Length:: 7:21 Mins
This is a review of the Cycliq Fly12 Bike Headlight & HD video camera. I received a free sample for review.
Unfortunately whatever Amazon has done through it's video processing to the video I uploaded has completely borked the video quality. I've uploaded the same video to my YouTube channel if you want to see it in higher quality.
I had already been using the Fly6 tail light/video recorder and consider it essential. It's bright and the video capture is very good. The Fly12 steps up the video quality with HD 1080p video capture in MP4 format. It records as soon as it is turned on which I love. You don't have to remember to turn on video recording... when the unit is on it's recording. Turn it off, it stops recording. And if you forget to turn it off, the Fly12 will shut itself off if it does not detect movement within 15 minutes.The wide field of view captures everything in front of you and it is sharp and bright. Low light performance is quite good too.
The Fly12 uses both Bluetooth and WiFi to connect to your smartphone. Clever that it uses both ways to connect depending on what you need to do. WiFi is for streaming the video for viewing on your phone, while the bluetooth mode is just for changing settings and also uses less power I assume. If you don’t use the app because you don’t have a smartphone, you can still change settings by using the config.txt file on the memory card and writing the parameters to it. You do this when the camera is connected to your computer via USB cable.
The Fly12 has both audio alerts and an LED indicator to let you know what’s going on. For instance, I am color blind so it’s very difficult for me to distinguish between a red or green LED indicator. So to have an audible indication of battery level as soon as I turn on the unit is excellent for me. There is a corresponding audible alert for practically every LED indicator. Regarding the LED indicator, it is located on the top of the Fly12 assuming you have the Fly12 mounted on the top of your handlebar. If you mount the Fly12 under your handlebar, then you won’t be able to see the LED indicator. Maybe it would have been better to have the LED indicator on the back of the unit. But in any case, the audible alerts mitigate that issue somewhat as long as you can remember what the various beeps mean.
The headlight is very nice. Some headlights I've used have a very hot center spot and then the peripery light drops off quickly. The light on this has a more even level of brightness from edge to edge but it is somewhat brighter in the center. It casts a bright light and has 10 possible settings. There is steady, sequential flash and fast flash and each of those modes can be set at High, Medium or Low brightness. The 10th mode is studio mode which is a lower light level that you can use if you just want to record video and have some fill light. The flashing modes are great for daytime use.
The iPhone app is really essential to get full use out of the Fly12. Using the app you are able to program the Fly12 so that you don't have to cycle through all the light modes to get to the one you want. You can "hide" the modes you don't want to cycle through. Nice feature. The app also allows you to view video that the Fly12 has captured as well as change video resolution. The video resolutions available are:
1920x1080p 45 fps
1920x1080p 30 fps (default)
1280x720p 60 fps
1280x720p 30 fps
The Fly12 comes preinstalled with 16GB memory. Video takes up a lot of space and a 32GB (or maximum 64GB card) is probably in your future. The Fly12 records both full HD video as well as a smaller thumbnail version.
5 minutes = 42.1 MB for thumbnail video
5 minutes = 755 MB for 1080p video
Video is recorded in 5 minute segments. If you are riding and witness an incident of some sort, you can give the WiFi button a quick press and it will lock the current and previous video segments to prevent them from being overwritten. Great feature.
The Fly12 is not a lightweight, weighing in at 255 grams (8.99 oz.) But when you consider that it is both a video recorder and a headlight, it’s not -that- heavy. You do have to consider the benefits the Fly12 provides and put that weight into perspective.
A great safety feature is that if you crash and the bike falls over, video will continue to be recorded for 30 minutes. There is also an awesome alarm feature. If enabled, your Fly12 will start beeping and the light will start flashing if your bike is moved. When the app is running, your smartphone will sound an alarm as well. Give you some peace of mind if you must leave your bike unattended for brief periods of time.
I don’t use Strava, but if you do, the Fly12 interfaces with it. You can overlay your starva metrics and tramline onto your video. I have not used this feature yet but it looks very interesting and would be very helpful to have your ride metrics on riding videos that you might upload to YouTube or elsewhere.
With the Fly12 on my handlebars and the Fly6 under my seat, I feel much safer on the road and know that video is recorded in front and behind.
What I don't particularly care for is the mounting hardware. It won't accommodate thin diameter handlebars. However since the Fly12 uses a GoPro style mounting bracket you can use GoPro style handlebar mounts. This also lets you use the Fly12 on a extender pole as a conventional video recorder… that’s pretty handy.
Overall this is impressive.