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Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Contour updates line-topping action camera, reveals Contour+2

Contour's flagship model now offers more features, better out-of-the-box ruggedness, and a lower price.

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Contour's line-topping Contour+ HD sports camera would have been one of our favorites, but we hesitated to recommend it because Contour's own less-expensive cameras, the ContourGPS and the ContourRoam, were cheaper, more rugged, and easier to use.

With the debut of the new Contour+2, the replacement for the previous flagship, the camera maker draws from the lessons that it's learned with all of its previous action camera models, with a lower price and even picking up a few tricks from the competition.

The Contour+2 is essentially the successor to the Contour+ action camera that we reviewed last year, taking its place at the top of the Contour hierarchy. So it's no surprise that this new model possesses similar dimensions, construction, and features. The four HD recording modes (1080p/30fps, 720p/30fps, 720p/60fps, and 960p/30fps) of the previous model return, but are joined by a new 480p/120fps super slow motion recording mode.

From the ContourRoam, the Contour+2 inherits the Instant-On Record Switch that we loved so much. By eliminating the power button, Contour has made using the Contour+2 as simple as pointing the lens in a direction and sliding the Record Switch forward to simultaneously power up the unit and begin recording. Sliding the switch back stops video capture and powers the unit down, increasing the simplicity of operation (which is very important on a device that is designed to be used while wearing gloves) and saving power between captures. For the new Contour+2, a lock switch has been added to the Instant-On Record Switch to prevent accidentally recording the inside of your backpack on the way to the track or the slopes.

The Instant-On Record Switch combines the functionality of a power button and a record button into one flick of a slider. Antuan Goodwin/CNET
The Contour+2 now includes a waterproof shell that adds up to 60 meters of safe submersion. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Tired of being compared with the likes of the GoPro Hero2 (and the upcoming Sony Action Cam), Contour now includes a clear waterproof case with the Contour+2, with the capability to be safely submerged in up to 60 meters of water to the already weather resistant camera's list of features. This case retains compatibility with all of Contour's current rail mounting options and provides access to the Record Switch and status button.

The Contour+2 still retains compatibility with the Contour app right out of the box, which give the user the ability to use their smartphone as a mobile viewfinder, to adjust camera settings, and to initiate and end remote recordings. The app has been improved, boasting a much better frame rate on its live viewfinder than the previous iteration.

Likewise, the Contour Storyteller desktop app still allows users to upload and share their videos to Contour's own video site, YouTube, Vimeo, and -- new to this version -- Facebook. The video-editing application can now also encode GPS data into the captured video for display on any video-sharing service, where previously this feature was only available if the video was hosted on Contour's video service.

The new Contour+2 also comes with a lower MSRP of $399. That's a massive drop from the previous model's $499 price tag to a point that has priced Contour's mid-tier camera, the ContourGPS, right out of the lineup. The new Contour+2 and the new features of the Contour smartphone app and Storyteller software will be available later in September.