Ever pulled off an incredible trick but no one was there to see it. Maybe you’ve gone for the ride of your life and wished you could remember every hair-raising detail of the track and show your friends. The answer is to record it all in HD to share with the world. Stocking all the big names, we have put together this comparison of mountain biking action cameras at Halfords.
With a fully mounted and durable action camera you can record every ride, trick and jump, from a vantage point on your bike or helmet. As well as HD footage, a number of the mountain biking action cameras at Halfords come with high quality still image and burst image capabilities for capturing every single frame of movement.
Mountain biking action cameras at Halfords
Below we’ve outline the main details and tried to compare the available mountain biking action cameras at Halfords. Using a few handy categories, you should be able to see easily which camera suits your needs best.
The biggest name and industry leader in action cameras, GoPro has almost become a byword for the product itself (like Hoover). The Hero3 range is compact, lightweight and it provides professional quality video coming in three editions: Black, White and Silver. To all intents and purposes they’re similar cameras so we’ve combined the reviews into one section.
The White features a 5 megapixel lens that gives you incredible quality images, and you can capture images in three different settings: 1080p, 960p and 720p. You can also capture images in three second photo bursts (at three frames a second) so it’s perfect for capturing tricks in detail and making some pretty exciting photo collages. There is also an adjustable frame rate from 30 frames a second to 60 fsp.
Silver Hero3+ features a 10 megapixel lens and also comes with WVGA modes giving full HD quality. The Black Hero3+ has a 12 megapixel lens that offers outstanding picture quality and comes with capture modes such as Superview and Auto Low Light performance. Video can be captured in 4kps, 2.7 kps, and 1440p, as well as the standards mentioned above for the White.
Battery life varies according to which setting you are recording in and which model you’re using. White and Silver give more battery time than Black but general battery times vary between one to three hours of HD recording.
Mounts and features
The Black, Silver and White are all supplied with a waterproof housing which is usable up to a depth of 40 metres. Although seeing as this is a review for mountain biking purposes, here’s hoping you never have to test that out. There’s built in WiFi for easy uploading of images and a range of basic mounts is included.
There’s a good reason GoPro is one of the biggest names in the business, with all three offering stunning picture quality that’s perfect for capturing the essence of an exhilarating ride. Prices are £189.99 for White, £249.99 for Siler and £299.99 for Black. Memory cards are sold separately.
Major players in GPS, Garmin’s VIRB Elite Action Camera unsurprisingly comes with GPS built in. It also comes with built in WiFi, altimeter and accelerometer that gives you full action data that can be displayed on the final video. It’s something you don’t get with the GoPro and nice additional features like this add to the Garmin VIRB’s appeal.
The WiFi allows you to control the VIRB remotely and view captured video from your smartphone so it’s easier to get the best quality shots. There’s a built-in 1.4” colour display screen that allows you to playback to review footage. There’s 1080pHD recording with a 16MP sensor, so it’s not as varied as the GoPro Hero3+. However, a 16MP photo resolution with burst and time lapse setting gives you plenty of options for some varied still shots.
The long life lithium-ion batteries give you up to three hours of HD video, long enough to capture some serious rides.
Mounts and features
There’s also a shed load of additional extras, including helmet, cradle, handlebar mount, short and right angle links, various other mounts and a USB cable. So, no matter how extreme your ride, you’ll be able to mount the camera to capture it all. The VIRB has a IPX7 waterproof rating meaning it can be submerged to a few metres.
At £319.99, the VIRB Elite is a little pricey, but then you are getting plenty for your money when you consider the GPS and other features that comes as part of the package. It’s a little more than any of the GoPros, especially the White, but then you get what you pay for.
The Swann Freestyle is a compact, durable and very versatile camera. It captures HD video in 1080p format and comes with a massive ten hours of high quality recording time. Upload your footage via USB or straight to the TV via an HDMI connection, but it doesn’t have a built in WiFi connection like both the GoPro and Garmin models above.
For still shots, the 8 megapixel JPEG images and continuous and triple shot burst modes allow you to take some stunning stills.
The removable lithium battery has up to 2.5 hours of recording time per charge.
Mounts and features
The Swann does have a few tricks up its sleeve. There’s VOX voice activation for hands free operation, which can come in very handy when you can’t afford to take your hands of the handlebars. There’s also a remote control for when getting some shots from different angles. The 30fps and 3x digital zoom with stereo audio also make for some great quality footage. The detachable 1.5” screen and instant playback mean you’re always sure you got the shot you wanted. It also comes with a waterproof case.
At just £199.99 the Swann is a very reasonable price for a jack-of-all trades camera that lets you take some great footage, stills and has great hands free features.
At only 95g, the Braun SixZero is a very small and lightweight camera that’s exceptionally easy to mount to your bike, and comes with an external microphone with wind protection.
With 60fps at full HD recording, 1920p X 1080p resolution and an electronic shutter speed of 1/2.000s -1/15s, the Braun is capable of capturing some very high quality images. It can also take 8MP still photographs but doesn’t have some of the burst capabilities of the other cameras mentioned above.
It uses a standard Nokia BL-5C battery (1050mAh) which lasts around 2 to 2.5 hours when recording in HD. Recaharging time is around four hours via an adaptor.
Mounts and features
The Braun comes with waterproof housing, plenty of mount options, a USB cable and microphone with wind protection. There’s also a remote control and integrated 1.5” screen for playback.
At £229.95 the Braun SixZero is at the lower end of the scale but not as cheap as the GoPro white, although it does have some nice extras.
The simple design and no-nonsense affordable Bullet HD2 and Dogcam BulletR+ capture the essence of what riding is about. You might not get the features of some of the other models but you do get a reliable and durable camera.
The HD 1080p of the Bullet HD2 captures everything you need without any frills and a laser makes sure the camera is pointing in the right direction. The Dogcam BulletR+ has exposure and image control.
Mounts and features
A range of mounts are included with both, and the shock proof build of the Bullet HD2 means its great over rougher terrain. It’s also waterproof up to ten metres. The Dogcam BulletR+ comes with an 8gb memory card included as well as a vibration alert and remote control. It also has an impressive battery life for a smaller camera.
The Bullet HD2 is great value at £174.95 and the Dogcam Bullet R+ costs £199.95.
GoPro, Garmin, Swan, Braun and Dogcam compared: Conclusions
Of all the mountain biking action cameras at Halfords, GoPro are the clear industry leader, the cameras are reliable and are used by enthusiasts and professionals in a range of action sports. However by integrating GPS and a range of other functions Garmin have introduced something unique to the market with the VIRB Elite. It is particularly suited to mountain biking as overlaying statistics like speed, acceleration, altitude, and cadence on the video is very appealing.
Although the GoPro and Garmin offer the best image quality it is worth considering whether you need full HD. Remember higher quality recording makes for bigger files, shorter battery life and more hassle when editing and storing. It may be that one of the cheaper mountain biking action cameras will better suit your needs. But hey kicking back watching yourself tearing up the trails in HD video on a 42 inch flatscreen TV is certainly appealing.
To check out the different cameras for yourself visit: www.halfords.com/cycling/accessories/action-helmet-cameras