If you’ve ever seen the picture of Gary Nixon filming for On Any Sunday — helmet strapped down with the bulkiest “onboard” video recorder you’ve ever seen — you can appreciate today’s modern action cameras. Small, durable and loaded with functions, today’s cameras are perfect for recording sessions at the track, Sunday jaunts through the canyon and even your commute home. What’s the one problem with today’s offerings? There are simply too many of them. Between the bulk of XYZ brands, there are a few standouts of course, one being Replay.
Replay’s latest lipstick-styled camera is labeled the XD1080 and — as the name suggests — it captures video in 1080P at 30 frames per second (FPS). Video can be recorded in 960P or 720P at 60FPS as well, and time-lapse settings enable you to take a photo every three-to-30 seconds should you wish to document your ride through photographs. The camera’s body is constructed of hard-anodized aluminum (after all, this is an action camera) and the lens bezel is O-ring sealed for the instances when you and your bike get caught in wet conditions. Two buttons atop the camera’s body enable the user to turn the camera on/off and begin/end filming. Out back, a threaded cap spins off to reveal the XD’s SD card slot, mini USB port, HDMI port and two additional buttons; a frame-rate selector button and mode button. You can cycle through the aforementioned, pre-programmed settings through these two buttons.
A good action camera is nothing without reliable, versatile mounts. The Replay itself ships with four 3M adhesive-backed SnapTrays (two flat and two curved), a fixed mount and a HeimLock swivel mount that uses an eccentric cam-lock to provide a stable position with eight degrees of tilt and 360 degrees of rotation. Finding a spot to mount the camera is simple thanks to its relative size, and the swivel mount allowed us to easily position the camera at the perfect angle. With the desired mode selected, SD card inserted and rear cap replaced, capturing video from this point forward was as simple as powering the camera on and hitting the record button.
One thing we like about the XD1080 is how user-friendly it is. The camera vibrates three times to confirm that it’s on, and LEDs confirm which settings have been selected. Video quality is on par with the competition, with our only concern being that the image is slightly hazy. Cars and other objects in the distance don’t quite have the sharpness we expected, but the camera’s wide-angle 135-degree anti-glare lens provides absolutely zero image distortion. Other cameras with a wider field of view provide greater image deformation in comparison. Customers looking for the ultimate image will be happy to hear that the XD1080 embeds an editable text file, meaning you can fine tune the camera’s white balance, contrast, exposure and saturation settings.
Replay’s lipstick-style XD1080 comes with two mounts (our favorite being the HeimLock swivel seen in image 1) and four 3M adhesive-backed SnapTrays. Out back, settings are selected via the FPS and Mode button, then confirmed by way of LEDs (image 2). At either 1080, 960 or 720P, image quality is sufficient (image 4) and — most importantly — there is no image distortion. Time-lapse photos can be captured at either 3, 5, 15 or 30 second intervals (image 3)
We didn’t find the need to adjust the settings, as we were happy with the overall quality of the video. You don’t have to just take our word for it either; we had our trained-eye video crew take a look at our videos and they confirmed that the image quality was spot-on, adding that “the color contrast is extremely good.”
The XD1080’s sound quality is admittedly weak at higher speeds, where wind noise quickly overpowers the sound of your motorcycle. Replay representatives recommended throwing a piece of tape over the exposed microphone hole, and while that significantly cut the wind noise, it turned our sweet-sounding Triumph into a muttering kitten. Needless to say, we feel like sound quality is the one area where the Replay could be improved.
Aside from that gripe, we found the Replay XD1080 to work really well. The fact that it measures just 3.6 x 1.1 inches gave us free rein when looking to mount it, and the company’s adaptable swivel mount is a superb option when trying to dial in the camera’s positioning. The $299.99 camera is hands-down one of the easiest on the market to use, and even more, it stands as evidence of how far video camera technology has come over the years.