience with the blown up battery from the get-go and the dysfunctional remote is not common.