Head to any ski resort and you're bound to see skiers rocking any manner of action cams. While some see this trend as yet more narcissism, a way to show off to your Facebook and Twitter buddies that "I'm skiing and you're not," getting video of yourself and your buddies can also serve as a great educational tool.
Last year, TechRadar got our hands on the juggernaut of the action cam world, the GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition. There's much to like about GoPro's latest offering, but it's still far from perfect. While the image quality is second to none, the cameras themselves can be finicky, not to mention bulky. While rocking a GoPro might appeal to some, others don't necessarily like the idea of having a bulky camera perched atop their helmet. And that's where the Liquid Image Apex HD + WiFi Camera Goggles come in.
We took to the slopes at Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley near Lake Tahoe, Calif. to put the Liquid Image Apex HD + WiFi Camera Goggles through its paces and we were very impressed.
Described as an "all-in-one POV camera and goggle" where the Apex HD + WiFi shines is in its relative simplicity. Since you're probably already going to wear goggles, using this setup doesn't really require another piece of gear. Of course, since the camera is built into the goggles, relative to other setups, the Apex HD only sports 30 degrees of vertical angle adjustability. That said, in our testing this wasn't really a problem. For the most part, when you attach a camera to the front or top or your helmet you pretty much just want to see what's in front of you anyway.
Liquid Image has a mobile app for iOS and Android phones that uses the camera goggles' built-in WiFi and once you have the connection setup you can monitor and set up your shots making sure that the angles are right. You can even use the mobile app to control certain aspects of the camera.
Of course, during our tests we tended to shy away from watching the phone all day because of battery life concerns. There's another app as well called Action Connect that lets you control even more of the camera's functions but it has an awful delay that we found to be annoying.
Speaking of battery life the Apex HD + WiFi sports a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that's housed in the right side of the strap. The control mechanism, replete with the tiny 0.5" x 0.5" LCD is housed in the left side of the strap. The camera's battery is rated to last between two and two and a half hours and that was consistent with our experience.
Similar to other action cameras controlling the device and feedback is handled via a series of beeps. Turn the camera on and one beep tells you you're in 720p 60FPS video recording mode. Hit the power button again and you're in 1080p 30FPS video recording mode. Another beep and you're in single photo mode. One more beep and you're taking a burst of photos. Hold the power button down for a series of beeps powers the camera off. In our tests we would turn the camera on while riding near the end of the lift, record our video or pics and then turn it off at the bottom to save battery life.