If you want to capture both images and videos, you would have to choose from a very wide selection of promising cameras and camcorders. But if you narrow the category down to point-of-view cameras, your selection is much smaller even when compared to the DSLR cameras currently available. Despite that, the few competitors that make wearable cameras are very fierce with high-end cameras aiming for better video quality and more functions. Adding lots of features to a very tiny camera is a hard feat but Contour looks like it has a winner on its hands with the Contour+2.
The shape of the Contour+2 is similar to the previous model but has some noteworthy improvements. It is partially made of plastic so it isn’t waterproof on its own but it feels very light and the brushed metal barrel that keeps the internals intact adds a premium and clean feel. The power button is completely absent so you can record video whenever you like. All you have to do is slide the switch and the Contour+2 is instantly recording. The slider is slightly raised so you can easily find it no matter where it is mounted. It also has a textured feel so it is easy to use even while wearing gloves.
While the Contour+2 lacks a screen, it is still pretty easy to check the status of the camera. There are a few LEDs on the back of the camera that symbolize the battery life, memory card storage and GPS. Basically, you only have something to worry about if the battery or memory card indicator turns red. Also on the back of the camera is a mini-HDMI port so you can send video directly to a TV and a mini-USB port for charging purposes. Flip out the entire back and you can see the battery and microSD card slot.
The Contour+2 features various video modes to suit different occasions. The best overall mode to pick is the Action HD mode because it supports 60/50 fps. The resolution of this mode is just 720p but it still looks good and you can tone it down to 30/25 fps if you so desire. 720p videos are also small in file size which could be ideal if you want to cram a lot of video footage in the 4 GB microSD card that is included. Finally, the Action HD mode gives you the widest field of view (170 degrees). The Full HD mode is ideal if you want to see high-quality recorded footage in larger 1080p displays although you are limited to 30/25 fps. A Tall HD 960p mode is available as well which could be nice for bike riding since it crops out unnecessary details. Finally, the Slow Motion mode is more of a creative mode which could be useful for extreme situations. This mode isn’t available on the cheaper Contour ROAM2.If you want to save even more space and don’t mind still images, you can use the Photo Mode which continuously snaps photos at a specified interval as long as the recording mode is switched on. Thanks to the toggle on the back, you can assign 2 different presets using the Storyteller software so you can switch to another favorite mode on the fly.
The Contour+2 comes with several exclusive features that you won’t find in the Contour ROAM2 and some competing models. The highly noticeable Bluetooth button on the top allows you to pair the camera with smartphones that have the Contour Connect app installed. This free app is available for both iOS and Android devices and it allows you to use the mobile device as a remote viewfinder. Although the front-mounted laser is really helpful for aligning the camera, the viewfinder gives you a better idea on what the camera actually sees. It is also possible to control the camera remotely using the app so you can do things like start or stop the recording or check the battery and memory card status if you are unable to see the indicators. Finally, you can configure the settings through the app eliminating the need to connect the camera to a computer via USB just to use the Storyteller software.
GPS is also built-in to the camera and it comes with a few nifty functions. You can obtain various statistics like the speed, altitude and map data and even embed these details on the video. It is also possible to export the GPS data to a GPX file so you can load it on to a supported tracking application. The overlay graphics look really cool and you can share videos with that embedded data to sites like YouTube.
On its own, the Contour+2 is an outstanding little action camera and the $349 makes perfect sense since it targets other flagship models offered by competitors. The overall video quality is great and the mounting possibilities are virtually limitless especially if you purchase the other Contour mounts. The internal microphone lacks on the performance side but you can add an external microphone if you need to. If there is one good reason to pick the Contour+2 over the $199 Contour ROAM2, it would have to be the smartphone connectivity because the remote viewfinder is really cool and the ability to change settings on the fly makes the camera adaptable to different situations. It is a great long-term investment if you will frequently use this camera.