Pros:; Lens rotates; Multiple shooting modes; Wrist remote; Lets you change field of view; Excellent battery life; Robust iOS app
Bulky design; Waterproof case not included; So-so video quality
The Drift Innovation HD Ghost action cam boasts excellent battery life and a host of shooting options, but the video quality could be better.
One of the newest entrants into the action camera arena, Drift Innovation's HD Ghost camera brings a number of clever additions, including a large color LCD, easy-to-use remote, and excellent battery life. Can this $399 upstart usurp the likes of GoPro?
DesignContour+2 camera. Like that device, we also like that we could rotate the Ghost's lens 300 degrees, so we didn't have to be too particular about where we mounted it on our helmet. Instead of bare metal, the Drift camera has a rubberized coating, which makes it comfortable to hold.
On one side of the Ghost is a small color Gorilla Glass LCD that shows what the camera is recording, and lets you access the settings using the four rubber buttons along the top edge. The front-most button turns the camera on or off, and also stops and starts recordings.
We like the large wrist remote, which let us start and stop recording without having to reach up and fumble around on the camera itself.
By comparison, the GoPro Hero3 with its waterproof case--good for up to 197 feet--measures 2.8 x 2.6 x 1.4 inches and weighs 6.2 ounces. You can't yet take the HD Ghost to those depths--the company has yet to release a waterproof case, although the camera on its own can go as deep as 10 feet.
One advantage Drift's iOS app has over ones from Contour and GoPro is that you can download video from the camera to your iPhone, and then upload it directly to Facebook or YouTube.
In addition to viewing what it's recording, the Drift's LCD can also be used to adjust camera settings on the fly, from the resolution of video and stills to the field of view. We like that you can choose to record either a wide-angle 170 degrees, 127 degrees, or 90 degrees.
Other cool features include Video Tag/Loop, which records video in a 5-minute loop, and lets you save that footage if you happen to capture something really cool.
Drift estimates that the Ghost HD will last up to 3 hours on a charge. In our tests (VWGA at 30 fps), the device lasted 3.5 hours, the best among action cameras we've tested. The Sony camera, by comparison, lasted 3 hours, the Contour+2 lasted 2 hours, and the GoPro Hero3 lasted just 1.5 hours.
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|Size||4.1 x 2 x 1.3 inches|