A well-designed and resolved action camera with excellent app support
CMOS sensor, WVGA (120fps), 720p, 960p, 1080p (30fps), 0.0x zoom, 167g
Like the Contour Roam2, the Drift HD Ghost looks fantastic. The camera has a tough exterior and is waterproof to 3m down out of the box, without requiring a separate housing.
It’s flexible in how you mount it, too. The bottom of the camcorder has a standard tripod screw mount, and when mounted the lens points forward. This means the squat camcorder has a low centre of gravity, and a rotating lens means you can make sure your video is always the right way up, no matter how you mount the camcorder. We would have liked definite stopping points for each lens position to make sure it was completely level, though, as on the Contour Roam2.
The built-in screen is useful for live previews and video playback
The camcorder comes with three flat sticky mounts which the camcorder clips into, so you can mount it on three different objects without having to move your mounts around, and there’s a curved mount for non-flat surfaces. The box also deserves a mention; instead of all the accessories being bundled in willy-nilly, as with many action camcorders, the HD Ghost’s box has proper sections for each accessory to help you keep everything together. Various other accessories are available from Drift’s website, from helmet and handlebar mounts to suction cups.
The HD Ghost is easy to use. Buttons on the side start and stop recording, and there’s a remote control in the box which can be slotted on to a wrist strap. The HD Ghost also has a built-in 2in colour screen, which you can use as a live view, to change the camcorder’s settings or to play back footage you’ve already taken; with most action cameras, you need to transfer the footage to a laptop, tablet or smartphone to see what you’ve got.
Big buttons to start recording and navigate the menus
You can also change all these settings using the iOS and Android Drift App. This lets you change video resolution, as well as view a live feed from the camera, start and stop video recording, take single and burst photos and set up a time-lapse photo recording. The app is fast and easy to use on iOS and Android, and has one of the smoothest and lag-free video streams we’ve seen from an action cam app. The app also lets you browse the contents of the camera’s storage and play back video on your tablet. This worked find in the iOS app, but we had no luck on an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean device; if you’re an Android user, you may have to rely on the camera’s screen to preview your footage.
We tested the cameras with a seriously fast HPI Racing Bullet MT RC truck
The HD Ghost’s rigid mount keeps the camera rock steady, and this was certainly helpful during our action footage tests. We fixed the camera to an HPI Racing Bullet MT off-road radio-controlled car, and went for a race down a wooded track. The HD Ghost’s footage was up with that of the Contour Roam2 for smoothness, if not as steady as the Sony HDR-AS15’s, with its clever image stabilisation. Our static footage showed good overall image quality with natural colours, but blocky details in the distance.
Not too wobbly thanks to a rigid camera mount – best viewed full-screen at 1080p
And fair static video quality – best viewed full-screen at 1080p
The Drift Innovation HD Ghost is a great design, with a useful colour screen, impressive apps and a strong mounting system. Its video quality can’t quite match that of the GoPro Hero3 Black Edition, but it’s significantly cheaper. It’s a Best Buy action camcorder.
|LCD screen size
|Video recording format
|Video recording media
|WVGA (120fps), 720p, 960p, 1080p (30fps)
|Maximum image resolution
|Mini HDMI out, mini USB
|3.5mm microphone input
|Battery charging position
|one year RTB