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ContourGPS Helmet Cam Review

The ContourGPS is officially available!  Order one from Helmet Camera Central

Contour (formerly VholdR) has done it again! Helmet cameras have already reached the highest video resolution that is currently available, so what comes next? Integrated GPS of course! Introducing the ContourGPS. Record life-like, full resolution, 1080p HD video on your head, track your position, speed, and elevation and share it online in seconds with Contour’s new ContourGPS, the world’s first full 1080p HD wearable camcorder that allows you to shoot HD video AND track your progress on GPS. At just $349.99, the ContourGPS was designed with the needs of outdoor enthusiasts in mind. This durable camera provides amazing video clarity (choose between a plethora of high definition or high action video modes), ease of use, and a host of mounting options and accessories. Contour continues their successful ContourGPS series with the same form factor, and amazing video quality, and improves it with the addition of a GPS.

Highlights of the ContourGPS :

  • Integrated GPS: Tracky your location, elevation, and speed.
  • Full HD - 1080p (1920x1080) @ 30 fps
  • Tall HD - 960p (1280x960) @ 30 fps
  • Action HD - 720p (1280x720) @ 60 fps
  • Contour - 720p (1280x720) @ 30fps
  • Fast SD - WVGA (848x480) @ 60fps
  • 135-degree wide angle lens
  • 5 Megapixel Sensor
  • Internal microphone (Adjustable)
  • Quicktime H.264 MOV with AAC Audio
  • MicroSD/SDHC up to 32GB (2GB included) - Up to 8 Hours of HD video
  • Rechargable Lithium Ion Battery - Up to 3 hours per charge
  • iPod(USB) Charge Compatible
  • Adjustable Contrast, Light Metering, Exposure and Mic Sensitivity
  • Fits Contour TRailTM mount system
  • Contour Edit and Share software
  • Read the full review with sample video after the jump!

Table of Contents for Review of the ContourGPS 1080p

What You Get

Included in the box, you will find the following:

  • ContourGPS wearable camcorder
  • MicroSD card (2GB)
  • Goggle mount
  • 2 new flat surface mounts
  • Rechargeable battery (up to 3 hrs)
  • USB cable
  • Quick start guide

The Contour ContourGPS Wearable Camcorder


ContourHD<i>1080p</i>1080p mounted to a helmet

This was the obvious next step in helmet cam technology and boy does it look nice. We already know the 1080p video at a smooth 30 frames per second will please even the most demanding videophiles, as will the amazing color rendition, excellent exposure, and great contrast. The variety of video modes provided allows the consumer to capture video at frame sizes and rates to fit their needs. The 720p (1280 x 720) @ 60 fps is an absolute dream to watch when played back in slow motion! It features four HD settings (1080p, 960p, and two at 720p) with two frame rates (30fps and 60fps) and four configurable settings (metering, contrast, exposure, and microphone sensitivity). But most importantly, the ContourGPS software will share your adventures in "Lifelike" 1080p video to Contour.com.

The image sensor and video processing chipset focuses on motion and color so that the watcher has a like-like experience during viewing. The resulting HD footage is a true pleasure to watch whether it's in it's native video state - or viewed online at Contour.com. Another new addition to the mix is the abiltity to adjust Contrast levels, Light Metering, Exposure and Microphone Sensitivity. The settings can be easily adjusted when the ContourGPS is connected to your PC or MAC via the USB cable using the included Easy Edit software. In addition to powerful video settings and enhanced color saturation, the ContourGPS is also equipped with a 135-degree fisheye lens to record the entire scene without over-distorting the video. The overall video quality in the ContourGPS has AGAIN improved significantly.

The GPS adds an entire new layer to your storytelling! The built-in GPS receiver tracks your location multiple times per second with pinpoint accuracy so you are able to capture your location, speed, and elevation while recording in beautiful hands free HD. Make your video come to life with the Contour software. You can watch your run via interactive map and video player that allows you to see and control the action. The software interface is pretty dang sleek indeed, dear reader. Once we get some more seat time with the unit and the software, we'll update the review.

Contour provides a simple to use Storyteller application to download the videos from your camera to your computer in just a few clicks. Editing is as simple as an “Awesome” button to feature the best parts of your story, then you can become the ultimate producer by adding a title, description, and tags. Watch your run on the interactive map that lets you see and control the action as it happens.

So that users have a wealth of video to choose from, the ContourGPS uses an internal microSD memory card that easily stores up to eight hours of HD footage and is compatible with up to 32GB memory cards. The ContourGPS also features an upgraded microphone that records all of the action, without the wind noise due to its ability to adjust the microphone sensitivity.

Contour not only designed the ContourGPS to capture exceptional quality video, they also designed the camcorder for ease of use. The camera features a single, oversized record button, which you can slide forward to begin recording and slide back to stop. A rotating 192-degree lens and two lasers help users accurately align shots. Users simply rotate the lens until the lasers are lined up horizontally.

ContourHD1080pWith all of these features, users might expect a delicate or cumbersome camcorder. However, the revolutionary ContourGPS is light (5oz, 116g), compact, and durable. The camcorder's water-resistant body is made of anodized aluminum and rigorously tested to withstand dirt, dust, mud, and snow. Additionally, the ContourGPS is impact, shock, and vibration resistant, and the all-in-one design of the ContourGPS means that users don't have to fumble with multiple wires.

Capture HD video anywhere and from any angle with this versatile camcorder. The ContourGPS is compatible with Contour's TRailTM Mounts, which provide a variety of options, including mounts for goggles, handlebars, helmets, and vehicles. Included with the camera are 2 of the new helmet mounts and goggle strap mount. The new helmet mount is officially called the Rotating Flat Surface Mount. No more velcro! The ratchet type rotation lets you set the perfect angle and then push the lock button to hold the camera in place.  The goggle strap mount provides cool point of view and is very convenient to use.

Contour dramatically improved the quality of the microphone and it's positioning. The microphone has been relocated to the front of the camera, utilizing the camera body to divert air away from and around the mic which reduces wind noise.

Another cool upgrade is still photo mode - In addition to being able to choose from 3 resolutions and 2 frame rates, the ContourGPS has a still photo mode. When you want to freeze the action, the photo mode is your perfect shot. Pick from 6 rates (1, 2, 5, 10, 30, or 60 seconds).

There are also a few physical changes on the ContourGPS (besides the obvious GPS "hump"). The back door is now much more secure, and actually locks. There's also an LED light under the record switch that illuminates when in record mode, and a sliding record switch that clicks into place.

The ContourGPS makes it as easy to share videos as it does to record them. Thanks to Contour's  software (PC and Mac compatible) users can easily edit, upload, and share their videos with friends, family, and the world.

The Contour ContourGPS wearable camcorder is equipped with numerous features and upgrades to ensure that outdoor enthusiasts and adventure-seekers capture the best footage in HD. However, there are some limitations. As with most camcorders, battery life is an issue; the ContourGPS is no exception. The camcorder features a rechargeable lithium ion battery and testing revealed that the ContourGPS only had approximately two hours of battery life. To avoid missing any shot, backup batteries are a great idea.

While the ability to capture 60 frames per second is exciting, it isn't particularly useful for distributing video footage because YouTube and DVDs do not support 60 frames per second. Contour's video sharing portal will support 60 frames per second. For those not using of Contour's sharing portal, a potential solution is to stretch out sections of the video to 30 frames per second resulting in super smooth slow mo.

Contour ContourGPS Documentation

A quick start guide is included with the ContourGPS .
Download a PDF Version of the guide (COMING SOON).

H.264 Codec Settings

The ContourGPS uses a highly used codec called H.264 - also referred to as MP4, MPEG-4, or iPod Video. The audio codec is AAC. Both of these "codecs" are very portable and can be easily edited in any of todays off the shelf (or free) video editing tools.

The basic codec settings for the Contour ContourGPS are as follows:

  • Full HD - 1080p (1920x1080) @ 30 fps @ 15min/GB @ 110 deg FOV
  • Tall HD - 960p (1280x960) @ 30 fps @ 15min/GB @ 135 deg FOV
  • Action HD - 720p (1280x720) @ 60 fps @ 15min/GB@ 135 deg FOV
  • Contour - 720p (1280x720) @ 30fps @ 30min/GB@ 135 deg FOV
  • Fast SD - WVGA (848x480) @ 60fps @ 60min/GB @ 110 deg FOV

Sample Video - Compressed for the Web

The video mapping viewer is too wide to fit on our blog, but check it out on Contour's site.

Below is some sample footage from the Contour1080p, which features the same image sensor.

Recording Capacity

The Contour ContourGPS is microSD/SDHC compatible (includes 2GB) and supports up to 16gb capacity cards. You can expect the following recording times:

  • Full HD - 1080p @ 30 fps = 4 Hours
  • Tall HD - 960p @ 30 fps = 4 Hours on 16GB microSDHC
  • Action HD - 720p @ 60 fps = 4 Hours on 16GB microSDHC
  • ContourGPS - 720p @ 30fps = 8 Hours on 16GB microSDHC
  • Fast SD - WVGA @ 60fps = 16 Hours on 16GB microSDHC
Battery Time

The Contour ContourGPS runs on a rechargeable lithium ion battery and can record up to 3 hours.

Warranty and Support

Twenty20 offers a 180-day warranty, ensuring that the ContourGPS is free from workmanship and materials defects. Helmet Camera Central is here to assist with any issues that may arise with any products that have been purchased from us.

Summary and Recommendation

The Contour ContourGPS is a very nice piece of technology. It looks good, and so does the resulting video footage. The level of video quality coming from this device puts the Flip and many camcorders to shame! As the world's first wearable all-in-one 1080p HD camcorder that allows you to film, record your speed, elevation, and location via GPS, and share on the web, the ContourGPS is again breaking new ground. It is lightweight, yet rugged enough to withstand the elements while capturing exceptional quality video, regardless of the angle. The included t software makes editing and sharing videos easier than ever. The ContourGPS is recommended for outdoor enthusiasts interested in capturing adventures in HD and sharing them with the world.

ContourGPS Buying Options


We Review and Sell Helmet Camera Systems

Helmet Camera Central was born as a result of our helmet cam experiences from our video consulting business, Two Brothers Video. Helmet Camera Central is a resource designed to help people find objective and pertinent information about helmet camera systems. Since 2005, we have reviewed numerous helmet camera systems with an unbiased and objective point of view. Our reviews focus on the functional and usability aspects of helmet camera systems. Since we use helmet camera systems in addition to selling them, our reviews result from actual day-to-day experiences with the products. Ease of use, reliability, and quality are our top priority. Rest assured, the helmet camera systems that we recommend and sell at HelmetCameraCentral.com were chosen for good reason: they rock! There are many systems out there, but the ones we recommend provide exceptional quality and services for the best return on your investment.

We are also here to answer your questions and help you choose a helmet camera system that meets your needs. If one of our recommended systems is a fit for you, you can find it at HelmetCameraCentral.com. And if our recommended systems do not fit your needs, we will put you in contact with the right vendor to find the best solution.

Change Log
9/23/10 / Erik / Version 1.0
** First Draft.

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