Review: VIO POV HD

My First Impressions on VIO POV HD

For a long time, I had my eye on the standard POV 1.5 camera system and I had always wanted one but could not afford the price tag. Then VIO released the POV HD and it looked good. Even my friend, who I sadly still miss, Steve Love (aka svengalie and also geocachespoilers on YouTube) owned two of them which he used for vlogging and other uses. That must mean it’s that good. But at that time, I had already owned the MiniDVR III (and now currently using MiniDVR HD) so I didn’t get the chance to buy this POV HD system.

Until… the POV HD box arrived for review on my doormat, with many thanks to DogCamSport. I was excited that I finally had the chance to see what all the fuss was all about and what everyone has been talking about! :)

The POV HD box comes with a very simple design and it includes the “porch case” inside the box. Grab hold of the porch handle, pull it out, unzip around the porch case to open it up and you will see all of the tools, the recorder and also the camera – almost everything you need to get started.

The recorder itself, when fitted with 4 x AA batteries, gives you a good weight at 328 grams and is easy to hold, giving your thumbs easy access to the buttons on the recorder. One thing to be aware of is that there is no 1/4″ thread which is a bit disappointing if you wanted to mount it somewhere secure. The good news is you can buy the VIO POV Power which comes with 12v external power kit and also the 1/4″ thread. This replaces the 4 x AA batteries and also the battery cover. And this can be powered from the car cigarette lighter socket or hard wired direct to a 12v source. So no more flat battery while on the move in your vehicle/motorbike.

One of the great things about this POV HD recorder is the new microprocessor used to encode the video, to give you the best result as possible. Here’s a quick blurb from DogCamSport website:

“… the POV HD uses the latest “Da-Vinci” microprocessor for encoding the video. This new chipset is bang up to date and is powerful enough to let the majority of the video processing be done by software instead of hardware. This means is the POV.HD helmet camera has cutting edge real time video correction giving it features such as; enhanced picture sharpness, correction for wide angled fish eye distortion and most importantly a filter which virtually eliminates the “wobble vision” effect that can be seen on HD cameras using a rolling shutter. The other massive advantage of having software controlled video processing is that it will be continually upgraded as new colour maps and image filters are improved by way of regular, free firmware updates.”

Sounds very nice! At the time of writing this review, the VIO website is offering v1.19 firmware for this recorder so if you have the old firmware, be sure to upgrade to the latest version to get the best video footage from it.

With the latest update, you can shoot in the following video formats – as you can see, there are lots to choose to suit your recording needs:

480p/25fps
480p/30fps

720p/25fps
720p/30fps
720p/50fps
720p/60fps

1080p/24fps
1080p/25fps
1080p/30fps

The porch case also comes with 4GB SDHC memory card, which means you can just put it in the recorder, plug the camera head to the recorder, fit the batteries and you’re all set! It also comes with a wireless remote which you can use to stop/start the recording and also tag a specific video to keep 10 minutes worth of footage while on the Loop settings. This is a great way to manage the memory card and allows you to keep the footage you wanted without any file management. Of course you can change the settings and it will record the full footage without tagging. It’s all down to your requirements. I would of course recommend you get the biggest memory card you can afford (up to max of 32GB) as recording HD footage does use up a lot of space – approximately 4 hours worth if recorded in 1080p @ 30fps or 720p @ 60fps.

The cable length from the recorder to the camera is 1.5M. This is long enough for most activities (e.g. snowboarding, motorbiking, biking, etc). You can carry the recorder in your backpack or pocket and fit the wireless remote on your handlebar or wrist for instant access buttons to stop/start the recordings and tagging of your video footage without having to take out the recorder unit to use the buttons.

This system comes with different mounts and clips, including magnets which I used to secure the camera head on my car’s bodywork and record the footages (see below for video) – it is strong enough to keep the camera placed on the car’s bodywork, however I would recommend that the magnets are covered in something soft to stop scratches on the paintwork. I have taken the car up to 50mph and it stayed on the bodywork very well. But I would be very nervous using it for prolonged speed and would recommend using a proper suction mount and adapter to ensure the camera head stays where you put it.

To move the camera head from one mount to another mount, you will need to use a screwdriver to take the mount apart before changing the mounts. Some of you may not like this but I feel this is very secure and ensures it does not fall apart during using it. So kudos to VIO for coming up with this design to make it secure for extreme sports!

On the recorder, there are 7 buttons, giving you quick and easy access to the menus, navigations and other options. The unit feels very sturdy and rugged, making me feel this is a very strong unit. It has been rated for IP67, which is dust, water and shock proof so you should feel safe using the unit when going off-roading in a very muddy conditions. :)

Now to the menu/setup on the recorder – it offers pages after pages of settings to customise the recorder to suit your needs. There are 27 different settings. They are:

LCD Sleep Timeout, Power Off Timeout, Speaker Volume, Alert Volume, Microphone Level, Record Method, Loop Record Time, Video Resolution and Frame Rate, Image Quality, Video File Format, Exposure Metering, Exposure Compensation, Noise Filter, Sharpener, Date and Time Stamp Overlay, LCD Brightness, Video Output, AV Out overlay Timeout, Remote Control ID, Language, Time and Date, Format SD Card, Update Firmware, Save Tags, Compile Tags, Recorder model and finally, Restore all default settings.

So as you can see, lots of options to make the best video footage for you. For the purpose of this review, I am using 1080p for the video resolution, 30 fps for the frame rate, the Image Quality set as High, using MOV as the video file format with the Exposure Metering set as Full Frame to record all of my footage. The camera head offers two different FOV (Field Of View). One is 142° if recording at 1080p and the other one is 95° if recording at 720p.

It recorded the video footage in daytime very well. I am very impressed with how it handled night footage. If you watch the video sample below, you can see what I mean. It’s FAR better than MiniDVR HD which appears very dark when there is little light, in contrast this POV HD shows far more detail. This is a truly a professional system. The phrase “You get what you pay for” comes to mind.

There are many other V.I.O. accessories to expand your collection for the POV HD system. These include protective carry pouch, RAM POV recorder cradle, chest harness, and much more. There’s no limit to what you can use the POV HD system for! It can be anything from a simple videoing of a bird in the woods to extreme activities like sky diving or snowboarding.

Video Sample (Don’t forget to change it to 1080p)

And the unboxing with review video that Steve Love did

What’s included in the box

    POV HD Recorder with LCD
    Wide Angle Camera Head
    LVDS Cable
    Wireless Remote Control
    Carrying Case
    Mounting Systems
    4GB SDHC Card
    USB Cable
    Analog A/V Cable
    Quick Start Guide
    4 x AA Batteries
    Preloaded Tutorials

Specifications

    Shock Proof
    Water Proof (1m/30 mins)
    Dust Proof
    Environmental Rating – IP67
    Recording Unit Size – 40mm x 60mm x 167mm
    Recording Unit Weight – 328 grams (With 4 AA Batteries)
    Camera Head – 58 grams
    Remote Control – 24 grams (With A27 Battery)
    Resolutions/FPS/FOV – 1080p/30fps/142°, 720p/60fps/95°
    Lens – 6 element glass len – F/# 2.0
    Image sensor – CMOS
    Operating Temp – -20C to 60C (-4F to 140F)
    Storage Media – Up to 32GB SDHC (Maximum)
    Recording Time (32GB) – 4 hours (1080p 30fps/720p 60fps)
    Video Codec + Container – H.264 – MPEG4
    Audio Codec – AAC
    Battery/Run Time – 4 x AA – 2.5 hours (1080p 30fps/720p 60fps) with Alkaline. For 4 x AA Lithium, it’s 5 hours

My overall thoughts

If you are looking for a high quality, professional HD camera system with very customisable settings and if the price tag is no object, this is the one for you! I am VERY impressed with the night footage – it shows much more detail than I originally expected. The next closest system that can almost match this is the MiniDVR HD system.

Good

    HD versions in 720p and 1080p with lots of different resolutions and formats to choose
    Comes with very powerful settings to adjust your needs
    Loads of features/options
    Water proof
    Shock proof
    Dust proof
    Rugged
    Good night footage

Bad

    Price tag might be a little but out of reach, but well worth it!

Rating – 5 out of 5

Link to purchase – http://www.dogcamsport.co.uk/VIO-POV-HD-Cameras.html

And if you use the Promotional Code of HTDC05, you will get 10% off from the price.