It’s hard to say which manufacturer was the first to offer an inexpensive, consumer-oriented actioncam, although Oregon Scientific might be a good bet. In any case, it’s become a very competitive product category in recent years. While GoPro and Contour continue to stand out, in the past several months we’ve seen big-name electronics companies such as Sony and JVC throw their hats into the ring. Not wanting to be left out, Polaroid is now also offering a rough-and-ready, mount-it-anywhere video camera – in fact, it’s offering three.
The XS100 is the fanciest of the bunch, offering a choice of 720p, 960p or 1080p HD video, and 3MP, 5MP or 16MP still photos. It has a 170-degree wide-angle lens, a shockproof outer case that’s also waterproof to a depth of ten meters (33 feet), and a single-button record feature. It’s also reportedly the most light-sensitive of the three.
One of its more interesting features is an “auto rotation G-Sensor so the camera will always capture the best shot, no matter its position.” It’s not too clear what is meant by that, although one would assume that either the lens or the image sensor automatically rotates to keep the shot level, regardless of the horizontal angle of the camera itself.
Additionally, it records video in two file sizes – a large one for best quality, and a smaller one for easier uploading and sharing.
It’s priced at US$199.99.
Next in line is the XS20, which shoots 720p video and 5MP stills. Although it’s officially “lower” than the XS100, it does offer some of its own unique features. These include a ring of eight LEDs for low-light shooting, motion sensors that cause it to start recording when it detects movement (so it can be used as a security camera), and waterproofing that allows it to be taken as deep as 20 meters (66 feet) – twice the depth rating of the XS100.
It will cost you $99.99.
Finally, there’s the XS7. It combines the lower resolution of the XS20 with the shallower depth rating of the XS100, although it does appear to be the only one of the three to incorporate an LCD viewfinder/playback screen – quite a big feature, actually.
It sells for $69.99.
All three cameras shoot at a standard speed of 30 frames-per-second, although the XS100 is also capable of recording 60 fps slow-motion footage at 720p resolution, while the XS7 can do so at VGA 640 x 480. They also all come with helmet and bicycle mounts.
Obviously Polaroid is trying to keep the price down on any one of the cameras (the GoPro HERO2 costs $300, by comparison), although it would have been nice to see the LCD screen, 1080p video, and 20-meter water-proofing all combined in the same model.
The XS line should be available at Polaroid dealers as of the middle of this month.