Ion Twin Video review: Ion Twin Video

Ion Twin Video accessories
The Twin Video comes with a weighted grip and a wired remote for switching video feeds.

On the right side are a power button, a mic gain switch (low/high), and a covered SD/SDHC card slot. The Twin Video comes with a 2GB SD card. On the left side is another port cover concealing a Mini-USB port and a jack for a wired remote trigger for switching video streams (also included). Unfortunately, there's no external mic jack, which is a shame considering how nice the Twin Video is for interviews. You're limited to the internal mics and you need to be fairly close to them to record normal conversation. The remote trigger is a nice touch, though: it eliminates camera movement from switching lenses when shooting handheld, and makes it easier to shoot on a tripod.

The Twin Video is powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery housed behind a slide-down door in front. Ion claims up to a 4-hour battery life; I got about 3 hours from it in testing, but that was with me using the LEDs and constantly turning the device on and off. The minicamcorder is charged via USB when connected to a computer or a USB wall adapter. As mentioned above, there is no built-in USB arm so you have to use a cable or a card reader to get to your videos and photos, and there's no embedded editing and sharing software on the device; a disc with ArcSoft's MediaImpression software (Windows only) is included.

Video quality is OK. It records in VGA only (640x480-pixel resolution) at 30 frames per second and is so loaded with artifacts that you'll only want to use the video for posting on YouTube or other video-sharing sites. It records in MPEG-4 (MP4), too, so if you need to transcode the video for some reason, the results are only going to get worse. Also, when you switch between lenses the video will freeze for a split second; not a big deal, but it's not the smooth switch I was expecting.

Conclusions
The Ion Twin Video is a very basic pocket video camera with one handy feature. The lens switching is cool, the device is simple to use, and it works. If you can't think of any good ways to use the dual lenses, though, then I wouldn't recommend buying it. I also wouldn't get it if you need video quality good for something other than video-sharing sites. Or if you want any control over results at all, because this thing won't even let you set the date and time. On the other hand, it is cheap. It's available directly from Ion for $119.99, but can be found at retail for less than half that price. Considering all that's included, the Twin Video is a decent minicamcorder option for Web video, if nothing else.

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Where to Buy See All

Ion Twin Video

Part Number: CNETTWINVIDEO Released: Nov. 30, 2010
Low Price: $36.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Nov. 30, 2010
  • Optical Sensor Type CMOS
About The Author

Joshua Goldman is a senior editor for CNET Reviews, covering cameras, camcorders, and related accessories. He has been writing about and reviewing consumer technology and software since 2000.