- 12-megapixel sensor
- 720p or 1080p HD Recording
- HDMI out
- Wirelessly stream to smartphones
An excellent cartoon in Private Eye magazine suggests what Victorian risk assessment must have been like. "This may be perilous," one man says to another as they stand next to a rope bridge running across a ravine. "Excellent," replies the second man.
So while Pepsi Max adverts might suggest we are living life at a heightened, more outgoing level than before, we wonder if the real change is that these days it is just easier to capture those moments.
The Ego camera, for example, is designed to be mounted onto car dashboards, bike handlebars, boats, skis, wearable attachments - you name it.
Liquid Image Ego Extreme Sports Cam: Design
The cute egg-shaped Ego feels the business when it comes to its construction. The camera has a solid feel that suggests it can handle the kind of rough terrains you should be taking it into, with a rubber outer coating.
Simplicity is the key here and all operations are handled by just two buttons on the top of the camera.
One of those turns it on and can then be pressed again to switch modes. The other button activates whatever mode you have chosen, starting or stopping the video recording or snapping a still image.
The unit can be angled up and down and side to side to get the desired viewpoint, with a little help from a Phillips head screwdriver. European distributor Hahnel also promises a huge number of accessories are on the way to add all the functionality we mentioned in the introduction.
Accessories will cost between £9 and around £40, with a full waterproof casing on offer at that higher price. The camera comes as standard with a splash-proof cover to protect the lens and connections, which we can confirm from our boat trip does a satisfactory job.
Liquid Image Ego Extreme Sports Cam: Screen
The other bit of useful design is the addition of an LCD display. While this is too small to show images, most of the information you need to operate the camera is displayed there.
That includes what resolution you are capturing video at and a count of how many videos or images you have recorded so far. When a video is recording the number of previous stored items flashes to let you know.
The only thing that is missing is a memory indicator to tell you if the SD card is getting full. An image of the card does appear to let you know it is in there and that will flash to warn you if it is not. There is no internal memory so no card means no captured media.
To make up for the lack of screen, the device has the capability to stream video over Wi-Fi. The free ActionConnect app for iOS and Android can connect to the Ego camera and allow your phone to double as a viewing screen.
This makes setting up the camera much easier - you don't want to ski that black run only to find you had it pointed too low and only captured the whiteness below your feet.
There is a slight one or two second lag on the feed but as this is only intended to help you set up the camera, that does not have too much of an effect. Pushing the record button turns off the stream and starts recording to the camera's SD card.
Settings can also be changed when the camera is connected to your phone. For example, you can decide to capture still images at 5 or 3 megapixels instead of the full 12 megapixels available. White balance, contrast, anti-flicker and other settings can similarly be tweaked.
When the camera is connected and you have finished recording, click the Share tab in the ActionConnect app and choose your device from the list. You can then see a list of either photos or videos and play them back on your mobile device.
Liquid Image Ego Extreme Sports Cam: Connections
Unsurprisingly, there's a microUSB port that is used for charging up the Li-ion battery inside the camera, as well as for moving media off the card and onto a computer.
Also becoming standard these days is the microHDMI out so you can connect the camera straight up to your TV and enjoy your exploits in 1080p on that big screen.
Nestled next to these two ports is the space for the microSD card, which can be up to 32GB (with a recording time of 144 minutes at 720p). The rubber casing lifts up to reveal these three ports and can then be closed again to protect them.
The microphone hole is on the front of the Ego, which we thought would cause an issue given that the splash guard sits on top of that area to protect the lens.
The sound can still be heard clearly, although it does appear to be slightly reduced by that extra layer of protection.
The sound also suffers from the noise of the wind thrashing by as you do any activity at speed, as witnessed when the boat engines kick in during our Thames speedboat video.
The box contains a mount that can be attached to tripods or other connections using the open screw holes. This mount also features an adhesive pad on the bottom that can be stuck to the desired surface (there's an additional sticky pad in the box once you have used the first one).
Liquid Image Ego Extreme Sports Cam: Camera
Crucially, none of that previous information would matter a jot if this camera did not deliver when it comes to taking images or capturing video.
The fixed focus lens on the Ego does a good job of capturing high-definition video in both Full HD 1080p and HD Ready 720p. Full HD video is shot at 30fps, while 720p movies are captured at 60fps.
The camera automatically starts in 720p mode when it is switched on, so you will have to press the power/mode button again to switch to full high definition. The blue light is 720p, the green light is displayed when it is set to 1080p.
A digital zoom feature can be accessed through the mobile app, although obviously this works by pushing further into the image and cropping it.
The video we captured during a high-speed Bond-style jaunt down the river appears much more vibrant than we expected given the grey, overcast nature of the day in question. Landmarks at the side of the river appear clear and the even individual droplets of spray churned up by the boat are visible.
There is an issue with some shots appearing like they were captured using a fish eye lens. This affects both the video and the still images (see the bendy shot of The Shard).
The still image camera works less well. The pictures themselves are bright and colourful and the detail at 12-megapixels is impressive. Unfortunately, the act of capturing them is not that easy.
Pressing the button is a hit and miss procedure and we were surprised to have a whole selection of images of our feet when we downloaded the media onto our PC.
One point to raise in the device's defence is that this no doubt works better if you can use the app on your phone to see what the camera is seeing (we had a Nokia Lumia 900 handset with us and the app is not available for Windows Phone yet).
The other point is that you are more likely to be buying the Ego for its video capabilities and many people may not ever use the still image function.
Liquid Image Ego Extreme Sports Cam: Verdict and Price
Price? "Around about £150 or £160. Probably £160 on the High Street and around £150 on the internet," the UK sales manager told IBTimes UK.
That does not include an SD card, although storage media has dramatically dropped in price in the last few years.
Is it worth it? There may be a frame of pixelation here or there or a bendy landmark to deal with, but overall the experience will be captured in great quality and available immediately.
The Full HD videos will capture every blade of grass, every building hurtling towards you on the way down from the plane, every piece of snow cast into the air as your skis skid to a halt.
Buying the Ego Extreme Sports camera may make your life more perilous. And to that we reply: "Excellent."
- Overall: 8/10
- Design: 8/10
- Performance: 9/10
- Features: 9/10
- Value: 8/10
- Wi-Fi streaming for easy set-up
- SD Card memory up to 32GB
- Impressive video at 1080p
- Difficult to take still images
- App not yet available for all devices
- Splash guard covers microphone