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on December 11, 2011
I want to first start by saying I have them all, the GoPro the Contour HD and the Contour Roam. I am stationed in remote Afghanistan and go out on foot patrols frequently. The other cameras require FAR too much prep time to be tactically practical. This one is amazing because it is one switch and done (ON)!! I keep it mounted with the adhesive mount to my Kevlar and it is always ready to go. The others require you to turn them on and have them on standby this is not preactical when the action starts. The image quality is as good as you want, except at night, but that is just a sacrifice you have to make on all cameras of this type. If you are a soldier you want THIS CAMERA!! Dont waste your money on the GoPro, it doesn't fit a soldier's style. Combine the images with iMovie and you can churn out very nice AAR's for your soldiers to learn from.
1515 comments| 216 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 13, 2011
Well, I've taken the Contour Roam out to a few range trips now and I can give a much better review at this point.

Build Quality: 10/10
As soon as you pick up the Contour Roam, you will definitely notice the build quality of the device. It feels very solid with an aluminum tube body. The lower half where the mounting options would go is made of plastic but is securely attached to the main body. The camera angel can be adjusted by turning the front end of the device; it turns with a fluid motion and distinct notch at the -90, 0, 90, and 180 positions.

Clarity: 9/10
I was really impressed with the clarity of the lens - particularly at longer distances of about 15-20 yards. If your expectations for a device like this are reasonable, you'll be happy with the image quality. In the video that I made, I used a Canon S100 and the Contour Roam. You can definitely tell a difference in the image quality if you compare the two. That being said, the Contour did very well and you can make out details just fine.

Mic Sensitivity: 1/10
One thing that I noticed about the Contour Roam was that there was no way to control the mic sensitivity on the device itself. In order to change the setting, the user has to connect the Contour to the computer and open up the software. While there, the user can adjust the mic sensitivity level. One bad thing about this is that you have to adjust in the software and then try it out to see if it works for your application.

Looks like my unit is an earlier production one where they identified an issue with the mic. The company's policy is to exchange the units at no cost to the customer. I'll update the review when I get my new unit.

[Update 12/20/2011] - Since Amazon had a lightening deal on the Contour Roam, I decided to pick up another one of these camcorders. I was a little hesitant due to the mic issue but sure enough, this camcorder does NOT have a mic issue. When set at level 42, I can speak in my normal voice and it records just fine.

Camera Controls: 10/10
On/Off - Turning the camera on and off doesn't get any easier than this. There is a top mounted switch that you slide forward (towards the lens) to turn it on and slide it to the rear to turn it off. This allows for fast activation of the camera and it starts recording within 1-2 seconds of the switch being turned on.

Status/Laser button - The rear mounted laser button allows for easy actuation by simply pressing the button on the rear. If you run a flashlight on your carbine such as the SureFire E2D, you'll know what I'm referring to. The purpose of this control is to check the status of the memory card, battery, and also it activates a laser leveler which is pretty neat.

Format button - When you insert a new microSD card into the camera, you'll have to reformat it prior to use. The format button is recessed into the body of the camera and you will need either a pin or a toothpick to push the button. So before you head out for a trip with spare cards, make sure you format them all before you leave the house unless you always carry a pin or a toothpick.

Mounting options: 10/10
Contour has released a lot of mounting options for this product. In the box you get a helmet mount (can rotate up or down) and a profile mount (non-rotating). For my purposes, I chose to buy the picattiny rail mount since this was going on my carbine. One thing to note about the picatinny rail mount is that there is a slight wobble to the camera when you attach it to the mount. To fix this, I just wedged a small piece of rubber in between the camera and the mount.

Software: 7/10
The user needs to download the Contour Roam program from their main website; no installation disk comes with the camcorder. The software isn't the most intuitive but it isn't horrible by any means. One interesting thing to note is that if you play any of the videos inside the program, you will get NO sound. Once you transfer the videos from the Contour Roam to your computer, you need to look for the video file in your computer and play it from there. I was getting ready to return the camcorder thinking that it was defective but I gave it one last shot and it worked. This is something that needs to be addressed by the company.

Conclusion: I'm very happy with this purchase and I would definitely recommend it to other folks.

Since Amazon will not allow linking to you tube, you can access my video through the method below.

Go to youtube and enter "eNg_uggBg0Y" to watch my video. Skip to time 0:53 to watch the video recording with the Contour Roam.
1212 comments| 126 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 6, 2013
Hey friends,

I found a way to install the Roam2 Firmware to the Roam1. Now you have all Roam2 features on the old Roam1

This is how it works:

Go to the contour homepage and download the current Contour2 Firmware V2.16

Download Firmware V2.16 -> you get the file "ContourRoam2.bin"

Rename the file to "ContourRoam.bin"

Plug the ContourROAM1 camera into your computer using a USB cable. Check to see that the Record slider is not in the forward (or ON) position. Once connected, the Battery LED on the ContourROAM1 will turn red and the camera will appear as an external USB device on your computer.

On your computer, navigate to the camera which is mounted as an external storage device.

Copy the ContourROAM.bin file that you downloaded and renamed in Step 2 to the camera's microSD card. Do not put it in any subfolders on the camera's microSD card.

On the microSD card of the camera will be a file called FW_RTC.txt. The file may be hidden and you may need to enable the ability to view hidden files in your computer's settings. Open the FW_RTC.txt file with a text editor application.

Near the top of the file is a line of text that reads `UPDATE_FW:N'. Change the `N' to a `Y' so it appears as `UPDATE_FW:Y' and save the file. This will instruct your camera to update the firmware when it next starts up.

Unplug the camera from your computer.

Press and release the Status Button. The camera will beep and the Memory and Battery LEDs will flash while the update is in progress. When the update is completed the camera will beep again and turn off.

That's it, now you have all Roam2 functions on your Roam1 including 720p with 60 FPS.

If you want, open the StoryTeller App on your PC and check if a Contour Roam2 will be recognized under "Devices".

Check some vids under youtube, username "budschidau". Have fun!

Regards from wonderful Bavaria - Prost!
99 comments| 38 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 19, 2011
Background: I had been researching and investigating helmet cameras for the better part of the last 12-16 months. The primary use I have for helmet cameras is helmet-mounted and pole-mounted video recording for my snowboarding (mis)adventures. When looking at different options I had several criteria that were most important to me: video quality, ease of use, built quality and durability, and ergonomics for helmet mounting. By the end of summer 2011 - I had narrowed my search down to the GoPro Hero HD and the ContourROAM. While the GoPro sported more shooting modes, more robust waterproof/impact protection, and more mounting options, the ROAM was much simpler to use in the field, was significantly more ergonomic when mounted to a helmet, and sported the same 170° field of view as the GoPro. Eventually I settled on the ROAM because, as I figured, the possibility of losing a camera in the backcountry was a significant purchasing factor for me.

The ROAM does everything as advertised. The video quality is great, the fisheye effect is exactly what I was looking for, and it mounted perfectly to my Red Mutiny II helmet. After a weekend of ATVing and camping, all of my videos look great and I am very excited to take it out into the snow. For anyone looking for a great, simple helmet/adventure camera, I would absolutely recommend the ROAM. The only concern I had after the weekend of use was that the beeping sound seemed to fluctuate tones over the weekend (I'm not sure if this is due to the -10°C temperatures, low battery, or what).

Overall, the entire Contour experience is simple and pain-free. Setting the camera up, using it in the field, uploading the video, and, finally, viewing the footage was a pleasing and easy experience. For those looking for a cavalcade of shooting modes, GPS, iOS/Android Bluetooth linking, or other premium features, the ROAM may not be for you... however, if you want an easy-to-use, well-designed helmet camera, the ContourROAM should do the trick for you.

Note: I will update this review once I get to use the ROAM in snowy conditions.
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on September 21, 2011
I've only used the camera a couple of times so far... the first of which was during a consistent light rain while mountain biking out on the trails here in the Pacific Northwest. In the product description you'll find a whole paragraph describing how this unit is "super tough" and how the "ContourROAM is made to withstand encounters with everything from eating mud puddles", etc. After one outing in not super tough conditions I wound up with the front glass (or plastic, not sure what it's made of) having scratches in it from me wiping it clear while riding down the trail so that I could film.

This is not a huge deal for me as most surfaces will scratch when rubbed with wet dirt, fine, I get that. So, I contacted Contour describing what happened and asked if I could order some replacement glass for the front or if the existing lens refresh kits would work. Here's the reply from Contour:

There are currently no replacement lenses available. I'm told that opening the ROAM camera will lose it's waterproof rating and thus void the warranty. The ROAM does however come with a protective lens cap for when the camera is not in use.
We do hope to have a different scratched lens solution for the ROAM that does not void the warranty in the near future. Thank you for being patient.

A different scratched lens solution? Sounds like there is no lens scratch solution so buyer beware.

I am pleased with the video quality but think the HD model with the 60fps mode would have been a better choice specially when you can find them for 40% cheaper than this non-serviceable model. There's a reason why the GoPro's are so successful.
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on March 5, 2012
Unlike past reviews, I do not have any issues with audio. When I received it, I noticed that the seal had been broken and then replaced which suggests to me that they did testing or something on it before repackaging. Great quality and the ease of use is soooo much higher than the GoPro. It really cuts out the whole "Is this thing on?" footage. I also like the laser.

The only complaint I have is that the mounts are expensive. Not a big deal though, as it is pretty easy to make your own. The quality is great; with the right software, cropping individual frames leads to awesome action shots.

I love the sleek design; much better than wearing a toaster (GoPro) on your helmet. I have fallen on it several times at racing speeds and have not had a problem. Great little camera.
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on September 25, 2011
I have to say that the quality for this portable device is pretty good, but battery wasn't so good, I only got 2 and half hours on one full charger.
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on April 30, 2012
I'm very happy with the camera as far as picture quality and usability, the optics are great, the low light performance is quite good. No complaints on that.

I think it's important to point out a few things though. The software, which you need to go to their website to download, requires Quicktime to be installed (which I do not like at all, I generally do not allow Quicktime on my machines). The software has NO instructions, not even a quick-start. They have been saying on their forum that they are "working on" a manual for over a year now, and still no manual.

Also it appears that their software will only work properly (with all features) when registered and logged in to their web service. I'm not fond of the new paradigm of locking you in to a company's services if you want to use a device that you paid for. Oh, and the EULA says that you're not allowed to use the software unless you're 18 (of legal age to sign a contract). I realize that nobody reads the things, but I thought that was amusing.

Editing is very non-intuitive to use (you have to click a button labeled "AWESOME" to select a section of video - seriously, is this designed for 12 year olds?) and as far as I can tell, there's no way to export video either to the hard drive or online except through their web service.

Even using the software for configuring the camera doesn't really seem to work that well - the only options are frame rate and date/time. Luckily there is a fairly easy way to configure the camera by just editing a text file on the memory card after plugging it in to USB, but that's really somewhat clunky. It DOES give you access to all the features though (different resolutions, still picture mode, volumes, the ability to put some personal info in there), beeps on and off. Since the camera is advertised as 1080P but it comes set to a lower resolution, and the software apparently can't set the resolution, this can be a problem unless you figure out how to use the txt file to set the parameters.

The mounts that this thing comes with are scary, they're basically just double-sided tape on a hunk of plastic and a slide mount, and since they're flat they probably wouldn't stick very well to a helmet (one of them is somewhat flexible but I wouldn't trust it). I actually just designed and made my own mount that I trust more (it secures to my helmet with a zip tie).

Bottom line, it's a nice camera but the software is close to useless and the mounts are flimsy, plan to have/buy a copy of some 3rd party video editing software, and if you want to helmet mount, plan to spend more on mounts or make your own if you're handy.
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on December 4, 2011
Bought this for use on my off-road motorcycle. Within the first hour or so I caught the camera on a small branch and broke the rotating mount. It's a good thing I had installed the little lanyard or the cam would be lost. The camera itself is great, batteries seem to last forever, operation is as simple as could be, just one switch. My only gripe is the mounts. For the number of people who use these with helmets you would think they would supply a mount that is cable of mounting on the contours of a modern helmet.
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on June 16, 2013
After receiving the Contour Roam, things I did initially.

1. Open the back cover. (This was kinda tricky but the way you open it is by holding the side of the cover and sliding it 'UP')
2. Insert a microSD card and doing a format. (Without this step, your PC won't recognize the device, so I suggest you do this right away)
3. Connect my Roam to the PC and upgrading the firmware from 1.6 (I think) to 2.16 (latest f/w for Roam 2 found at their site)
=> You can find how to upgrade by reading other reviewer's comments here at Amazon.
=> The reason for the upgrade is to get 60fps instead of 30fps in HD. Much smoother video when taking action video shots.
4. Recharge the battery for 4~5 hours.

I took the Roam on a pool trip yesterday and tried it for the first time. I had also bought the headband for the Contour Roam so I used
this to mount it on my head. Here are the results and I'm quite impressed. I'll be taking this thing on a bike trip next week and
see how that goes.

At under $100 for an action cam, I'm a VERY satisfied customer.
(*) BTW, the f/w 2.16 that's only for Roam 2 works perfectly on Roam 1. :-)
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