Review - Looxcie Hands-Free Video Cameras, Mounts, and Accessories

18.07.2013 18:17

Looxcie Hands-Free Video Cameras, Mounts, and Accessories

Courtesy B&H Photo Video

The idea for the Looxcie line of wearable, hands-free video cameras was born of necessity. The founder of the company wanted to record all his important family memories while still being able to participate fully in the action of each moment. He founded Looxcie in 2008. Over the past five years, the company has matured and their goals have become more ambitious. Their compact, wearable video cameras have advanced greatly and we'd like to provide a brand overview for Looxcie’s latest hands-free camcorders and their dedicated mounting accessories.

Looxcie HD Video Cam and Accessories

The logical starting point for a Looxcie brand overview is with their most recent camera release, the Looxcie HD Video Cam. The Looxcie HD is available as the Looxcie HD Video Cam Basic Pack or Looxcie HD Explore Video Cam Pack.

The Looxcie HD Video Cam is a compact camcorder that allows you to capture hands-free, point-of-view footage. The camera provides built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and supports up to Full HD 1920 x 1080p recording at 30 fps. It also supports HD 1280 x 720p recording at up to 60 fps, for times when you’re shooting higher-speed action such as fast-moving sports, including skateboarding, golf swings, footage from inside a moving car, and bicycle rides. Besides the Full HD 1080p and high-speed HD 720p shooting modes, the Looxcie HD also supports HD 720p recording at 48 fps and 30 fps. However, when you’re recording live streaming video, the Looxcie HD uses VGA 480p adaptive resolution streaming.

Live streaming is one of the most progressive and unique features that Looxcie HD offers. While other manufacturers claim that their compact action cams facilitate live streaming to the Web, the process is notoriously bad. In fact, a quick Google search will reveal dozens and dozens of comments about the unreliability of live streaming functions in many of the top-brand-name action camera models. The Looxcie HD’s reliable and easy-to-use streaming functionality definitely deserves praise.

The Looxcie HD uses its Wi-Fi connectivity and the free downloadable Looxcie Mobile App to provide live streaming with your compatible iOS or Android mobile device. The Looxcie Mobile App also allows you to control the camera with your mobile device. You can use your smartphone or tablet as an LCD monitor as well. When it comes to live streaming, the camera supports mobile-to-mobile group streaming for 3G and 4G mobile broadband Internet connections. It also supports live streaming to Facebook when using the Looxcie Mobile App. The hands-free Looxcie HD even provides two-way voice chat and in-app text chat during your live streaming broadcasts. Plus, you can send out automatic broadcast notifications for your live streams via push message. You can record to the camera’s memory card and live stream simultaneously as well.

For added flexibility and ease of use when sharing your movie clips online, the Looxcie HD Video Cam records to the Web-friendly MP4 format so you can upload your footage quickly to the Web, post clips on Facebook and send your movies via email—all without changing formats or waiting for huge video files to send. There’s a Looxcie Desktop Application as well, which offers an alternative method for transferring your footage to the Web by using your computer. The downloadable Desktop App is also free and it’s available for both Windows and Mac operating systems.

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The Looxcie HD Video Cam is not short on high-end, image-improving features, either. It's outfitted with a low-light (650 mV/lux-sec) CMOS sensor that excels in bright and dark environments. The camera lens provides a 75-degree diagonal field of view as well, which helps you capture more of your surroundings in each frame. The Looxcie HD features automatic light correction that supports both indoor and outdoor use. The lens has an f/2.4 aperture and a 2-inch (51mm) to infinity depth of focus. The Looxcie HD also features a weather-resistant enclosure and a replaceable 1250mAh lithium-polymer rechargeable battery that lasts up to 1.5 hours.

When recording video, your clips have to be saved somewhere. The Looxcie HD provides a microSD card slot that accommodates up to 64GB memory cards. For wired connectivity, the Looxcie HD is equipped with a micro-USB 2.0 port, which can be used to transfer your stored movie clips to your computer quickly. The micro-USB 2.0 port doubles as the camera’s charging interface as well. Additionally, you can remove the microSD card with all your footage on it and insert the card directly into your computer’s microSD memory card reader.

Another of the Looxcie HD's unique features is its Instant Clip function. The Instant Clip button allows you to create an “instant replay” of whatever you just recorded. Basically, after you shoot a movie clip, you can use the Instant Clip function to create an instant replay version of the footage, which you can then share with friends and family through your favorite social media outlet. Plus, for optimal video quality, the camera’s Instant Clip function supports Full HD 1920 x 1080p video resolution at 30 fps and HD 1280 x 720p video resolution at up to 60 fps for clips that feature high-speed action.

The Looxcie HD Video Cam Pack includes the Looxcie HD Video Cam, the Looxcie HD removable battery, a helmet mount with an adhesive base for capturing hands-free POV action sports footage, water-resistant rear panel covers for protection against the elements when shooting outdoors, a USB cable for charging or transferring data, and a Looxcie HD pouch that keeps the camera and all the accessories together when you’re not using them.

You can also purchase the Looxcie HD Video Cam Explore Pack, which includes the Looxcie HD Video Cam, the Looxcie HD removable battery, a ball cap clip for recording POV footage while you walk around, a helmet mount with an adhesive base for capturing hands-free POV action sports footage, a bike mount for recording movie clips while you ride your bike, water-resistant rear panel covers for protection against the elements, a USB cable for charging or transferring data, and a Looxcie HD pouch that keeps the camera and accessories together when you're not using them.

The available accessories for the Looxcie HD Video Cam include a range of mounts and a convenient hard-shell HD Carrying Case that is compatible with the Looxcie HD Video Cam and the Looxcie 2 camcorder. The case features a sturdy exterior and scratch-resistant soft interior. It has modular touch-fastener dividers as well, so you can adjust the interior design for enhanced organizational flexibility. The case is also compact and easy to store. It ships with a metal carabiner so you can attach the case to your belt loop or backpack for hands-free carrying.

The line of Looxcie mounts is extensive and all of the following mounts that begin with “HD” are compatible with the Looxcie HD Video Cam. Probably the most basic and flexible option for hands-free recording that’s ideal for everyday use is the HD Ball Cap Clip. It clips directly onto either side of your ball cap or the brim of your cap. The mount features a pivot head, which lets you aim the camera in the direction you want to record. Plus, a slide-in mechanism holds the camera securely in place while it's in the mount.

Another option is the HD Helmet Mount, which you can use to capture hands-free POV footage with the Looxcie HD Video Cam. The HD Helmet Mount works on most helmets as well as other flat surfaces. It also includes two adhesive bases so you can enjoy the freedom of multiple mounting options. Like the HD Ball Cap Clip, the HD Helmet Mount features a rotating pivot head for aiming the camera. It also provides a clamping mechanism that securely holds the camera in place. For improved image clarity, the HD Helmet Mount features a foam clamp insert that absorbs and minimizes vibrations caused by moving with the camera.

Looxcie also offers an HD Vented Helmet Strap Mount. You can use this mount for hands-free POV recording while riding your bike. The mount works with virtually any vented bike helmet and it is compatible with the Looxcie HD Video Cam. Like the HD Helmet Mount, the HD Vented Helmet Strap Mount features a pivot head for aiming the camera, a secure clamping mechanism that holds the camera in place, and a foam clamp insert that minimizes vibrations. This mount also includes strong touch-fastener straps for securely attaching the mount to your vented bike helmet.

Another mounting choice for bicycle enthusiasts is the HD Handlebar Mount. This mount is compatible with the Looxcie HD Video Cam and it allows you to capture hands-free footage while riding your bike. It provides a sturdy clamp that attaches to most bicycle handlebars and a clamping mechanism that holds your camera in place. The pivot head on this mount rotates 180° so you can aim the camera in almost any direction you like. This mount also features the foam clamp insert for dampening vibrations and minimizing the effects of minor bumps in the road.

If you plan to make recordings while driving, then the Looxcie HD Windshield Suction Cup Mount is the ideal mount for you. Compatible with the Looxcie HD Video Cam, this mount features a sturdy 2.5-inch suction cup that will attach to most smooth, flat surfaces including car exteriors, car windshields, car dashboards, boats, motorcycles, and countless other similar surfaces. This mount is equipped with the same clamping mechanism and foam clamp insert as the other mounts. Plus, it features a single-action lever that quickly locks and releases the suction cup from the surface to which it’s attached. For added flexibility when lining up shots, the mount’s pivot head rotates a full 360° around so that you can aim the camera in any direction you like. The HD Windshield Suction Cup Mount also ships with a non-slip silicone dash pad for using the mount inside the car. The Looxcie HD Tripod Head is included as well, which allows you to use the mount with a standard tripod.

The HD Tripod Head is also available separately. This mounting option features a 1/4"-20 tripod socket so that you can use the Looxcie HD Video Cam with any standard tripod or monopod that has a 1/4"-20 screw. Once you have the camera secured in the HD Tripod Head with the clamping mechanism locked, you can use the mount’s pivot head to aim the camera. The HD Tripod Head also features a foam clamp insert to minimize vibrations.

Looxcie 2 Video Cam and Accessories

The Looxcie HD isn’t the only camera option available from this brand. They also offer the Looxcie 2, which is similar in design to the HD and designed for hands-free POV video recording. In fact, it even ships with four different size ear buds and two different size ear loops for mounting the camcorder directly over your left or right ear on the side of your head, so the camera will see and capture everything just as you see it.

The Looxcie 2 supports VGA 480p video recording at 30 fps and QVGA 320p at 15 fps. It records using the Web-friendly MP4 format. The Looxcie 2 camera lens provides an f/2.8 aperture, a 65.5-degree diagonal field of view, and a depth of focus from 2 inches to infinity. It also features automatic light correction and a low-light (6.0V/lux-sec) CMOS image sensor. This model shares several of the same features as the Looxcie HD Video Cam as well. It supports live video streaming using VGA 480p adaptive resolution. It also supports mobile-to-mobile 3G/4G streaming, live streaming to Facebook, two-way voice chat, and automatic broadcast notification.

The Looxcie 2 doesn’t have a microSD card slot. However, it does have internal flash memory that provides up to five hours of recording capacity for QVGA 320p recording at 15 fps or one hour of recording using the VGA 480p resolution at 30 fps. This model also features Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR wireless connectivity and it has an integrated silicon MEMS microphone with a frequency response of 80Hz to 400Hz. This means that you can use the Looxcie 2 as a Bluetooth headset for your compatible smartphone. The headset option also features DSP-based noise cancellation, called CSR Clear Voice. The Looxcie 2’s 365mAh lithium-polymer rechargeable battery provides up to six hours of talk time per charge and the Bluetooth wireless range extends up to about 33 feet (10m).

The Looxcie 2’s other features include the Instant Clip function for creating up to 30-second clips instantly, which can then be shared via social media. You can also use the Looxcie Mobile App with your smartphone or tablet to control the Looxcie 2. You can use your mobile device for shot preview and instant playback as well. The Looxcie 2 has a micro USB 2.0 port, which you can use for transferring footage to your computer, or for charging the battery.

Like the Looxcie HD, the Looxcie 2 is compatible with a handful of Looxcie mounts and accessories. These mounts are mostly similar to the HD Video Cam mounts. For capturing hands-free POV footage, the Looxcie 2 works with the optional Ball Cap Clip, the Helmet Strap Mount, and the Vented Helmet Mount. For using the Looxcie 2 on your car windshield or other smooth surface, the optional Windshield Mount is available. There’s also a Car Visor Mount available for the Looxcie 2 that clips onto your car’s sun visor for recording either inside or outside your car while you drive. Plus, a Tripod Head is available as well, so you can mount your Looxcie 2 on a standard tripod with a 1/4"-20 tripod screw. Finally, you can use the optional Carrying Case to carry around your Looxcie 2 and store it away safely. The case features a hard exterior, soft interior and full-length zipper closure.

Another accessory offered by Looxcie is the Table Top Tripod. It works with both the Looxcie 2 and the Looxcie HD when each one is equipped with their respective tripod-head accessory. The tripod is collapsible, for portability, and features a standard 1/4"-20 tripod screw that makes it compatible with any other compact camera that has a standard tripod thread. The tripod is easy to set up and even includes two adjustable 6.5-inch touch-fastener straps for turning it into a mount of sorts. You can use the straps to attach the tripod to a variety of objects such as poles, hooks, railings, and more.

Get the Looxcie HD Video Cam Pack for just $199.99

Get the Looxcie HD Video Cam Explore Pack for just $249.99