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EE 4GEE Capture Cam review - 4G life-logging

Richard Easton
5 Feb 2016
4GEE Capture Cam side angle
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
10
+ £11/month (24 month contract)

The 4GEE Capture Cam's life-logging is unreliable and the cost of ownership is too high

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Specifications

Sensor: Size not disclosed, Sensor pixels: 8000000, Max recording resolution: 1080p (30fps), AV connections: None, Dimensions (HxWxD): 55x55x28.2mm, Weight: 90.5g, Warranty: One year RTB

The 4GEE Capture Cam isn’t EE’s first foray into 4G-enabled video. That would be last year’s 4GEE Action Cam, but even its 4G live-streaming capabilities couldn't save it from being one of the worst action cams I've seen in recent years. Not only did it have very mediocre image quality, but it was also very expensive, and that price only kept on going up if you opted for an accompanying data plan and a lengthy 24-month contract.

EE’s second outing takes a slightly different approach, as the 4GEE Capture Cam is less action camera and more life-logging camera. It’s a square device with a built-in clip on its back that can attach to your clothing, or you can use GoPro-compatible mounts using the bundled adaptor that comes in the box.


4GEE Capture Cam back clip

It measures 55x55x28.2mm and weighs 90.5g, so it's still relatively large and heavy for something designed to be clipped on to an item of clothing, but it is lighter than your typical ruggedised action camera. It's still not very subtle, so anyone looking to document an undercover exposé will need to look elsewhere, but EE posits that the Capture Cam's suitable for both consumer and professional use, such as estate agents looking to give a virtual tour of a home as an example of the latter.

Pricing

Unlike the Action Cam, there’s no pay-as-you-go option with the Capture Cam, and at time of writing there are only two pay monthly plans to choose from, both of which tie you in for 24 months. One allows for 1GB of data a month and the other 3GB.

The cheapest option will have a total cost of ownership of £274 over the course of two years, while the other will bring you up to a total of £418. As 24 months is the minimum plan term, that’s a lot of money for a camera that might be redundant in a year or so, but at least the SIM will be transferrable to another device at the end of it, such as a compatible tablet.


4GEE Capture Cam pricing

Design

With its textured, grippy edges, the Capture Cam itself feels reassuringly made. A large F/2.5 aperture lens dominates the front and it’s supported by a sensor that captures 8-megapixel stills and up to 1080p video. The top also has a large, illuminated shutter button that changes colour depending on its mode. Purple shows that it’s in live streaming mode, whereas blue means it’s recording locally. You'll also find a sliding toggle to switch between video and photo modes here, as well as a three-stage signal status for the 4G connection.

4GEE Capture Cam side

However, it's not the most user-friendly interface I've ever seen, particularly when it comes to distinguishing whether it's on or off. For example, the light will slowly 'breathe' or pulsate when it's in standby mode, but stay on constantly when the camera's active. However, when each 'breath' can take quite a while to fade in and out again, it can be difficult to know whether you've accidentally left it on when you're only looking at it very quickly. In this case, it would have been more useful to have a completely different colour to indicate when the camera's active, as this would make it much easier to see at a glance whether you're recording or not. 

On the underside of the camera, you’ll find the Micro SIM slot, which provides the Capture Cam’s data connection, and a Micro USB port for charging. There’s also a microSD slot for expanding storage by up to 64GB, which you'll almost certainly need as there's only 4GB of storage built-in.

4GEE Capture Cam top buttons

EE Capture Cam app

The camera itself only has very basic controls, as all you can do is toggle between video and still images. Instead, the majority of your tinkering will be done in the 4GEE Action Cam app, which has been updated to also support the Capture Cam. 

The app hasn't changed much since I reviewed it last year, but you'll need to connect your smartphone to the camera through Wi-Fi Direct before the two will work together. Thankfully, this doesn't take very long, and we were up and running within a couple of minutes. 


4GEE Capture Cam live recording

Once you're in the app, you'll see big, bold buttons and icons that show you the status of the camera’s battery, storage capacity and signal strength. Jumping into the settings menu, you can change the livestreaming and recording resolution, adjust timelapse intervals (which range from 1, 3, 5, 10, 30 and 60s intervals) and shot mode settings for photo capture.

Annoyingly, you can't actually swap between video and photo modes through the app, so you have to use the physical toggle switch on the camera itself. It’s also worth noting that changing the timelapse setting actually applies to video mode, not photo mode as I originally expected.

This meant it was easy to accidentally leave the camera set to timelapse mode in the app, but then accidentally record a timelapse when you wanted to record a regular video. This is especially true when you use the Capture Cam's shutter button to begin recording rather than the app, as there's no obvious indicator that it's still in timelapse mode. If timelapse applied to photo mode instead, at least you would still be able to grab the still image you wanted when trying to take a photo even if you did accidentally create a timelapse. 


4GEE Capture Cam live recording

You can also use the app as a live viewfinder when recording locally at up to 1080p, 30fps, but it's a shame you can't do the same thing while livestreaming as well. Instead, the screen remains blank (as seen above), prompting you to switch over to the Skeegle app instead. This is the company EE's partnered with to enable the Capture Cam's livestreaming capabilities, but, just like EE's Action Cam, switching over to Skeegle is where things start to fall apart at the seams.  

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