Sony AS30V adds GPS, NFC to Action Cam recipe

September 4, 2013 8:21 AM PDT / Updated: September 4, 2013 10:14 AM PDT

Lori Grunin/CNET

As first efforts go, Sony's HDR-AS15 Action Cam was good, but its included housing had some significant design flaws. It also didn't have enough available accessories to make it competitive in a crowded POV-cam market.

That changes with the introduction of the HDR-AS30V. For starters, it comes with a new waterproof housing. The original housing was big, thick, and heavy, but waterproof down to 197 feet. However, recognizing that's not exactly a depth required by most people, the new case is waterproof to 16 feet and is lighter and thinner (hit the slideshow below and you can see the two side-by-side).

Relaxing on the waterproofing specifications also allowed Sony to add waterproof membranes in front of the stereo mics so that audio can actually be recorded while the camera is in the case. Sony added external buttons for controlling the camera as well; the original case required you to remove the camera from the housing to change settings or even just to turn the thing off.

Joining the new housing are some new mounts, including a chest harness and an improved universal headband mount. There are some new accessories, too, such as a car charger and a secondary battery charger.

Perhaps most interesting, though, is a Live-View Remote (RMLVR1), which is basically a small waterproof color LCD that wirelessly connects to the camera. It can be used for setting up your shots as well as starting/stopping recordings and switching between photo/movie modes.

Changes to the actual camera are fairly minimal. Its built-in Wi-Fi is now accompanied by NFC for fast pairing with NFC-enabled smartphones; it has built-in GPS; and it can capture single 11.9-megapixel photos. The sensor and lens are the same, though, so if you aren't a fan of what comes out of the AS15, you probably won't get better video from the AS30V.

Sony

Lastly, the included organization and editing software, PlayMemories Home, has been updated with some new features. For example, it can use the captured GPS data to overlay location or speed information onto your videos. If you have more than one camera, the software can create a split-screen composite for viewing multiple cameras in one video. Also, because cameras can't always be mounted perfectly, Sony added a Movie Rotate feature so you can turn video clockwise or counterclockwise every 90 degrees.

The Sony HDR-AS30V Action Cam arrives in late September for about $300, while the current HDR-AS15 model stays around for $100 less. The HDR-AS10, which is the same as the AS15, but without Wi-Fi, goes bye-bye.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Optical Sensor Type Exmor R CMOS
  • Width 1 in
  • Depth 3.2 in
  • Height 1.9 in
  • Weight 2.3 oz
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.