Looxcie LX2 review
sensor, 640x480, N/A zoom, 23g
The Looxcie is a mini, wearable camcorder which can record video clips at 640x480, storing them on its built-in 2GB of flash memory.
This may not seem too impressive at the relatively high price of £140, but the LX2 has a few clever tricks that leave other wearable camcorders trailing. One is built-in Bluetooth. This means you can pair the camera with your iPhone or Android handset and use the free LooxcieCam and LooxcieMoments apps as a viewfinder to make sure the camera is pointing in the right direction. The apps also allow you to review footage, save clips directly to your phone, and upload them to Facebook, YouTube and other websites. A third app - LooxcieLive - has just been released in Beta form. This turns the LX2 into a live streaming device, so friends and family can see what your camera is recording in real time.
Handily, you can also use the LX2 as a Bluetooth headset to make and receive calls - it has a dedicated button to answer and end a call, and allows voice dialling on compatible handsets when you double-tap it.
In the box you'll find a selection of earbuds and earloops so you can get the best fit. The earloop is reversible, so you can wear the camera on either ear. We found it was fairly secure, but not enough for extreme sports where vibration could cause it to fall off. For these situations, there's a range of optional accessories for mounting the camera on your bike, helmet and other things, plus various lens adaptors to get a wide or telephoto view.
It's possible to use the Looxcie without a smartphone, albeit in a much more limited way. Using the Looxcie desktop software for Windows and OS X, you can change the recording mode from individual clips to continuously loop. This acts a bit like a PVR's timeshift buffer, saving the last 90 minutes of footage (at 480p) for as long as the battery lasts (around two hours). This mode means you can hit the 'Instant Clip' button to save the last 30 seconds of footage as a separate video file. If you keep the button pressed down, the clip is automatically uploaded to a pre-defined website, via your smartphone's data connection.
We're unsure why Looxcie can't combine the two apps into one, but you're more likely to use the Moments app. This lets you share Instant Clips and download them directly to your phone. Plus, you can view the camera's entire video buffer and select exactly which portion (up to 30 minutes) you want to save as a new clip, and then share that.
Few other camcorders make it so quick and easy to share the action with friends, and none that weigh just 23g. Unfortunately, video quality is the weak link. Compared to other, more expensive wearable video cameras such as the GoPro HD Hero, the Looxcie's VGA resolution is low. Clips were sharp, but lacked detail. Colours were accurate, but the poor dynamic range meant that the camera couldn't cope in bright conditions, washing out skies or underexposing everything else.
If the GoPro HD Helmet Hero is out of your price range, you need to share video immediately after shooting it and image quality isn't important, the Looxcie is a decent choice. However, if you already have an iPhone or Android handset, chances are that its camera will shoot better-quality footage than the LX2, and a smartphone will still let you upload your footage to Facebook or YouTube easily. All you need is a way to attach it to your body for hands-free operation.