Attractive and compact design; Comes with three sets of lenses; Can transfer footage wirelessly with optional accessory
Non-expandable storage; Had trouble maintaining focus; Short battery life
The Pivothead Recon Black Jet combines an action camera and sunglasses into one device.
The issue with most action cams is that, however small they are, they're bulky appendages on your helmet or person. The Pivothead Recon glasses eliminate that problem by combining a video camera and sunglasses into one, fairly compact unit. But can the $299 Pivothead shades deliver video quality on a par with dedicated action cameras?
At 2.4 ounces, the Pivothead glasses weight in a bit heavier than your typical pair of shades, but they didn't feel uncomfortable while we wore them. The glasses remained secure on our head even as we schussed down black diamond ski trails at Whiteface in Upstate New York, but as we started sweating, they would drop slightly down on the bridge of our nose.
We also found that we couldn't wear a facemask; any time we exhaled, the warm air would fog up the Pivotheads. This, however, will happen if you wear any type of sunglasses in this situation.
Pivothead makes 15 different styles of glasses; only the Recon model comes with three sets of lenses. However, consumers can also order clear or photochromic prescription lenses.
Controls are pretty basic: On the top of the left arm is a rocker switch, and on the bottom you'll find a power button and a microUSB port covered by a rubber flap. Three small LEDs on the inside -- red, green and blue -- indicate recording modes.
Storage and Transfer of Images
In order to get video and images off the Pivothead glasses, you must plug them into your computer via USB. You can also purchase the Air Pivothead, a $99 accessory that will let you stream and transfer video via Wi-Fi to a connected device, such as an iPhone.
Using the desktop software or the controls on the Pivothead glasses, you can switch video resolution from 720p/30 fps to 1080p/30 fps. You can also change the Video Recording focus to one of several settings: Auto Focus, Fixed Focus or Continuous Auto Focus. The desktop app offers a few more focusing options, including Active Mode, Action Sports Mode and Social Mode. According to Pivothead, the latter lets you "turn on the glasses, forget about them and relive the party tomorrow."
While skiing, we set the glasses to Active Mode, which continually adjusts the focus. However, the Pivothead glasses had trouble remaining in focus as we shifted our gaze from the slope in front of us to the horizon. While colors were bright and vivid, video wasn't as crisp as with other wearable cameras.
Wearers can take still images up to 8 megapixels in size. You can also set the camera to take photos at regular intervals, from once every second to five shots every 60 seconds.
With Social Mode on and resolution set at 720p/30 fps, the Pivothead camera lasted 1 hour and 11 minutes. That's about half the time notched by larger action cameras, such as the GoPro Hero3, which itself lasted only about 2 hours. To be fair, though, there's much less space for a battery in the Pivothead glasses.
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