Winter finally showed itself around here, enabling me to finally get out into predominantly gray/white conditions (aka the stuff that throws off a camera’s sensors/white balance) with the IronX Cam I can put together a final review. As most people come to this site via some form of a snowboard link I wanted to make sure I actually had a vid where you could see the quality in various snow and light conditions. After using the camera in a variety of settings over the past month or so my first impressions still hold true, with a few additions.
Jumping straight to samples, the two short vids below will give you a feel for the camera’s output when using software and hosting the average user would likely use – iMovie and Vimeo (and it should be noted that the video quality looked better than it does in those Vimeo clips due to their file downsizing and optimizing). For the most part things are in focus in the foreground and background, the field of view isn’t annoyingly wide (unlike my 1st gen GoPro), and it handled a range of light conditions on the hill admirably.
Overall the IronX Cam exceeded my expectations for functionality and durability, and as you can see above the video quality was good enough for how most will use it – to relive and share their adventures online. It’s also a strong value, as you get everything shown below with your paid admission.
Now, for the question everybody wants an answer to “Would you buy the IronX Cam instead of a GoPro“? My answer: “It depends”. If I was cash strapped and just looking to share my videos on a quality for the web, you bet. For that Best Buy street price of ~$160 you get a package that would cost you almost double to purchase from GoPro. However, as with anytime you purchase from a new vendor you are buying into uncertain customer service and product lifespan (that said they have updated their website to include new products and a new camera in the time that I’ve had the cam, a promising sign). Given that uncertain product lifespan/customer service and given that these days we are accustomed to ‘disposable technology’ (aka how does the microwave we got when I was 5 last til I’m 30 but a new one lasts one year??) I would have to say that if you have the money the GoPro is still the way to go. They just filed their S1 so it’s a safe assumption they’ll be around for awhile if you need them, plus they always have firmware updates for when they discover issues with the software.
-Great value as you get a complete package (RF remote, variety of backs for the case and mounts) for a street price of around $160 bucks (Best Buy)
-Feels of similar or higher in quality than my 1st gen GoPro HD
-Buttons easier to push than a GoPro, which is nice when you are a few hours into a tour, have horrible circulation and are wearing gloves (this can also be seen as a negative though as it makes it easy to accidentally switch modes)
-Intuitive menu navigation
-The OLED screen is very bright and who isn’t a sucker for Tron light cycle blue?
-The 1080P is a bit soft (noticeable when running via HDMI on my big screen)
-The audio is harsh at times, though this could be muffled with a poor man’s windscreen aka a bandage over the mic
-Had the OLED area of the case fog up when using on St. Helens. Not sure if my GoPro would have suffered a similar fate
-The way the camera connects to the accessories is not always solid. I ended up losing my camera on Friday night when we were doing some ‘urban wakeboarding’ aka getting towed on our snowboards around the neighborhood. I’m hoping it shows up when the snow melts but as we were going around a square mile or so of city I’m not bullish on my odds of finding it! Bummer.