Liquid Image Ego review:

Simple, small grab-and-go action cam

Shooting options
The camera basically has four shooting modes: video captured at resolutions of 1080p at 30 frames per second or 720 at 60fps, and photos taken singly or continuously. The default resolution for photos is 12 megapixels, but that's an interpolated resolution; the camera's sensor is 3 megapixels and you can change it to that or a 5-megapixel setting using the iOS or Android app.

With the app you can also pick exposure modes (Auto, Sunset, Snow, Landscape, and so on); change white balance, contrast, and field of view (135 or 90 degrees); adjust the mic level; and flip the camera's image (in case the camera is mounted upside down). You can also shut off the LED light on front as well as the camera's beeps.

Video quality and peformance
Editors' note: We are currently in the process of testing and reviewing as many of the latest action cameras we can get our hands on. Because of this, the video quality analysis that follows is largely based on our experience with minicamcorders that use similar components to action cameras.

Liquid Image Ego sample video @1080/30p from Josh Goldman on Vimeo.

The Ego records movies in MOV format with a data rate of about 12Mbps. Generally speaking, the higher the bit rate, the better the video quality; the Ego's is in the middle headed to the low end for the category for 1080p video. That said, it still looks very good when you have plenty of light and watching at small sizes.

Viewed at larger sizes, aliasing, compression, and edge artifacts and purple fringing become more visible. Exposure changes aren't exactly smooth and highlights do blow out. And I'd stay away from shooting in low light or indoors. But, if your goal is a POV outdoor camera for sharing videos online, this will get the job done.

For audio there's a mono mic just under the lens, but I wouldn't count on it for much. Even with the sensitivity turned up, it's really only good within a few feet of the camera for people speaking at normal levels. For the most part, this is fine, since you're likely going to put a soundtrack or narration with your videos.

The maximum clip length is 29 minutes. This isn't unusual, but other cameras will immediately start a new recording; the Ego just stops and you have to press the camera's button to start a new recording. Also, the camera records two videos simultaneously: one at your selected resolution and one at 432x240-pixel resolution. The smaller video is used for wireless previews on your smartphone or tablet, so it's significantly lower-quality than the full-resolution video.

Click to view full size. Joshua Goldman/CNET

Photo quality is decent, but, as with movies, you'll want to have good light. I wouldn't bother using the 12-megapixel setting and, instead, use the app to drop the resolution to 3 megapixels. The results are much better, on par with a good smartphone camera. The camera does have a continuous shooting mode, however it only captures one frame every 3 seconds.

Battery life, considering how small the camera is, is very good, giving about 2 hours from a single charge. But the battery isn't removable, so you can't just swap it out.

If you want a small, simple action cam, the Liquid Image Ego is a safe bet. If you're looking for a lot of features or accessories out of the box or need it to be waterproof, this isn't for you. It's basically a shoot-and-share minicamcorder that can be mounted and for which you can use your smartphone as a display, though not while you're recording.

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