Chilli Technology Mini Cam Pro HD 720p Sports Action Camera  £119.95

8/10

Comparable to a GoPro but at nearly half the price, the Chilli Technology Mini Cam Pro HD 720p is a good, easy to use camera.

Weight 174g   Contact  www.leftfieldbikes.com

by David Arthur   September 24, 2013  

Chilli Technology Mini Cam Pro HD 720p Sports Action Camera

It seems mini video cameras are two a penny these days, and the latest to arrive at road.cc is the Chilli Technology Mini Cam Pro HD 720p camera. It takes decent video, and is very keenly priced if you're happy to lose a few features of pricier action cams.

Chilli make a whole raft of cameras, this one follows the GoPro styling lines, with a rectangular camera housed in a clear plastic case. The case ensures it's well protected from the elements, and it's compact and pretty light too.

On the front of the camera is a 120 degree wide angle lens and around the back is a 2in LCD screen, which makes it really easy to review video footage. That's something the similar looking GoPro doesn't offer, so that's a bonus straight away. However, while you can turn the screen off when the camera is out of the clear waterproof case, operating it inside the case doesn't allow the screen to be switched off. This clearly impacts on the battery life.

Despite its diminutive size, the lens provides good quality video with a reasonably crisp and well saturated appearance, at least on a par with the GoPro. However, as the test video shows, the camera is slow to adapt to rapidly changing light levels, such as those you find riding down country lanes. See for yourself:

It records at a maximum of 720p (1280 X 720 pixels) at 30 frames per second, meaning smooth video playback. Those wanting 1080p video will want to look elsewhere, but in reality you're probably only uploading to Youtube or Vimeo and the quality is plenty high enough. It'll also take photos at 5MP resolution (2592x1944 pixels), but I found this a less useful function, especially considering my smartphone has a 8MP camera.

Included in the box is a head strap, curved helmet mount and a flat helmet mount, so a few options for mounting. The mounting system looks similar to GoPro, but it isn't. That's a shame. A handlebar clamp would be a nice addition in the box from the start.

The supplied mounts work well, though; the curved helmet mount is easy to fix to a regular helmet. On the helmet the camera adds quite a bit of weight, and I found it pushed the front of the helmet down, forcing the front section into my forehead. I had to dial in the retention system on my helmet to stop the helmet bouncing over bumpy roads, an action exaggerated by the weight of the helmet.

The battery life isn't as good as the GoPro, at a claimed 1.5hrs compared to the GoPro's 2.5hrs. In testing I got close to the claimed time, which I found plentiful for short bursts of filming when out riding. The battery can slide out and be replaced by spare if you want to film for longer. If you want a video camera for commuting, as is popular these days, then it should be more than enough for a round trip.

As with most compact cameras like this one, the audio capture is the achilles heel - it really isn't all that great. It's no worse than other cameras like this though.

At £120 (though I've seen it cheaper on the internet) it's nearly half the price of the GoPro HD, but the later does offer higher quality 1080p filming. It comes supplied with an 8GB SD card, with capacity for a 32GB card.

Verdict

Comparable to a GoPro but at nearly half the price, the Chilli Technology Mini Cam Pro HD 720p is a good, easy to use camera.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Chilli Technology Mini Cam Pro HD 720p Sports Action Camera

Size tested: One

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Mini Action Cam Pro from Chilli Technology is the video and audio recording device that allows you to capture the adrenaline-fuelled moments of your life, as they happen. Durable and weather-proof - the helmet camera is perfect for skiers, wakeboarders, drivers, cyclists, bikers and more. Whether off-piste or navigating through tricky terrain on your mountain bike, the Mini Action Cam Pro is with you all the way, recording every turn and every bump. A helmet strap and fastener is included, to allow for complete hands-free operation.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

A 720p HD Action Camera with waterproof case.

* 5 Megapixel Lens

* 120 degree lens

* 2" LCD screen to view the video footage

* Uses Micro SD Card up to 32GB

* 1.5hrs battery life (battery can be swapped for additional charged battery anytime)

* Accessories include: Head strap, curved helmet mount, flat helmet mount

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Solid construction and withstands being dropping and chucked about.

Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10

I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the recorded video, it's on a par with most cameras of this size and price.

Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

Yup very good.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
7/10

Mount it to your helmet and you will notice it after a while.

Rate the product for value:
 
9/10

Nearly half the price of the GoPro but nearly as good, aside from the obvious drop in video resolution.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Really impressed with how easy and quick it was to get up and running, and the screen is a bonus for reviewing footage mid-ride before you get home and plug it into your computer.

However you can't turn the screen off so this has an obvious impact on the battery life

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The compact size and decent quality video recording.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

It's a bit heavy and there's no 1080p option.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Maybe.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180  Weight: 67

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,

 

10 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

This market is quite really quite competitive now. I've just paid £115 for a Contour Roam2. 1080p, 3.5 hours, 170 degree viewing angle, and NO TELLYTUBBY LOOK. No display to replay the footage on the move, but perfect for commuting.

Then again, I did pay another £35 to add a 32GB SDHC card and helmet mount.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3569 posts]
24th September 2013 - 15:57

26 Likes

You mention the word 'GoPro' 11 times during this review - the same amount as the word 'chilli'!

that speaks volumes about the state of the market....

Racer 074 for the 2014 Transcontinental Race; 2,000 miles from London to Istanbul.

http://themartincox.co.uk/2014/03/racer-074-transcontinental-race-2014/

posted by themartincox [403 posts]
24th September 2013 - 20:42

1 Like

Anyone heard of the Rollei Bullet Youngstar HD 720p (catchy name hey!)

Picked one up for £40 new on eBay after a mtbing buddy got one.

Comes with helmet mount, etc. Although another member of the group of mtbers also then got one and made a decent bar mount using an old reflector bracket too.

I've done some brief filming with it although it charges via usb and I drained the battery turning it on/off for clips. The mtber that first had one reckons best to leaveit on in future. He did 8 mile coastal path ride and had loads of battery left. So guess I have to hold my hand up to user error.

posted by Super Domestique [1660 posts]
25th September 2013 - 10:19

1 Like

Do any of them come with a bar mount?

I much prefer that to wearing it on my head.

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1315 posts]
26th September 2013 - 11:48

27 Likes

It's an extra you can buy for the rollei so I am sure it is for others.

posted by Super Domestique [1660 posts]
26th September 2013 - 12:18

24 Likes

Kodak had some very nice tech in their Playsport ZX5, it was only £80, extremely rugged, water-proof without needing a naff plastic case, good sound whilst still being waterproof, 1080p and 720p60fps and it was only £80. Unfortunately Kodak have pretty much gone bust and you can't get them cheap any more.

In comparison, this camera is way over-priced, not waterproof without a crappy case which no doubt spoils the sound quality and not full HD. Battery life is way too short.

When you're riding, you don't want to do short bursts of film, what you want to do is turn it on and forget about it until the interesting stuff happens. I'm still waiting for a bike-cam with an 8 hour battery, they keep making the battery smaller instead of longer lasting.

Kodak's camera case is a brilliant bit of engineering in it's waterproof capacity. Motorola also made their defy phone fully waterproof. It's about time the bicycle camera companies all pulled their fingers out and started making their tech waterproof without lazily resorting to using some large heavy case which restricts access to the buttons and ruins the sound.

Overall rating for that cam you reviewed at that price based on resolution, video quality, case and battery.

1 out of 10.

posted by kie7077 [603 posts]
28th September 2013 - 10:57

23 Likes

I've just paid £115 for a Contour Roam2.

Did you buy from the USA? It seems that we Brits are getting ripped off on the price once again.

posted by kie7077 [603 posts]
28th September 2013 - 11:02

27 Likes

Mobius ActionCam Full HD Sports Camera 1080P 30FPS 720P 60FPS Pocket Camcorder, available on Ebay for US$69, is one of the better deals at the moment.
As with most of these cameras, the real achillies heel is the short battery life. Even 2.5 hours isn't really enough.

posted by imaca [51 posts]
29th September 2013 - 23:56

23 Likes

Any chance road.cc can get a few in and do a comparison test?

posted by Super Domestique [1660 posts]
30th September 2013 - 12:43

27 Likes

kie7077 wrote:

I've just paid £115 for a Contour Roam2.

Did you buy from the USA? It seems that we Brits are getting ripped off on the price once again.

No, that was just via one of the merchants on Amazon.co.uk - I should also mention (given your other comment) that it's waterproof to a metre as is (so protected against the weather at least while on the bike), and comes equipped with a very nifty free waterproof case that will protect it down to 60 metres or something like that if you fancied scuba diving or whatever.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3569 posts]
30th September 2013 - 12:58

19 Likes

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