Contour+ Helmet Cam: Rough and Ready for Capturing Your X-treme Sports Action

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Just in time for summer, Contour Inc. has raised the bar for helmet/action cams with its announcement of the Contour+, an HD helmet cam that combines some of the features of its ContourHD and Contour GPS helmet cams in a spiffy new unit. New features include wider viewing angles and an HDMI output. B&H will carry this amazing new product.

The Contour+ helmet cam captures 1080p, 960p and 720p video at 30 fps, but can also capture 720p video at 60 fps for faster action shots. The camera can also capture 5MP still images with a resolution of 2592 x 1944 pixels. Everything is recorded on a microSD card, up to 32GB in capacity. A 2GB card is included with the camera, which is enough to store roughly one hour of HD footage.

A super-wide-angle lens provides a 170-degree field of view for 960p and 720p recording, and a 125-degree field of view for 1080p recording. The lens rotates so you can capture a perfectly horizontal image regardless of how or where you mount the camera. The camera features a built-in microphone, along with a 2.5mm jack to connect an external microphone.

Like the Contour GPS, the Contour+ sports an internal GPS receiver that tracks speed, location and elevation at four frames per second, and bundled software lets you review your escapades on an interactive map. The camera is powered by a removable lithium-ion battery, which will provide up to 2.5 hours of recording time.

Once a helmet cam is mounted, in other words, once it’s on top of your head, it’s impossible to monitor what the camera is recording, and difficult to make any changes to the camera’s settings. But the Contour+ has a workaround, in the form of embedded Bluetooth v2.1 and a free wireless viewfinder app, available for iOS devices now and for Android some time in the future. The Bluetooth connects to your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, and the app turns its screen into a wireless live viewfinder and also lets you change settings on the camera, check battery status, see if GPS is locked and so on.

Earlier Contour cams require that you transfer the microSD card to another device to view recorded video. But the Contour+ features a mini HDMI-output that lets you connect the camera directly to a big-screen TV to view recorded footage. You can also broadcast what you’re recording in real time, using an HDMI transmitter.

The Contour+ is housed in a rugged, water-resistant shell and an optional 60-meter waterproof case will be available this summer. Included with the camera are three mounts, a USB cable, a mini HDMI cable, a microphone cable and a lens cap.

The Contour+ measures roughly 1.3 x 2 x 3.75 inches, and it weighs 5.3 ounces. That’s pretty small. Some day a sports/action cam might be reduced to nothing more than a pair of hi-tech contact lenses, but until then, the Contour+ is as unobtrusive as it gets.