ContourHD 720p HD Helmet Camera review: ContourHD 720p HD Helmet Camera

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MSRP: $249.99
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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars 1 user review

The Good The ContourHD records high-definition video at 720p. Laser sights and a rotating lens help to aim the camera while mounted without the need for a viewfinder. Simple, one-handed operation and the included 2GB microSD card and rechargeable battery make this one of the most easy-to-use helmet cams we've tested.

The Bad The unit is not waterproof or submersible. Low-light performance is poor.

The Bottom Line While not as rugged as its competition, the ContourHD features video quality and user-friendliness that is far better than any other helmet cam that we've tested.

7.7 Overall
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 9.0

The ContourHD is a tube-style camcorder designed to be worn as a helmet camera for recording extreme activities. The ContourHD features an attractive design, but a limited feature set. Unlike the competition, it doesn't feature a still photography mode or a viewfinder, optical or digital. But what the Contour lacks in bullet-pointed features, it makes up for with fantastic performance, as it is one of the few helmet cams on the market to record in 720p high definition.

Design
The ContourHD measures 3.75 inches long by 1.34 inches wide and is 2 inches tall. Overall weight of the aluminum bodied camera is 4.3 ounces, which is important for a device that's meant to be strapped to your head.

Starting at the business end, the ContourHD features a lens assembly that can be rotated 192 degrees to accommodate different mounting orientations. The ContourHD doesn't feature an LCD or optical viewfinder, but flanking the lens are a pair of red laser pointers, which help to aim the device and serve as secondary indicators of the lens' orientation.

The lens itself is a tiny, wide-angle bit of glass. It offers a 135-degree viewing angle when recording HD video. When recording SD, the viewing angle reduces to 90 degrees due to the cropped aspect ratio. Moving to the top of the unit, we find the large recording slider. Operation couldn't be simpler: move the slider to the front of the camera to record, slide it back to stop.


Behind the rubber cap, you'll find the SD card and the battery, as well as the SD/HD switch.
The back of the unit is covered by a rubber cap that integrates the battery status light, the memory status light, and the power button. Sliding the cap out of the way reveals the Micro-USB port, the HD/SD switch, the battery slot, the charge indicator LED, and the microSD card slot.

The unit ships with a rechargeable lithium ion battery, a 2GB microSD card, and a USB cable. Up to 16GB SDHC cards are supported. Connecting the ContourHD to a PC or Mac using the USB cable allows users to download their videos and charge the battery. Estimated battery life of a full charge is about 3 hours. Recharging takes about 4 hours.

Also in the box are a goggle strap mount and a flat-surface adhesive mount, which attach to the rails on either side of the ContourHD's body.

Features
Recording video is the ContourHD's only feature. Unlike the competition from GoPro, there is no still photography mode.

In fact, there are only two settings: HD and SD.

Recording in HD takes full advantage of the ContourHD's 135-degree wide angle lens with its wide-screen format. Video resolution is 1,280x720 pixels captured at 30 frames per second (fps). Video is saved as a MOV file with h.264 video encoding with AAC audio encoding. At this resolution, VholdR claims that the ContourHD will capture 30 minutes per gigabyte of available storage. So the packaged 2GB card should hold about an hour's worth of video.

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