Drift X170: Action Camera Review



helmet cam

The Drift Innovation X170 is made for those with a budget in mind. It shoots both standard definition sport videos and 5MP stills to capture all the action from a wide variety of perspectives.

Features:

• DVD resolution video (720x480 pixels)
• CMOS sensor
• 5 mega pixels photos
• Wide angle lens - 170°
• Lens can be rotated into position through 300°
• Built-in LCD viewing screen - 1.5”
• Capture photos / videos
• Built-in microphone
• Speaker for audio playback
• User friendly control panel
• Expandable memory – SD card (16GB max)
• Adjustable microphone levels
• Direct to TV AV playback – NTSC and PAL
• Radio frequency wireless remote control (Up to 5m)
• Multiple mounting mechanism including standard 1/4” (8mm) camera thread
• Multilingual Instructions Manual and Menu Settings: 6 languages (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese)
• Waterproof to 0.5 m (1.7 ft)
• 1 year manufacturers warranty.

Overview:

The Drift X170 has a bunch of features that definitely make it stand out from its competitors.

The first thing we noticed when playing with the camera was the color LCD screen. Setting up shots couldn’t be easier and the ability to review footage on the fly is priceless. It’s also very easy to navigate through the on-screen menu to change any video or photo settings on the fly.

drift lcd screen

Another feature that really impressed us was the rotating lens, which gives users a lot more flexibility when mounting the camera. The camera doesn’t always have to be upright; it can also be mounted sideways or upside down with an easy twist of the lens, post-production flipping or the use of excessive conversion mounts are no longer necessary.

The Drift X170 also comes with a wireless remote that works up to 16 feet (5 m) away. Although this may tend to get in the shots from time to time and may be unnecessary at others, it definitely has its advantages for certain sports and angles.

drift remote control

Mounting Options:

Unlike other point of view cameras, the Drift comes ready to play with a wide range of mounts. Included in the box are the bicycle mount, helmet mount, head strap mount, goggle mount and even a wrist mount for the remote control. On top of those, there is a standard tripod thread in the camera itself, a thoughtful idea that just makes sense.  The threaded tripod mount gives you the ability to use many other available mounts.

drift tri pod mount

Not only does the Drift shoot video, it also captures 5 Mega Pixel photos. We found it a bit confusing trying to figure out when the camera is actually taking the photo because it has two separate beeps in the process but the pictures seemed to turn out pretty nice.

drift - sample photo

Actual photo taken with the Drift X170

Along with such a low price for a fun piece of equipment come a few shortfalls when compared to higher priced offerings.

When viewing back the video on a large computer monitor we quickly realized that the video quality is, well Standard Definition and not the same quality when compared to its pricier HD camera stepbrothers. The quality is very comparable to the SD GoPro, which makes sense given the similar price point. This is due to the lower end CMOS sensor, which not only leaves more artifacts on the screen at times, but also places a black dot in front of the sun if it’s visible in any of your shots. The other thing we noticed is that the exposure is adjusted in large steps rather than small increments. This makes the adjustments more noticeable when looking back at the footage. 

Although we prefer HD, it is important to note that not everyone can view and/or edit HD video. These file sizes are generally quite big and a major drain on your computers resources. There is also the requirement of an HD display in order to get the full benefits of it. Currently, SD is the most widely used format for both online and offline broadcasting.

We also noticed that the Drift X-170 is slightly bulkier than we would like. It’s not much of an issue for most mounting options but we found the camera a bit heavy for the included head strap mount and for mounting on the front of our cross-country style helmet. It would be better to mount it on the side of a helmet.  If you are using a full-face or a study dirt jumping (hard hat style helmet) the Drift will work just fine.

Interestingly enough, the Drift X170 weights in at 4.5 oz (128g), compared to 4.9 oz (139 g) GoPro Helmet Hero. Drift’s lower mounting profile means, you will not have it knocked or snagged by low hanging trees or branches when mounted on top of a helmet or other gear.

goggle strap mount

The bicycle mount could use a bit of improvement. You only have two options: mount it with or without the rubber cushion inside the ring. We found that while it works fine on some parts of the bike, other parts of the bike do not fit properly into the mount. In this photo you can see that we couldn’t tighten the mount enough for the camera to stay upright on the chain stay.

drift handle bar mount

This can be easily solved with a bit of extra tape or rubber strips from an old bike inner tube, so don’t be afraid to be creative. It would be nice if Drift Action Cams starts including different size inserts for this mount.

Another thing to keep in mind is the battery type. AA batteries are required to run the camera, meaning you’re either buying new batteries on regular basis or you have to purchase rechargeable batteries. We found that the alkaline batteries included only lasted for about 1.5 hours. According to the Drift website these batteries are just testers, and it’s recommended to buy the Energizer NiMH rechargeable batteries which can last up to 4 hours dependent on the operating temperature.

If you are thinking of buying batteries and charger, for $60 more the Drift X-170 MegaPack is a good choice.
In addition to the Drift X170 Package, the MegaPack includes Suction Cup Mount, Battery Charger with 2 x AA Rechargeable Batteries, Car Power Adapter, SD Card Reader and 8GB SDHC Card.

Test Videos:





Summary:

At the end of the day, you’re getting a point of view camera package ready for action. Although the quality isn’t the best on the market, it’s certainly holds its own compared to similarly priced cameras.

If you are looking for a standard definition camera with lots of prepackaged mounting options, an LCD screen and a remote control, the Drift Innovation X170 is the camera for you.

Priced at $199 The Drift is the best camera with an LCD and remote under $300 by far.

With the color LCD screen, setting up shots couldn’t be easier. The on-screen menus are very easy to navigate so changing any video or photo settings is a snap. Plus, the ability to review footage on the fly is priceless.

All of this means you will be shooting and sharing your videos and photos with ease. Show of your daily pursuits from your unique point of view.  It’s like having a digital phone camera in your pocked, only much better.

Drift X170 User Reviews:

Read Drift X170 Customer & User Reviews.

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