When word of the ContourHD hit the internet early this year the action sports forums and blogs were buzzing with excitement. VholdR has definitely created quite a stir with this release. Not only is this the first helmet camera to boast HD 1280x720 resolution, it’s also delivered in a sleek, sexy black package that will appeal to the most particular buyer.
Upon first receiving the package, you first notice the clever presentation of the clear plastic and glossy black cardboard which is formed in a way to look like the camera is actually attached to goggles of the gentleman on the package.
After taking the box apart, you get to reveal the goods:
- ContourHD Camera
- 2 GB MicroSD (16 GB Maximum)
- Goggle mount
- Flat surface mount
- Rechargeable battery (up to 3-4 hrs)
- USB cable
- Quick start guide
On first inspection, you start to wonder how they managed to incorporate such a feature rich product into a tiny package. The brushed black aluminum base is light and smooth, easy to hold and has a very Mission Impossible look. Just like the newer laptops, smooth and metallic is prevailing in the helmet camera field.
You may wish to take a quick run through of the instructions just in case you aren’t familiar with the design of the previous VholdR model. Thankfully VholdR has kept the easy to use format. Using the camera is as simple as turning it on, waiting for the camera to “beep”, then you are in standby mode and ready to go. To record, simply move the top recording slider into the REC position, where the camera will beep again letting you know the camera is recording. Also, the front indicator light turns orange from green. When finished recording, simply slide the REC slider back and the camera will beep again, letting you know recording has stopped.
If you wish to make use of the two lasers to line up a shot, simply press the power button once and the lasers are activated. If you find that they are not your desired level, you can adjust this by physically rotating the end of the lens. This will allow the lasers to point either horizontal or vertical or if you desire, in between.
Before using it for the first time, I would recommend letting it charge in the USB port of your computer for a minimum of 3 hours to get a full charge. Although recording time on the battery is approximately 3-4 hours, you are able to use a 16GB microSD card for up to 8 hours of recording. If you are avid about recording every moment of your adventure, I would definitely recommend picking up an extra battery or two and the international battery charger. This international battery charger lets you charge two batteries at once. Place one battery directly on the charger and place the second in your camera which will connect directly to the charger with the included USB cable. Very Nice.
You can also change between HD mode and SD mode on the fly. By sliding off the end rubber piece, you expose the USB port, microSD memory card slot as well as switch to flip between SD (848x480) and HD (1280x720p). The rubber piece easily and firmly slides back into its original place once you are finished. The SD format also has a feature I wish more helmet cameras would incorporate, a 60 frame per second shooting mode that gives super smooth action and more lifelike videos.
One thing I thought I should note, make sure you power off the device before changing microSD cards. Reports are floating around of issues occurring when the card has been removed when the power is on. Formatting the card again seems to fix the issue.
Reviewing your video clips is also fairly easy and straight forward. Simply turn the camera on and plug the included USB cable into your computer. My computer detected the new removable drive “CONTOURHD” right away and installed drivers within seconds. This allows you to go into My Computer in Windows and open the camera’s memory like a drive. Simply opening up one of the folders revealed all my videos, double clicking them opened Windows Media Player and showed them speedily, and in high resolution clarity. The first time you see the HD quality in all its glory is really quite amazing, and you really feel why the VholdR ContourHD is such a breakthrough for helmet cams. Without any doubt in my mind, I really felt like it was worth every minute waiting, and every penny spent.
The mounts included are the goggle mount and flat surface mount. These should satisfy most people’s uses, but there is an extensive list of mounts and all of the mounts that were available for the previous VholdR camera work with the ContourHD as well.
VholdR has also begun offering a piece of video editing and sharing software called “Easy Edit” for Mac and PC which allows you to import videos from your camera if it is plugged in, or any sort of drive or removable. Quick functions let you login to your account on VholdR.com and post, as well as share your videos with buddies and submit to contests. The system requirements are a bit high, and I found that playback without a good video card is a bit laggy.
All in all, the ContourHD is a great buy. Sleek, inexpensive, and high quality HD video make this camera a must have for any person loving the outdoors or a good adventure. Unanticipated excessive buyer demand has kept this out of everyone’s hands, and hopefully that will change shortly so that everyone can experience this great piece of technology.