Swann SportsCam DVR-460
Great value; loads of mounting options; small and light
No microSD card supplied
Mini video cameras that you can attach to your helmet, bike, surfboard or other sports equipment have become the must-have gadget for adrenaline junkies.
For a while the market seemed to be dominated by the GoPro HD Hero but we’re now seeing a wealth of alternatives. One of the latest is the waterproof SportsCam from Melbourne-based Swann.
The SportsCam is smaller than a matchbox at 2.8cm x 4.8cm x 2cm, and weighs just about nothing, so you won’t even notice it mounted on your body or sports gear.
Those mounting options included in the box are many. The main components are a clip which accepts a strap, pin-clips that you can wear like a brooch, a waterproof housing, a silicon sleeve and a variety of straps, clips and brackets.
The only accessory that Swann sells separately is the surfboard mount because it can’t be taken off the board once mounted – all the others are multiple-use. And, as Swann says, “There wasn’t enough room in the box. Sucks, but true.”
An aside here: Swann’s manuals are really well written, with a fair dose of humour. If only they were all like this.
The unit itself is a nice-looking black plastic pod with a lens on the front. There are Power, Record Video and Take Photo buttons on one side and, on the other side, a VOX switch (turning it on makes the SportsCam start recording when it hears a sound) and a slot for a microSD card.
There’s no built-in memory and there’s no card included in the box, so you’ll have to go out and buy one. It would be nice to see a small- capacity card included in the box.
The SportsCam records video at 640 x 480 resolution at 30fps. This allows you to record between 15 and 20 minutes of video per gigabyte of storage. Still images are recorded as JPEGs at 1280 x 960 pixels.
Image quality is really good for such a small unit. The colours are accurate, it does a good job of adjusting to changes in brightness, and there are far fewer movement artefacts than expected.
The built-in Lithium Polymer battery takes an hour to charge, and gives close to two hours of constant use.
The camera is recognised by iPhoto, and it also mounts as a drive on your desktop. The MJPEG-AVI files play in both iPhoto and QuickTime.
Macworld Australia’s buying advice
If you’re after a go-anywhere camera that you can mount to just about anything and that doesn’t cost a lot, you can’t go wrong with the SportsCam. It’s excellent value, especially with the waterproof housing and all the mounting options.