Review: Vio POV 1.5 – Helmet Camera

VIO is no stranger to making helmet cameras systems and when they announced they’d be making one for mountain bikes, everyone took notice.  Their designs are typically based on a small form factor that is rugged and  easily wearable, along with a bevy of mount options.  Their products are engineered to perform in challenging environments. The latest rendition from VIO is their POV 1.5 system.   Read the details inside.

“The POV.1.5 is a fully integrated point-of-view (POV) video system that’s waterproof, dustproof, and shock-resistant. The system includes a mountable camera head, built-in video recorder, wireless remote and software for managing your point-of-view videos.”

POV 1.5 system contents | credit: VIO

The VIO POV 1.5 system can be broken up into a handheld unit, a wireless remote, and a tethered head.  The handheld unit itself is a rugged design that can take a beating.  The buttons are slightly recessed and have a solid feel to them when pressed.

handheld unit | credit: POV

Menu functionality with the VIO system is easy, visual, and pretty intuitive.  The handheld recording unit is quite useful as you can visually see what is being recorded to ensure proper setup.  Additionally, footage can be reviewed quickly and easily on the unit.  This lets the user control / modify / delete any clips with a simple button press.

The POV system can be run by simply pressing the record button on the remote or on the main unit itself.  The wireless remote is a nice touch as you don’t have to be in direct contact with the recording unit.  An adjustable audible beep can be set as well to verify commands you initiate with the remote.

wireless remote | credit: POV

the wireless remote can be easily mounted in various locations for quick access like the stem shown here | credit: VIO

The POV system also has a nice built in function that you can activate called LOOP mode that ensure you won’t miss the action when it happens.  Essentially you set the duration of the loop and the POV system will continue recording in that duration.  If you decide you want to keep a segment all it takes is a button press to save it!  This means you won’t miss any of the excitement as you are always recording and control the clips you want to keep.  If you want to record in standard clip mode (press record to capture and stop when done) the VIO can do that as well.

In the latest firmware version, Exposure Control is also adjustable through the menu system to help set the right light-setting for your POV footage.

The POV system is run on 4 AA batteries so sourcing power is easy and doesn’t require you to purchase alternate charging devices/units.

  • Recording capacity: 4GB SD card or 8GB SD card capability
  • MAC users may need additional software to edit / convert footage.
  • I/O Ports: SD card slot, USB 2.0 high speed (Mini -B), Mic-In, NTSC/PAL Analog TV/Audio Out

Moving up the tethered cable, the microphone is attached on the cable and works quite well.  The omni-directional microphone is located off of the main camera head and allows you to tuck it behind or away from direct wind noise.  Microphone levels are also adjustable through the main unit.

Camera:

  • Sensitivity: F/#2.0, Relative Illumination @ full field 90%
  • Effective focal length: 2.97mm
  • Field of View: 110 degrees

Video Modes:

  • Frame rates: 30fps, 25fps, 24fps, 15fps
  • Resolutions: 720×480, 720×400, 640×480, 360×240
  • Formats: MPEG4 AVI (DivX Codec) digital, NTSC/PAL analog

Mounts:

The VIO system has tons of options that really let you diversify the way the camera mounts. They offer a multitude of aftermarket mounting options to create just about any desired effect.

star mount on top of a helmet | credit: VIO

Included stock with the VIO unit is a Double-Hook and Loop Mount as well as a Star Mount.

star mount on the side of a full face helmet | credit: VIO

Plenty of other VIO mounts are available to purchase that are quite sturdy and offer different perspectives / options for mounting.  Additionally, you can purchase cable extensions that will let you extend the range of the VIO camera head to suit your needs.

Video:  (Recorded at the VIO POV 1.5 max settings: 720 x 480, 30fps, highest settings)

You can also download the original video provided you have a free Vimeo account.

In our use with the VIO POV 1.5 unit we came across a few things we thought were worth bringing up.  The tethered cable can get in the way sometimes or snag on things.  VIO includes a lapel clip now but we attached an extra Camelbak adapter to help control the cord and keep it out of harms way.

Camelbak Camelclip

Additionally, since the VIO system isn’t a standalone one, you have to carry the receiver unit somehow.   VIO does make a nice setup that allows you to wear the camera unit and recorder easily.

chest mount | credit: VIO

The VIO POV 1.5 system worked well for us.  It falls a little bit short in our opinion in video quality compared to newer “HD” helmet camera offerings.  It’s hard to directly compare the POV system to the GO-Pro or V-Holdr Contour cameras as the VIO provides a different level of control, adjustability, and durability.  From a cyclists’ functional perspective the VIO has one of the best setups that allows a lot of control, but when it comes to expense, video quality, and ease of setup to begin recording the VIO can fall a bit short.  At roughly twice the price of these other units and the need to carry the VIO receiver somehow, it is something that many recreational videographers will have to take into consideration.

Interested in purchasing or learing more about the VIO POV 1.5?  Purchase one from the guys at Pointofviewcameras.com.  They’ve got a lot of knowledge when it comes to POV cameras and can assit you in your all your POV camera needs!

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