CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Contour GPS HD Wearable Camcorder Camera 1400 review: Contour GPS HD Wearable Camcorder Camera 1400

Contour GPS HD Wearable Camcorder Camera 1400

Antuan Goodwin Reviews Editor / Cars
Antuan Goodwin gained his automotive knowledge the old fashioned way, by turning wrenches in a driveway and picking up speeding tickets. From drivetrain tech and electrification to car audio installs and cabin tech, if it's on wheels, Antuan is knowledgeable.
Expertise Reviewing cars and car technology since 2008 focusing on electrification, driver assistance and infotainment Credentials
  • North American Car, Truck and SUV of the Year (NACTOY) Awards Juror
Antuan Goodwin
5 min read

Slotting in between the ContourHD and the Contour+ is the ContourGPS sports camera. This HD sports camera blends the ease of use of the entry-level camera with the most useful features of the top-of-the-line model in Contour's catalog.


Contour GPS HD Wearable Camcorder Camera 1400

The Good

The <b>ContourGPS</b> is compact and configurable, yet also extremely easy to pick up and use. Laser sights and a rotating lens help to aim the camera while mounted without the need for a viewfinder. The camera can connect to an Android or iOS device using an app for live view and adjustment of settings.

The Bad

Using the live-view function with an iPhone requires a $30 Connect View card.

The Bottom Line

The Contour GPS sports camera is the sweet spot in Contour's sports camera lineup, offering most of the features that most owners will find useful, and at an affordable price.

The ContourGPS is nearly identical in appearance to the ContourHD, with a few key differences. The two cameras have the same cylindrical-bullet design, in an aluminum chassis with a black finish. At the business end is the 1080p HD camera with its 135-degree wide-angle lens, which is identical to that of the ContourHD, but narrower than that of the Contour+. Like the ContourHD, the ContourGPS features a pair of laser pointers that can be activated to help with aiming, and the entire lens assembly can be rotated 180 degrees to keep the image level when the camera is positioned horizontally.

Just below the lens, an astute viewer might notice the small pinhole microphone and a status indicator LED that flashes green when the camera is on, red when recording, and blue when the Bluetooth antenna is activated. The sides of the unit are lined with the same rail system that all Contour cameras use, which makes the ContourGPS compatible with Contour's entire catalog of mounting options. Along the top edge is the recording slider, which has been enlarged to a hump and now contains the unit's GPS and Bluetooth antennas. Just in front of the recording slider is a hidden Bluetooth button that can be pressed to activate the unit's Bluetooth pairing mode.

At the tail end of the unit is the rear door, which has been redesigned to use a spring-loaded hinge (as opposed to the rubber tabs that so often tore on the ContourHD units of past). The new door has a mechanism to lock the door shut, power and SD card status lights, and an integrated power button. Unlocking the rear door and opening it is easily accomplished with one hand and reveals the Mini-USB port for charging and syncing the camera, the microSD card slot, a removable lithium ion rechargeable battery, and a slot for the Connect View card--which we'll get to in a moment. There is also a switch for toggling between two customizable preset recording modes.

Video and images
The ContourGPS has four video recording modes, a still-photo capture mode, and an array of options for each.

HD mode captures 1080p (1,920x1,080-pixel resolution) video at 30 frames per second. Tall HD captures at an odd 960p (1,280x960-pixel resolution), also at 30fps. Original HD steps down to 720p (1,280x720 pixels) at 30fps. Finally, Action HD also captures 720p but at 60fps. All of these modes are for the NTSC standard, but the ContourGPS can also be set to record PAL video in 25fps and 50fps increments.

Each recording mode also has three quality settings (high, low, and medium), automatic or user-set white balance, three metering modes (center, average, and spot), and adjustable contrast, exposure, and sharpness settings. Microphone sensitivity can be adjusted and GPS power and capture intervals can be set. GPS data is embedded in the MOV file that the ContourGPS produces, so you won't need to keep track of a separate metadata file if you want to archive your videos.

Still photos are captured at 5MP (2,592x1,944 pixels) at intervals of 3, 5, 10, 30, or 60 seconds.

Storyteller software
Recording modes and settings are all adjusted using Contour's Storyteller software, which is a free download from Contour's Web site. Aside from tweaking settings and updating camera firmware, the Storyteller software can be used to download and edit captured video from the connected ContourGPS unit. You can trim the beginning and end from a video, keeping just the good parts, by tapping the new Awesome button at the best part of your video to initiate the trimming mode. On the video's timeline, selection handles will appear around the point where the button was pressed. Simply drag the handles to the points where you'd like the clip to begin and end and Storyteller will crop the video for you. When GPS capture is enabled, Storyteller can also parse and display that data on a Google Map with an elevation graph.

Once the video is edited, you can post it (or just the awesome part) to Contour's video-sharing community for online playback via Contour's player with GPS map and speed data intact. You can also export your edited movie as an MOV file for posting to other video-sharing sites like YouTube or Vimeo. GPS data can also be exported separately as a GPX, CSV, or TXT file for use with external GPS software.

Earlier we mentioned that the ContourGPS uses aiming lasers, so it's fairly easy to use without a viewfinder. However, the ContourGPS has a trick that's even more useful and accurate for framing shots. After pairing the ContourGPS with an iPhone or Android phone via Bluetooth, you can install and launch a Contour application that turns the handset's screen into a viewfinder. This connection is not full-resolution and the frame rate is more akin to a slideshow than a video feed, but it's good enough to use for a few seconds at a time to make sure that the ContourGPS is pointed and oriented the way you want it before recording.

From the Contour app, you can also adjust the settings of the two user modes and select one or the other on the fly. The unit is able to pair with an Android phone out of the box. However, to pair the ContourGPS with an iOS device (iPhone 4, iPod Touch), you'll have to purchase and install a Contour Connect View card ($29.99).

It's no secret that we're fans of the top-of-the-line Contour+ sports camera; we gave it our Editors' Choice Award, after all. However, when we reviewed that camera, we recognized that its $500 price and feature set put it just outside of the comfortable reach of the average user. For the rest of you, the $350 ContourGPS is the camera we'd suggest. It does most of what the Contour+ does for about $150 less ($120 less if you're an iOS user and need the $30 Connect View card to add Bluetooth connectivity).


Contour GPS HD Wearable Camcorder Camera 1400

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 9