iON Air Pro 3 Wi-Fi review

Sleek no nonsense action cam that just lets you get on with the action

iON Air Pro 3 Wi-Fi

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The iON AIR PRO 3 measures 39.5 x 39.5 x 105.1mm, but its design makes it feel far sleeker and less intrusive than the GoPro shape, sitting close to the equipment it's attached to rather than sticking out.

On the base is a standard tripod bush that is used to bolt on the Air Pro mount clip or if needed a standard tripod.

All the mounts use the same compression clip to hold the camera in place, and this forms a solid bond between equipment and camera. When it comes to releasing the camera, a bit of force is needed to separate it which, for an action camera, is a good thing.

iON Air Pro 3 Wi-Fi

The iON Air Pro is held in place with a compression clip.

Selecting the video resolution is simple with one small switch that is hidden behind the modular back enabling you to select between HD (High Definition 720p) FHD (Full High Definition 1080p). Once you've made your selection the modular back is fitted to protect the connection ports and MicroSD card and locked into place.

Vibration alert

Once done there are only three buttons on the exterior, the On/Off button that doubles as the still photo shutter button, the on/off record button, which is designed more like a slider, and the Wi-Fi button on the back. To switch the camera on you can either push down the on/off button for a second until the camera vibrates or if you want to start filming instantly just push the record button forward – again, the camera vibrates and a blue LED around the power button comes on.

Once recording commences, a small green LED illuminates. When you stop recording, the light turns off and the camera vibrates twice to let you know that it has stopped. This form of navigation and operation is simple and easy to use as there are no additional features that need to be checked. The vibration is also handy if the camera is mounted on a helmet where it's difficult or impossible to check if the camera is recording.

Connecting the camera to a mobile device via the Wi-Fi is easy. You activate the Wi-Fi network via the button on the back and a blue LED indicates that it's switched on. It will then appear on your mobile devices list of Wi-Fi connections. Once the connection is made you can load up the app for iOS or android and you're ready to control the camera.

Video quality

We used the Air Pro 3 when out mountain biking in the New Forest and surrounding area. On the whole the footage was of good quality but lacked some of the vibrancy and contrast that we've seen with the likes of GoPro Hero4 and Sony AZ1VR.

We found that the overall video quality was excellent resolving tone and detail well and reproducing natural colour.

The lens gives footage the ultra wide angled look with straight lines towards the edge of the frame bowing, but this distortion isn't over the top and the video sharpness across the frame is good. Chromatic aberration is also well controlled and you really have to look for it on high contrast edges to see it, so in normal circumstances it isn't an issue.

When filming fast motion the image quality does start to suffer and even at the highest quality setting the camera was capturing an average of just under 25Mbps, which is pretty average for this type of camera.

Light and sound

The iON Air Pro 3's metering system does an excellent job, though moving the camera from light to dark and back again showed some interesting trends with the exposure taking about a second to settle when moved from shade to light – on the other hand, the exposure change from light to shade is almost instant.

The iON Air Pro 3 has no options for changing the sensitivity but noise is well controlled in low light and never really became an issue.

The Air Pro 3's audio in a static location is good, but the level is very low so if people are speaking at a distance of more than a meter or so away it can be difficult to make out what they're saying. Wind noise however doesn't seem to be too much of an issue even with the camera attached to a mountain bike. The sound of the track can be heard clearly with a little wind noise but it's really not too much of an issue.

If you do need to record higher quality audio then behind the PODZ module is a standard 3.5mm audio jack ready to take an external mic.

Leaving the camera running for the duration of the ride saw the battery completely flattened in just over two hours. The battery itself is built into the camera so it's advisable to take a mobile charger or just watch what you're recording.

Footage from the camera is well saturated with bright contrasty colour. When the footage is compared against the GoPro Hero4 and Sony AZ1VR the iON footage shows slightly higher contrast and saturation that gives footage and instantly pleasing look especially when the footage is shot in bright sunlight conditions.

However when the light drops the camera can struggle with capturing the finer detail which is picked up by the GoPro and noise does start to affect the visual quality.

When recording fast motion the video quality does show pixelation and although this is masked somewhat by the motion of the footage it is apparent especially in lower light. This break up of the image is caused by the camera recording video at an average of 25mbs, and a similar effect can be seen with most other cameras, even with the GoPro Hero4 and Sony AZ1VR when recording at a similar quality – but to a slightly lesser extent.

There's also the ability to shoot stills and this is done by simply pushing the power button while the camera is on. If you want to switch to burst or time lapse then you'll need to do this with the app. It would have been preferable to have a series of button presses to switch the shooting mode, with vibrations indicating what mode you're in.

We liked

The robust feel and direct access to the record button without having a waterproof case. The simplicity of use just lets you get on with the activity rather than worrying about the camera's settings.

We disliked

The software and app used to update the settings work well but look dated. Real care needs to be taken to check that the PODZ module has been properly attached and locked.


The bullet cam design of the iON Air Pro 3 makes it ideal for anyone looking for a camera that is a little more discreet that the likes of the GoPro or Toshiba cameras. The complete lack of options when it comes to using the camera is actually something that we really liked. You can select HD or Full HD on the camera, but in practice you won't because it's hidden behind the PODZ module which, with cold hands, cannot be removed. This just leaves you with the option of sliding forward the record button and starting recording.

Rather than being restrictive, this approach just enables you to get on with the activity you've chosen, and there's no stopping to swap and change settings, which you feel obliged to do with the likes of the GoPro Hero4 and the Sony AZ1VR, if only to see what happens when you adjust a setting slightly.

The iON Air Pro 3 includes basic mounts only so the cost of additional mounts will need to be added to the cost of the camera. There is a good selection for most activities but we found those that featured a ball head like the bike bar mount really need to be tightened down in order to eliminate shake, but otherwise the thought behind the design is excellent.

Imaging Lab Manager

Ali Jennings is the imaging lab manager for Future Publishing's Photography portfolio. Using Imatest Master and DxO Analyser he produces the image quality tests for all new cameras and lenses review in TechRadar's cameras channel. Ali has been shooting digital since the early nineties and joined Future's Photography portfolio back in 2003.