If you're snowboarding, mountain biking, or surfing, then odds are you've heard of or seen an action camera before. The rise of the GoPro, and of competitors like the Contour+, have made videos like this and this possible.
There are plenty of other places that action cameras can be useful, though -- the recent Russian meteor was captured on hundreds of dash cameras, recording inside owners' cars, and if you look carefully there are plenty of cyclists and motorcyclists on city roads with cameras strapped to their helmets for peace of mind.
Contour's ROAM 2 is a surprisingly cheap action camera -- where the original ROAM, which we reviewed in 2011,was $299, the ROAM 2 is $269, and we've seen it for around $220 on a few online and bricks-and-mortar stores.
The ROAM 2's video performance is impressive -- it's able to record in the same video formats as the Contour+, which we loved. Full HD 1080p is the highest quality, with selectable 25/30fps frame rates, and a 125-degree field of view. Stepping down to HD 720p quality lets you choose from 25/30/60fps, which means extra-smooth footage with the option of half-speed slow motion. 720p, along with a 25/30fps Tall HD 960p mode, all record at the ROAM 2's maximum 170-degree field of view -- seriously wide, almost as wide as the maximum theoretical field of view of your eyes.
The Contour ROAM 2 can also capture 5-megapixel still images every 1, 3, 5, 10, 30, or 60 seconds, making it useful for capturing a stop-motion catalogue of your actions. This makes sense if you want to have the camera recording every time you're driving, for example. This is far less memory-intensive than recording video -- basically, each Full HD frame is 2 megapixels, and at 30 frames per second that's 60 megapixels of information. Choose the still image mode and you'll be massively increasing the length of time that you can record for.
That 170-degree wide-angle lense is able to rotate its orientation over a 270-degree range of motion -- so you could have the ROAM 2 mounted upside down, or on its side, and still be recording at the correct orientation. The ROAM 2 is compatible with Contour's entire range of excellent mount options, too.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.