Contour ContourRoam2 review: Just the basics, but in a good way

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The Good A very simple POV action cam, the Contour ContourRoam2 produces nice video; is waterproof without requiring a housing; includes a 4GB microSDHC card; and has a threaded tripod mount for more mounting options.

The Bad All changes to settings -- including shooting modes -- are done with desktop software, and the ContourRoam2 can't record 1080p video at a 170-degree angle of view. The rechargeable battery can't be removed or replaced by a user.

The Bottom Line As long as you don't need to change shooting modes on the go, the ContourRoam2 is a simple way to capture fine-quality POV videos in dry or wet conditions.

7.4 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 6
  • Performance 8
  • Image quality 7

The ContourRoam2 is what happens when you take a really good action cam -- the Contour+ 2 -- and strip away almost all extra features, taking it down to just the essentials.

You still end up with a nice camera, but it basically captures movie clips and not much else. In fact, just to change shooting modes requires hooking it up to a computer. If you like to change resolutions, adjust camera settings, or even just snap off a couple photos in between shooting movie clips without connecting to a computer, the Roam2 isn't for you.

On the other hand, for those who just want to hit record and capture what comes next, it's a pretty good choice.

What's in the box
Despite being lean on features, the Roam2 comes with a decent amount of accessories for its $199 price tag. Along with the camera and lens cap, you get a Mini-USB cable for charging and transferring video and photos off the camera; an adhesive profile mount; an adhesive rotating mount; a 4GB microSDHC card (a rarity at any price point); and a sack with a lens cloth to keep everything in.

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Two adhesive mounts should be enough to get you started, but if you require something more, Contour has plenty of others that use its rail-mounting system, or you can take advantage of the quarter-inch threaded tripod mount in the bottom.

Contour's mounts slide into the rails on the camera's body. Sarah Tew/CNET

Also, while the Roam2 is waterproof down to 3.3 feet, there is a $40 housing that's good for dives down to about 196 feet.

Design and features
In design, the Roam2 isn't much different from the original CountourRoam. The bullet-style camera is slightly larger than its predecessor but still small, measuring 2.4 inches high by 1.3 inches wide by 3.9 inches long and weighing about 5 ounces.

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On top of the lens barrel is a wide sliding switch that both turns on the camera and starts it recording in one move. The slider has its own switch, which is a lock so you don't accidentally start or stop a recording. Beneath the lens barrel are the camera's mono mic and an activity light.

At the back is a status button that gives you a rough idea of remaining battery life and storage, and activates the camera's laser level above the lens. (The camera's lens rotates 180 degrees to the left and 90 degrees to the right.) The button is actually in the middle of a slide-up door.

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