Contour Adds Low-Cost Roam Camera To Its Helmet-Cam Lineup

The Contour family of cameras, which competes with GoPro and other small, hardened imaging devices, has a new member. The Roam rounds out the range at the low end, providing the primary functions of the adventure-proof camera for $200, far less than the latest addition and $100 less than the GPS model. Let’s run down the specs.

The focus of the Roam is on ease of use and waterproofing. While the other versions of the camera can handle rain or a splash, the Roam is actually waterproof, and is certified to… well, only a meter underwater, but for half an hour. Realistically speaking (though Contour can’t promise it because of the way these things are certified), the pressure difference isn’t going to crack this thing open if you go into the deep end of the pool or kick down to 10 feet to check out a cool eel.

Operation has been simplified, too. They wanted this one to simply be recording or not. So you slide the big top slider forward and it records, slide it back and it stops. The button on the back lights up the battery indicators and fires a laser level for keeping your shots straight. The one I’ve got seems skewed a bit counter-clockwise, so you might want to check that before you record.

The battery is built-in, which means you won’t be able to quickly switch it out, but hey. The lens is still nice and wide and fairly flush with the body (helps water and dirt off it), and it rotates 90° in one direction and 180° in the other, meaning it can pretty much be mounted anywhere.

So what do you give up for this lower price? Well, you can’t use Contour’s cool Bluetooth pairing app that lets you see what the camera sees live. And the image processor and lens aren’t of the same quality as the other cameras. Less configuration options. And there’s no GPS. That said, the construction feels as solid, and the video must be as good as the version I reviewed a while back, which is to say over-compressed but sharp and colorful.

It’s shipping today. Pick one up at Contour or your local electronics place.