Pivothead Durango (glacier blue) review: Pivothead Durango (glacier blue)

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MSRP: $349.00

The Good The lightweight Pivothead Durango eyewear puts a video camera right between your eyes for easy and reasonably discreet hands-free capture of full HD video.

The Bad The Durango design isn't for everyone and while the video quality is very good for this type of device, it might not be good enough for some considering its $350 price.

The Bottom Line Pivothead's pricey Durango video-recording eyewear is a fast, easy way to shoot Web-friendly POV movies.

7.0 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • Image quality 7

There are several options when it comes to capturing hands-free point-of-view video (POV), but most of them require mounting a camera to your head. In the case of the Pivothead video-recording glasses, though, it's as simple as, you guessed it, putting on a pair of glasses.

Smack dab between the eyes of the glasses is a lens with an 8-megapixel Sony CMOS sensor behind it capable of capturing full HD MP4 format video at 30 frames per second as well as 8-megapixel stills. And since the storage, battery, and controls are all built into the glasses, there's no extra bits to worry about. Just put them on and start shooting.

While that is very freeing, when it comes time to record whatever activity you're doing, the self-contained nature of the glasses means you're definitely working with some limitations.

The Pivothead Durango glasses I tested look a whole hell of a lot like a pair of Oakley Gascan sunglasses. If it's not your style, there are three other models and 16 styles in all, but one's more sporty than the next. A couple of the models come with interchangeable lenses and the Durango can be fit with prescription lenses.

Basically, if you don't like sporty-looking sunglasses, these aren't for you. Frankly, you're probably not going to be wearing these for aesthetics, what with the camera lens front and center, and, while I'm sure you can come up with other use cases for them, they're pretty much designed for sports.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The frames are coated with a matte black rubber that gave them some grip when wearing them. The Durango lenses are impact resistant (ANSI Z80.3), but Pivothead doesn't make any durability claims beyond that. The hinges seem fairly tough, though, and the frames are flexible so they don't feel like they'll easily snap. However, simply twisting them a little was enough to pop up the frame piece covering the back of the camera module on our early production glasses. Basically, they can probably take a bit of rough treatment, but they're by no means sealed up tight.

As for controls, there's just the rocker switch on top of the left arm, a power button on its underside (next to a covered Micro-USB port), and that's it. Press forward on the rocker to record video and press back to take a snapshot. Pressing and holding each of these separately for four seconds lets you cycle through focus modes and recording resolutions.

There are three LEDs on the inside of the left arm to give you a visual cue when you're recording, changing settings, or charging. Of course, once the glasses are on, these are impossible to see, and a few times when testing I was recording when I didn't know it, and not recording when I thought I was. Unfortunately, I'm not sure there's a better location for them, except for maybe above a lens.

Out of the box, the glasses are set to record video at a resolution of 1080p at 30 frames per second and capture photos at 8 megapixels. The glasses default to fixed focus, which sets the focus to an intermediate point so everything in your scene is for the most part in focus. This, again, can be changed by pressing and holding the back rocker switch; the other options are continuous AF that will continue to adjust focus as your subject or head move around and a regular AF that focuses on whatever you're looking at when you press record.

Screenshot by Joshua Goldman/CNET

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