A while back I decided I wanted a camera for my bike. No real reason other than I wanted to have a play with one and I thought it would be cool to record some footage on the bike and catch any w*****s close-passing me on my commutes. I started looking and found loads for sale on the Wish app from China. They are CHEAP!
All of them are GoPro wannabees, so I forked out £11 for one (Yes! Eleven quid). It came in its cheap packaging as I expected and it worked too. Bonus! 4K Ultra HD. I bought a mount for my bike aswell so it could hang underneath my Garmin out front and a 32Gb memory card aswell. I was ready to go.
The first time I used it I set out to work and quickly the camera came loose on the mount. OK I thought, I just pulled over, did it up extra tight and carried onto work. I was excited to look at the footage and other than been jerky (and upside down) because of the loose mount it was fine but suddenly stopped. I only had about 10mins. I checked the camera and it was dead. I charged it fully again and it was the same on the way home, so the bottom line was the camera was ok but the battery was shit. Very shit. I can get a spare for a few quid but I lost interest and put it away and forgot about it over the Summer.
Buying from China? Do your research!
Recently though I’ve had a couple of close passes and dickheads on my commute which started me thinking of cameras again. I also got mildly addicted to watching footage of road rage with cyclists on Youtube which is both funny and scary!
I think the GoPro type camera, fixed on the bike are great for footage but if you get problems from behind, say, the camera can’t see the vehicle or driver so I decided I wanted a headcam. I spent sometime looking at different types but if it wasn’t a GoPro it was something very similar you could mount on top or to the side of your helmet. Headcams look odd anyway but a big lump like a GoPro in a waterproof case + mount on my noggin was too much for me. After more Googling I found a bullet-style camera which is more compact. Quite popular for motorbikes it seems but not so for cyclists. I had seen an ad on Facebook for exactly what I wanted from Chilli Technology and they had an offer on. Looked good, so I looked them up, checked them out and read some reviews which lead me to place an order. It cost £40 and my lovely momma stumped up the money as a gift. Thanks mom, love you x
I did have customer service issues with them originally . I’m not vindictive so I want go into the details, but they did eventually sort it, the owner called me personally and they threw in a spare battery so I’m happy now.
Customer Service 101 – never lie to your customers!
So last week, the camera arrived in a tidy little box. What did I get?
Other than the camera itself, you get a bar mount, a couple of 3M sticker-based mounts for helmets (one flat, one slighly curved), a strap-based helmet mount, an adjustable bracket (holds camera cradle, attaches to mount), a cradle to hold the camera on the mounts, a charger cable (USB to micro-USB) and a lanyard-type necklace thing (no idea!)
Its claims are as follows:
- Full 1080P HD Head Camera
- Removable Battery (add another battery quickly and easily)
- Up to 4hr Record Time on one battery
- Weatherproof with Cap with MIC open | 30m Waterproof with closed cap
- Has Cycle Record (with a switch of a button)
- Has Time Stamp (or you can remove it easily)
- Has a MIC to record sound
- Aluminium Case for durability
On first inspection the camera is compact and neat. The aluminium case doesn’t feel cheap and the cap on the rear you unscrew to access the battery, USB interface and memory card is simple. Colleagues at work were impressed.
There are no instructions with the camera but working out how it worked was easy enough. If you need help, I was emailed a link to some videos on YouTube explaining everything you need to know.
This is there Youtube Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/chillitechnology
Operating it is very simple. Hold the on button it vibrates. Its on. To start recording press the button quickly, it vibrates quickly and starts. Do the same to stop. Hold the on button for a long vibration to turn off. The vibration is a useful feature if its mounted on your head and you can’t see it.
Charging is easy too. Take the cover off, plug the USB lead in. It flashes red while charging. Stops flashing when done.
Setting the timestamp (or turning it off) requires access to a text file stored in the \video folder on the device. I watched one of their Youtube videos to do this. Pretty simple and you can set how big the movie files are recorded in too. I opted for 3 min videos. I have my camera set to cycle which means when the memory card is full it just starts to overwrite the oldest files.
3 minute videos are approx 0.5Gb in 1080p, so a 32Gb card will give me 64 x 3mins = 192 minutes of recording time (3 hrs 15mins approx)
Because of the shape of my helmets I didn’t go for the 3M mounts as I couldn’t get enough of it to stick directly to the side without overhanging so I opted for the strap-based mount on top and at the back. It offers a pretty high, wide field of vision, around 120 degrees.
Quality of the footage is fine. Its a bit jerky but I guess thats to be expected. It doesn’t come with image stabilization which you may get on more expensive cameras.
Overall I’m pleased with the camera. It was worth the wait to get it and I think it offers good value for £40. I’m going to try the bike mount which will offer a different perspective and should be quite interesting. Battery life isn’t an issue on my commutes as it will charged at home and work but I may put it to the test on my next long ride to Ironbridge soon. I doubt I’ll ever use it under water but who knows????
Any questions? Just ask