You might think the POV / action sports camera world has been a bit of a two horse race recently. That could all change, however, now ION has muscled into the scene with its Air Pro HD sports camera. The firm's dabbled with handy cameras before, but now it's dipping a well armored toe into the helmet-cam market. Needless to say, that means it's rugged, waterproof, and built to eat dirt -- or at least capture the moments when you do.
Your action is scooped-up in full 1080p HD, and there's a 5-megapixel stills option for when you want to frame that killer jump for static posterity. The lens is a 170-degree wide-angle affair, you can change the FOV if you wish, but it's definitely enough to grab all the action. There's also no display on the device itself, but there's a reason for that: operating the Air Pro is a ridiculously straightforward task. With just one click you're recording, even if switched off. The two controls on top are all you need to get the essential jobs done with this device, a button for switching it on and off (and taking stills) and the sliding record switch -- this set-up also means you can physically feel if it's recording, even when you can't see it.
Looks-wise, it bears more than a passing resemblance to the Contour it competes with. It fits in the hand nicely, there's a mount-point underneath with a standard threaded receiver, and a rear removable panel that protects the (micro) memory card, HDMI port, AV out and so on. The whole thing weighs just 123 grams, which is about 20 less than the GoPro in its housing.
One of the main bug-bears with POV cameras is seeing what you're shooting, while you're shooting it. Other cameras have their own solutions to this problem, and the Air Pro is no exception, using attachable WiFi "Podz" to get you hooked up. Stick one on the rear of the camera, download a free companion app, and you can see what your camera sees wherever you put it (providing you're in range of course). Via the app, there are also options to upload directly to Facebook and YouTube, with smaller video files created on the fly just for this purpose. To sweeten the deal, ION even gives you 8GB of cloud storage to get you started, which you can increase should you wish to do so. We spent some time with the camera, and grabbed some stills, which you can see in the gallery below.
We also got some quick sample footage, which is a little shaky as we weren't properly mounted -- having just unboxed the camera -- but you get the idea. If all this sounds like your cup of cha, then you'll be able to adorn your helmet with one as of next month. Pricing starts at £229 for the camera alone, £249 if you want the bike mount and tripod kit, going up to £299 for the full WiFi kit once it's available in about four weeks.
Update: US Prices have been confirmed as $229 for the camera only, $289 if you want the helmet and bike kit, or $349 to include the WiFi Podz. The helmet and bike kit is also available as a separate purchase for $79.