Monday, February 11, 2013

MashButtons reviews the Drift HD Ghost, good bye GoPro?

As someone that uses their GoPro often, when the Drift HD Ghost arrives at my doorstep, it’s kind of a big deal. The HD Ghost is a point of view action camera built to film at up to 60 FPS in 720p and 120 FPS in WVGA resolution. As my current action camera of preference is the GoPro Hero 2, I was thrilled to see that the HD Ghost not only comes WiFi enabled but also comes with a flat remote with a strap to go around your arm or wrist. While you do need to provide your own memory card, if you don’t already have one, the HD Ghost supports MicroSD up to 32GB in size and shoots photos at 11-megapixels. So after being delayed a weekend on a count of rain, I have finally given it the beating it was made for.

My review and impressions are based on my time spent filming while riding an ATV in a dry climate. What I liked was the goggle strap mount, mainly because it is less permanent and my helmet and quad are littered with black camera mounts already. The video quality is great, I always use 720p as it films at a faster frame rate and was impressed at how clear the video was, I actually preferred it to the Hero 2 as I got less glare from sunlight. Better though, was the 2 inch Gorilla Glass LED, making navigating through the interface easy and the WiFi in connection with my iPhone through Drift’s free app, so I can change settings on the fly without having to take off my helmet. I was a little worried about the fact that it did not have a protective case but it did get smacked by some tree branches and coated with dirt and some mud, but it cleaned up well without any scratches to the screen.

There were a couple of things that also had me missing my GoPro despite being the HD Ghost’s convenience and ease of use. The first would be the microphone, I expected to pick up wind noise while riding, along with some distortion from the exhaust but the the noise was a lot more than I was expecting. Some of that noise also came from the goggle strap mount and the sound of it rattling against my helmet. The more permanent helmet mount is a quick fix for the rattling, but if you lend out I would be sure to warn your friends or they may be disappointed. Lastly, if you plan on mounting this camera to anything other than your helmet or goggles, you will be surprised to find only flat and rounded mounts included, but a number of accessories are available to expand your options.

I was pretty impressed by this little action camera, while there were a few items I think could have been different, it had a lot to offer and most of all, worked extremely well and better than the Hero 2 in most cases. If you intend to used this camera mounted to your helmet or goggles, I would say this is the camera to go with. In the end it was the convenience and ways to access and film that won me over. I am talking to you, awkward fitting arm strap remote.

Click HERE for unedited video of a ride to see picture and sound quality.

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