We finally got the long awaited ContourGPS helmet camera in and since we didn’t sell out immediately on this batch, I got to take one out for a test spin. The first things I will talk about here are the new features of the camera itself. The new camera has a few physical improvements that make the unit superior to the regular Contour 1080P camera.
First is the rear door where the battery, memory card and plugs are stored.
The first major improvement is the locking rear door. I had a hard time with the other unit because the rear door used to flip up and open when I was powering on the unit. Now, that rear door is a bit smaller and has a hinge/hook type of thing that will not allow it to open by mistake anymore. It also has a lock on it to further its security. The power button is a bit easier to use as well. The slider button on top that you use to start and stop recording is much bigger as well. This is very helpful for when you have gloves on or are simply trying to start or stop recording at high speeds. It allows for more surface area to be grabbed and more easily slides back and forth while the unit is mounted on your head or goggles. The last improvement to the hardware comes where the battery is stored. The new locking lever that holds the battery in is easier to use and smaller. Overall, the simple design improvements between the ContourGPS and the Contour 1080P make the GPS unit a better buy in my opinion.
Now, for the actual GPS stuff that this camera is making its name with. Since we had sold so many so quickly and my test ride with the camera came up pretty spur of the moment, I did not have a chance to read the instructions or anything before taking out the new camera. Most importantly, you are supposed to turn the camera on, let it find its GPS positioning for 20 seconds or so and then start recording. Otherwise, if you start recording too quickly after powering up, you will not have a GPS signal. So, we kind of missed our GPS signal on many of the tracks/files that we were recording. Where we did manage to get a GPS signal of our track, it came out super cool and is definitely a great new feature that makes the camera worth the couple of extra bucks over the regular 1080P. Check out my ContourGPS video and you can see that the GPS tracks you on Google Earth and gives your altitude and speed – certainly a cool feature when you are bombing around the backcountry or on a motorized vehicle. I also use the Vented Helmet Mount for almost all my Contour recordings because I think it is the easiest tighten down and has the most versatility among my many types of helmets.
All in all, I think the ContourGPS is a better unit than the traditional 1080P unit due to the physical improvements made to this unit and the GPS tracking capability. Have fun out there and capture all those crazy moments! I promise more videos from us in the near future as we have a chance to get out more with this awesomely fun toy.