Wearable cameras are tricky to get right. They can either be head- or helmet-mounted for use as a sports camera, or they can be chest-mounted with little more than a lanyard or a pin to hold it in place. The former tend to be expensive and complicated to mount, and the latter are difficult to keep level.
Looxcie tries to combine these ideas with the Looxcie 3, a camera that’s three-quarters the latter and one-quarter the former type of camera. It’s small, it’s square, it’s clip-on or neck-dangling, and it also works with some very useful mounts for setting it up wherever you want. At $99.99 (direct), it’s the least expensive Looxcie camera so far, though you should probably get the $149.99 Social Pack version for its loads of mounts and clips. With solid 720p video quality it’s a good choice if you’re not looking to spend several hundred dollars just for a camera you can wear.
Editors’ Note: This review is based on tests of the Looxcie 3 camera with accessories included in the $149.99 (direct) Social Pack. The $99.99 base camera includes a tripod mount, but no lanyards, clips, or bases.
The Looxcie 3 looks drastically different from previous Looxcie cameras. The Looxcie HD and the Looxcie 2 were roughly rectangular, with long, barrel-like designs for clipping to your ear or a hat, or placing in a mount. The Looxcie 2 actually doubled as a Bluetooth earpiece, as did the original Looxcie before it. The Looxcie 3 is more like a GoPro, though much less expensive, high-resolution, or rugged (although you can get an optional waterproof case for $50), or an Autographer, but much less expensive and much more functional.
The Looxcie 3 is a small plastic square measuring two inches on each side and 0.7 inches thick. It could easily be mistaken for a tiny point-and-shoot camera, even without a display on the back. Instead, the back holds four backlit icons that show the camera’s status and which mode it’s in. The right side holds a microSD card slot and micro USB port for charging, and the right side holds Power and Wireless buttons, the latter of which toggles between video and still photo offline shooting modes. The top of the camera holds a large trigger button for controlling recording or taking photos, and the bottom holds a rectangular slot for securing the camera on the included accessories.
While it doesn’t clip to the ear or have any sports-related mounts, the Looxcie 3 is still very wearable if you get the Social Pack. The camera alone has a set of lanyard holes on the lower-right corner, but wearing it like that around your neck with a cord will put it at an awkward angle. It comes with a tripod mount that slides into the notch on the bottom, but that’s all you get in the $100 package. The $150 Social Pack version offers much more, adding two rubber sleeves to protect the camera, a shirt clip that twists to angle the camera correctly, a hat clip, two lanyards you can wear around your neck, and a sticky-bottomed base for the tripod mount for shooting when you’re not wearing the camera. The shirt clip and lanyard are easy to wear, but when you walk around, the camera can get jostled on each step (as you can see in the video below). The hat clip is a much more stable way to wear the camera.
Since the Looxcie 3 doesn’t have a viewfinder or display, you need to either shoot blind (by turning the camera on and then pressing the shutter button to begin recording) or use your smartphone or tablet as a viewfinder. The Looxcie software connects to the camera through Wi-Fi and lets you see what the camera sees, change recording settings, and trigger recording. You can also stream your video online through Looxcie’s own streaming video service.
To keep the Looxcie 3 small and inexpensive, it steps back from the Looxcie HD in resolution. It only shoots in 720p at 30 frames per second, so it’s less suited as an action camera. Looxcie claims the Looxcie 3 has the best low-light performance yet. It isn’t the best indoors or in low light, but footage is much less harsh and grainy-looking than on the Looxcie HD.
Videos look great, considering the price. 1080p video at 60 frames per second would have been better, but for a $99 wearable camera the 720p picture is quite good. If you want higher resolution or better quality, you need to invest in a more expensive camera like a GoPro. Like previous Looxcies and most wearable and action cameras, daytime video looks bright and clear. Indoor video indeed shows a marked improvement over the Looxcie HD, with movies shot in the fluorescent light of the PCMag Labs looking clear and not overly cool in color temperature.
Still photos are shot at a low 1,280 by 720 and often look blurry. This is primarily a video camera, and photos should be treated like screen captures from the video recording. Sound performance is also unimpressive, with the Looxcie 3′s small microphone tending to sound slightly tinny or muffled. It isn’t terrible, but you shouldn’t try to record video logs or anything that needs crisp voice reproduction with it.
The Looxcie 3 takes Looxcie from a slightly pricey, mountable action camera to an affordable, wearable “lifestyle” camera with the most modest of compromises. It only records at 720p and its audio isn’t great, but its $150 version with a plethora of clips, lanyards, and stands make it an extremely functional way to record what you do without hassle. It’s small enough to forget it’s on you, and the video quality is good enough that you can post your clips online without fear of blur or regret.
|LCD size||N/A inches|
|Video Recording Format||MicroSD|
|Dimensions||2 x 2 x 0.7 inches|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc