Ion Air Pro Lite WiFi – US$39.95
With an aerodynamic design, the Ion Air Pro WiFi is a lot sleeker than most of its current counterparts. At 4.21 inches long, 1.46 inches in diameter, and 4.5 ounces, it is slightly heaver than the GoPro hero5 which weighs in at 4.2oz. This weight helps the two-tone brushed aluminum frame feel solid, unlike the go pro cameras which feel fragile outside their waterproof casing.
This leads to the next feature, audio recording. Because it doesn’t need anything extra as far as a case is concerned, the sound quality is souch better than the GoPro while in the protective housing. Even with the GoPro out of its protective shell, the quality is comparable, if not better than the GoPro.
From the box, the Ion Air Pro Lite Wifi is waterproof to 30 feet. I would recommend using the back that does not have wireless capabilities, but I am still a little paranoid about damaging the WiFi pod part of the camera. This built in waterproof feature is almost unheard of in the action camera industry, many of the competing cameras still require bulky housings to prevent irreparable damage to the unit. The GoPro does beat the Ion Air Pro Lite WiFi for depth as this is able to be submerged as far as 197 feet; However, this is only really important for those wanting to capture deep dives. For general use, the Ion Air Pro Lite WiFi is usually sufficient.
The controls on the camera are minimal. There is a Power/Shutter button and recording slider on top of the camera. Behind the WiFi pod module on the back, there is a video mode switch to select either HD or FHD, a microSD card slot for cards up to 32GB, a microUSB port, mini HDMI out, and AV out. These controls are easy to use, especially as you can’t change many options from the camera itself. Instead of just having a LED light to indicate whether is recording, the camera also vibrates. Move the slider to the REC position and you’ll feel short vibrations, press the Shutter button and you’ll feel a single vibration. Powering the camera on or off also causes a long vibration. This is useful if the camera is mounted somewhere where you are unable to see the light, such as a helmet.
The still image shutter can be adjusted from a computer, to single, burst, or time lapse modes (at 5, 10, 30, and 60-second intervals) modes. with resolutions from VGA, 3mp, 5mp, and 16mp. The photo quality isn’t terrible – but it does have a fairly obvious fish eye effect due to the cameras very wide angle range of viewing (170 degrees). For the price, it certainly beats the quality of my BLU cellphone, and I was pleasantly surprised.
Video uses H.264 compression and is saved as MP4 files. A lower-resolution WQVGA file is also saved simultaneously for faster online uploading to sites such as youtube. The video settings are minimal with only the resolution being able to be changed in FHD mode, and the frame rates in HD mode. The video quality is comparable to that of the go pros, and for its price any shortcomings can be easily ignored.
For the price of this, there really is no comparing it to even the older styles of go pro which are still considerably more expensive. As a camera goes, for $39.95 it really can’t be beat.
As an update, the photograph quality of this camera is reasonable, but it seems the video leaves some to be desired. For the price, it’s still not worth arguing with…. But you do get what you pay for!!