Contour+ helmet cam adds Bluetooth viewfinder

At US$500 the camcorder is aimed at outdoor enthusiasts and its variety of accessories help to get the perfect shot

Contour's latest wearable camcorder, the Contour+, boasts new features like clearer audio and a Bluetooth viewfinder, but its video quality, while good, keeps it from perfection.

Watch a video review of the Contour+ on YouTube.

The US$500 unit ships with three mounts, a rechargeable battery, microphone adapter, mini HDMI cable and USB cable. Also included is a 2GB micro SD card that can capture 16 or 30 minutes in 1080p or 720p mode, respectively. Additional mounts and accessories are available separately.

The most impressive feature on the unit is its ability to pair via Bluetooth with a cellphone and use it as a viewfinder. Previous models relied on lasers to line up a shot, but now users can preview shots and change camera settings through the app available for both Android devices and iPhones. The video on the viewfinder application is jerky and pixilated, but it's good enough to line up a shot.

One of the big drawbacks of previous models was that the small microphone on the unit's body would capture too much wind noise when moving at any significant speed. The Contour+ solved that problem by adding an external microphone jack. Unfortunately it's not a standard 3.5-millimeter connection, so you have to use the included adapter.

The video quality is good for a camera this size (150 grams or 5.3 ounces), but our footage did seem a bit desaturated and not as sharp as it could be. Set realistic expectations for this camera and it won't let you down.

When bouncing down a bike trail or carving up a ski slope, you might notice that the Contour+ could stand for some image stabilization, something missing in this model.

The body of the unit is sturdy and water resistant. All of the ports are covered to keep out dust, mud and sand, and the power button is much easier to activate than in previous models.

While there may be room for improvement in the video quality, the Contour+'s premium features like a Bluetooth viewfinder and audio input propel it ahead of its predecessors and competition.

Nick Barber covers general technology news in both text and video for IDG News Service. E-mail him at Nick_Barber@idg.com and follow him on Twitter at @nickjb.

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Tags consumer electronicsDigital camcordersContour

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