Action sports–inspired, waterproof HD cameras are all the rage today: they do everything, and they’re the size of a match box. When you’re testing any number of these contraptions, it’s sometimes easy to get lost in the fray. Every competitor has its ups and downs, design flaws, user-friendly attributes and nifty tricks that make it somewhat unique when compared to others in the segment.
The Contour ROAM2 is no different. It’s a pocket sized, HD capable, waterproof camera that looks cool and does its job. The ROAM2 is the little brother version to the beefier Contour+2, and successor of the original ROAM. It shoots full 1080P crystal clear video, is waterproof without having to fumble with a separate case, and even includes a laser leveling function to make sure you’re pointing the thing in the right direction; a pretty cool idea, if there was ever a time when you’d need it.
The one thing that really separates the ROAM2 from its biggest competitor GoPro is the fact that it’s tripod mountable without a plethora of sticky mounts. And, unlike its ever-popular competitor, it comes equipped with a 4GB microSD card, so it’s ready to go out of the box. As far as price goes, it’s a steal. Coming in at a modest $169.99 (current sale price) it’s not exactly expensive, and given its ability to shoot a beautiful image, makes a lot of sense.
However, setting changes are impossible on the go without plugging into your laptop. More expensive competitors in the segment can shoot image bursts, timelapses, and stills – as well as 2.7K and even 4K video, in a wide range of frame rates – with the flick of a switch. In this regard, the ROAM2 specs are a little bit behind the times (though we should remember that the ROAM2 is a minimalist, economy model). So if you’re out and you want to shoot stills with it – which you probably don’t anyway – plan to bring your laptop along.
But – and this is a big ol’ but – who cares? Unless you’re a professional videographer, or an action sports athlete trying to film a new video spot, chances are you’re only looking to capture memories with some buds. I know we’d all like to pretend that we’re Travis Rice, and we need a 1-million fps camera to capture all of our incredible moves, but we’re not. In all of these respects, the ROAM2 excels: it’s inexpensive, works well, records great quality video, has a long-lasting battery and only has two modes: on and off. It’s like your old man’s TDI Volkswagen Golf – reliable, simple and built like a bomb shelter.
Short and sweet. Thumbs up.