Veho Muvi HD Hands Free Camcorder Gumball 3000 Edition Professional Review
Veho Muvi HD Gumball 3000 Edition
Point of View Hands Free Camcorder by Veho - Muvi HD
Veho Muvi HD Hands Free Camcorder Gumball 3000 Edition Reveiwed
What follows is a review of the Veho Muvi HD POV (Point of View) sports camcorder I recently purchased. Again like most of my reviews I like to either buy or borrow the items I review so I can give a real “Hands On” user experience for those considering purchasing similar items.
The most popular POV Camcorders are made by GoPro with their HERO line and I had considered one of theirs but I really don’t like the boxy look and the overly complicated menu system. When you are out and about the last thing you want to have to do is crack open a manual to figure out how to make your camcorder function properly.
As is usual of anything I purchase I tend to use the Internet prior to purchasing to solicit opinion and then try and read as many reviews as possible from real owners/users not some magazine write up from a paid writer. Sure I read those two, but I just don’t place much value in them as compared to people that actually use the Product. For this review of the Veho Muvi HD not only did I read up on reviews from Amazon USA, I also read reviews from the European versions of Amazon in particular Amazon UK where Veho is based. Reading reviews in other languages is very easy to do if you use Google Translate. In addition I read some reviews from Camera Stores and watched the available Youtube Videos on the Veho Muvi HD and comparable cameras including the GoPro HERO, Contour, the Rollei Bullet HD (Which I really like the design of but is pretty hard to find in the USA), and a few lesser known brands. I also considered the new Sony Bloggie Sports HD which is a bit larger than most POV cams, but does have some nice features. The big KLUDGE with the Sony Bloggie is the built in storage is simply too small. Like a lot of Sony Products it’s big on paper and well thought out but poor in execution when compared to other products in the same class.
FYI: Amazon has an entire write up on Hands Free Action Cams where they talk about issues like wearability, lining up your shot, resolution, frame rate, configurability, power, audio, storage, sharing and video editing. All things which go beyond the scope of my review of the Veho Muvi HD here however I will touch on them within the perspective of applicability to this particular product.
Features/Benefits of the Muvi HD Gumball 3000 Edition
Before I go further I want to specify that I purchased the Gumball 3000 Edition of the Muvi HD. Why? Because that is what Costco had in stock! Yes I had to look up Gumball 3000 to figure out the relevance vs the other models, and it’s just the mounting options and a 720p 60 frame per second mode. I do not use the 720P mode (I thought I would, but I don’t) because the 1080P just looks so much better. Who buys a Camcorder then records in lower resolution modes?
Wearability of the Muvi HD and Mounting
Honestly this is not a strong point, but I’m sure it’s as good as the HERO, but not as good as the bullet cams. Let me explain why I make this statement. The Muvi HD is very small and light weight but the LCD on the back and the menu’s make it more like a very small point and shoot camera, when you wear it all this is blocked off! To wear the Muvi HD you have the option of mounting it in one of the strap mounts then threading to yoru helmet. While this would work fine it would look pretty silly. Whereas a bullet cam would look pretty cool mounted on the side of a helmet.
You can also mount to your chest with straps, which I guess is okay unless you plant yourself face first. I can see this being useful in some sports like skiing perhaps. The lens is not protected so you might damage it if you landed wrong. The Muvi can also be mounted in a clip on case which I do NOT like at all. This clip on mount is a very poor design in my view as the clip at the top is just plastic and very difficult to get the Muvi in and out of easily. I thought I was going to break it for sure. I tried wearing the Muvi HD in the clip mount over my shirt pocket and the images were terrible as the camera bounced around a lot with every step. I should also note there is NO DIGITAL IMAGE STABILIZATION of any kind. So you need to hold the camera as still as possible to get good images. There is a digital zoom feature which I’m only going to talk about here because digital zoom results in poor image quality (Optical Zoom no present).
Mounting the Muvi HD to a flat surface with straps or screws or however you choose with the stick’em mounts is pretty easy. But who typically will mount a sports cam to a flat surface? I don’t know.
Suction Cup Mount – lightweight and easy to use, unfortunately for me in the 1 hour drive I took with the Muvi HD mounted on the inside of my windshield the camera mount released and fell on the dashboard 5 times! I was worried it wouldn’t work so well so I mounted it just above the dashboard so that when it fell it wouldn’t fall far and I have a padded dashboard cover (Sun protection) so I didn’t worry about breaking the camera. It really didn’t fall so much as just kind of tip over as it came loose. On the plus side the little tripod screw on the bottom of the cup mount that connects to the suction cup mount works very well. I suppose this suction cup mount is what makes this model a Gumball 3000 edition. There is also an inscription that says Gumball 3000 in the rubberized surface of the camera itself. I think you would have to be crazy loco to mount this camcorder on the exterior of your car with the suction cup mount. I think that’s a quick ticket to throwing $200 in the toilet.
Basic Tripod mount is not provided, but the cup mounts that come with it have tripod screws in them and could be attached to a Tripod.
The biggest disappointment for me was there was no bar mount of any kind included in the Muvi HD Gumball 3000 Edition. You would think an action cam would have at least a mount for a bicycle or motor cycle or roll bar. But this Gumball 3000 version does not. Sure there are lots of mounts included, but most are not very useful. I ended up having to use one of them with another mount I have and electrical tape to mount to my bicycle.
User Controls and Lining Up Your Shot
The tiny 1.5” LCD on the back of the camera is surprisingly good, although very hard to see in bright sunlight. The control menus require a light touch or they will jump around a lot. I would have liked to have a bit of a click feel to them but they do not. I should also note that the camera is supplied with an 8 GB micro SD memory card, but no instruction as to which way is up on the camera slot so be careful and make sure you don’t try and jam it in the wrong way. The sides of the cameras have the power on/off, record, and voice activation buttons (a pretty useless feature unless it is extremely quite where you are shooting because nearly every sound including wind noise will turn the camera on).
There is a mini AV Out (I have not tried it), Mini USB for transferring files and charging from your computer while plugged in and an HDMI out for TV’s which I also have not tried.
Using the controls is pretty intuitive and easy to follow as the menu’s are not very deep. I did try and take a few photos and there were acceptable, but nothing great. My $100 Samsung point and shoot camera takes better photos.
It’s very easy to line up your shot as the little LCD screen helps you point towards your subject. The $100 more expensive GoPro HERO has no LCD screen included, but you can buy one for more money. Seems like it SHOULD be included. And of course there is not way to know on a bullet cam either so in this regard the Muvi HD is a significantly better deal.
When turned on and in a case there are two small lights that you can see from the back of the camera on the upper left that blink green or red for standby or recording. I found these useful when holding, but when mounted on the bike hard to see in bright daylight. By cupping my hands over the sides and back I could make it just dark enough to see. There is also a little red dot on the bottom center of the screen that comes on when recording. Again hard to see in bright daylight unless you hold it up close to your face. So I resort to just starting it close to me, then figuring on editing out that 15 seconds of video at the start while I place it in the mount. Better to know it’s on than waste your time thinking you are recording while you are not.
Battery Life and How Long you can Record on the Veho Muvi HD
Battery life is great, it’s stated to be 3 hours and I have not used it for more than about 1 hour and ten minutes of actual recording because that is all the 8 gb micro SD card (Toshiba Brand included in my package) would hold. One KLUDGE is I can see no way to replace the battery so when it wears out in time and eventually it will what do you do? Should I plan on throwing the camera away? I don’t know. And I have not yet found out information on this from the Veho site which is flashy, but light on substance. Most of their models look the same so it’s hard to figure out what is the better deal and what are the differences.
Formatting is simple and quick in the camera. The entire process is about 5 seconds which you’ll need to remember to do. There are setting for protecting files and I’m not sure yet, but I think that default file protection is enabled or I bumped it while playing with settings. In any case I could not delete files on the Muvi HD while connected through USB. This is a habit I have from my other camera where I copy files, make sure they are good, then just format and delete via the PC. So with this camera I need to learn more or get in the habit of always formatting on the Muvi HD. This was a problem because I forgot to do this and thought I was recording on a trip and I actually had no space on the Micro SD card so I wasted an entire trip. There is a “Loop” mode where it should write over the other files, but I couldn’t get it working right. The Manual is okay, but like most items that come out of CHINA not really up to American Standards. And I am assuming this is manufactured in China because it looks and feels like Chinese Electronics although there is not mention of where it is actually made that I could find. Veho is a UK company, but I doubt they make them in the UK.
There are several modes, but I only use the 1080P. In comparison all the other modes are a big let down. Keep in mind that with a 160 degree field of view on this fix lens camera you are going to have a big “Fish Eye” effect and you do with this camera as well. So as straight lines (like edges of buildings) move out from the center of the lens you get a lot of distortion (bent lines). All POV cameras do this so I do not fault the Muvi HD here. It’s my understanding from nearly all the Youtube Videos I watched that the quality of the image at 1080P is every bit as good as the more expensive GoPro HERO HD (Even the new model they claim to be 2x as sharp).
Audio Recording on the Muvi HD
Honestly I didn’t really care about Audio when I bought this because I’m not making Hollywood films here. But it sounds okay and captures sounds and voices okay. I suppose if I did care more then I would take the time to test it and review it. Bottom line is it records voices okay and works well in areas where there is no wind noise. While riding on my bike I do notice wind noise and some pick up of chain slap as I shift gears so it seems to work fine. Sorry I can’t be of more help about audio than that.
I didn’t install it or bother to use it so I can’t really comment.
Here is what I like about the Muvi HD
- Built in LCD Screen
- Significantly Cheaper than Hero HD and better looking
- Decent Quality Image at 1080P – comparable to Flip Images I’ve seen
- Small and lightweight
- Rubberized surface makes it easy to hold
Here is what I don’t’ like about the Muvi HD
- Not always recognized when plugged into USB
- No lens cover or lens protection
- Other than 1080P quality is marginal at best
- Lots of mounts, and most of them not very useful
- No Handlebar mount
- Battery might not be user changeable
- Mediocre Manual and Instructions
- Initial battery charge took 5+ hours!
- No image stabilization
- No Shock Protection – worry about dropping it
FYI: The Gumball 3000 shipped with an Underwater Kit which I have not even opened, and while as cool as that sound for people who surf, it means little to me. I would have much preferred a solid handlebar mounting system.