Muvi K-Series K-2 Wi-Fi Handsfree Camera is a joy.
Recently I went on an epic ski trip to Summit County Colorado, and I had the pleasure of reviewing and taking along one of Veho’s Muvi HD action cameras with me.
This is not my first action cam, but it is definitely the best one I’ve ever used. The older one’s I’ve used in the past have been heavy, slow to use, and a low quality video camera. I’m happy to say that the Muvi is none of those 3 things. Though never having directly reviewed a GoPro, this thing is impressively similar. It is about 2.5″ wide by 1″ deep and 1.5″ high and feels sturdy and very well made, but is quite light.
In the package you will find a very nice hard case with snapping clasps that has more than enough room for all the accessories and the camera, plus it is foamed lined so I never worried about it in my luggage. Included are several nice accessories. You get a soft rubber like sleeve that fits over the camera and a camera adapter mount that allows the camera to be snapped into one of the 3 included mounts: a hook and loop detachable mount, a small permanent mount, and a larger permanent mount. The larger one looks designed to have you peal the adhesive off if you want and then thread the mount on a belt or fabric strap that you’d have to supply yourself. The hook and loop mount allows you to only leave a small pad on your helmet or surface and then stick the rest of the mount on as needed. The smaller mount looks similar to the hook and loop one, but remains on the surface permanently. Also a few stickers, a quick start manual, accessory catalog, full manual CD, and lanyard are included.
The hook and loop mount we found to not be as stable and footage recorded with this from my helmet was a little shaky. Never though did the camera come off or did I feel like it was in danger of coming off, even when going as fast as I could down the mountain. I could see this mount being perfect for dashboards or other more stable locations than my head.
I highly recommend accessing the CD with the full manual. I didn’t even consider this until later in my review, it has great tips and tricks and will help you navigate the units somewhat frustrating manual. It includes a simple PDF file with 40 or so full color pages of great information. I wish they would have included this as a printed guide.
The included soft rubber case is nice, but makes using the buttons more difficult. It isn’t waterproof, but it helps to protect the unit from dust and mud, and I’m sure it would help block snow and drizzle. While we were using the camera on the slopes, we didn’t use the case and had no difficulty. The camera also has a protruding lens protector that keeps the lens from getting scratched up when you set it down on surfaces. It doesn’t have any way to completely protect the lens if you put it in your pocket, but I found putting the rubber case on backwards a nice way to protect it in this case.
The camera comes out of the box configured to record at 1080p and 60fps. This is really impressive and delivered surprisingly fluid motion without much artifacting even where there was fast movement in the scene. The lens captures a wide angle which is nice since there is no direct viewfinder (other than the smartphone app) so its easy to capture the shots you want. You can configure this a bit with the menus and reduce the angle (I’m assuming it just crops the video a bit for this feature). It records to MP4 files with H.264 (AVC) video and AAC audio, and at the default settings requires about 110MB/min of footage. We were able to record 4 hrs or so video and pictures and only used about 20GB of our 64GB test SD card.
You also have other options for recording if you use the menu or the smartphone app. The app can be a little frustrating to connect since it uses your wifi connection to connect to the camera which causes internet access issues on your phone while its connecting, but I highly recommend using it to configure frame rate and image settings because the menu on the device is pretty frustrating to use.
One of the more impressive options is the ability to record in 120fps 720p video. This is great if you want to capture some really cool slow motion shots of that awesome skate park trick, fish that was a struggle to get in the boat, or jump in the terrain park. You can use your favorite editing program to have the video play back at 30fps or so from the 120fps source and get fantastic results that are fluid instead of jumpy like slowed down “normal” frame rate footage would look like.
The camera allows for you to snap stills while you are recording video with a touch of the dedicated shutter button (which I really appreciate). These are impressively high quality, something close to 16MP resolution (4608×3456 px) out of the box without adjusting any settings. These images, while not DSLR quality, come pretty close to a good smartphone snap.
Low light condition recording was surprisingly good. See the demo video for examples. These shots were lit with as much light as you might expect in a shopping center parking lot for reference.
Audio quality was clear and decent when in quiet wind-free conditions. Wind noise however completely rendered the audio unusable while we were skiing down the mountain. I would have loved for the camera to have some sort of noise reduction system (a simple foam puffer would have helped I’m sure), but in most cases I’m going to be putting awesome music behind my videos anyway so this wasn’t much of a concern for me.
Controls and Connections
The Muvi charges with an older standard mini-USB connection and it comes with a cable in case you’ve thrown all yours away by now. I wonder why they didn’t decide to use the more common micro-USB connection, but this is a minor quibble. It charges from any USB type charger or USB port. As a nice bonus, you can connect the cable to a PC and access the SD card in case you want to edit footage without needing a dedicated SD card reader. This came in really handy as fiddling with the tiny micro SD cards can be “risky” when you are trying to show your buddies something awesome from the couch.
While using the camera, you will find a large red button in the front with 2 switches, yes switches. I welcome the tactile feel of these for turning on and off the unit and enabling the wifi connectivity. On the top there are 2 buttons, one a stop button and the other a shutter button for quick snaps. The positions of all the buttons make it easy to remember which ones to press when the thing is up on your helmet. That coupled with the loud default beeps it makes when it starts recording complete with different sound for when you stop, make it a breeze to control without removing it from its mount.
Behind a small hinged door you will find the USB ports, micro HDMI connection, and micro SD slot. I wasn’t able to test the HDMI output, but everything else works on this camera, so I have no doubt this does too.
We recorded for usually an hour or so a day, but we usually left the unit on while not recording. One day we let the camera record until its battery was depleted. Expect in cold conditions to get somewhere between 3-5 hours out of the battery on a full charge.
I installed the Android smartphone app for the camera as directed in the manual and it was found on the Google Play store. This app allows you to change all the camera options, remotely start and stop playback and take snaps. It also allows you to see what the camera is seeing on the screen. It is serviceable, but I found the frustration of having to connect to a custom wifi network each time I wanted to use it difficult to complete in the field. You have to enter eight zeros in as the password and since the network doesn’t provide internet, you phone most likely will lose connectivity while the camera is connected. I also found the video quality over the link jerky, blocky, and low resolution. It is good enough to frame your shot, but not much more. Also, be prepared to back out of the application occasionally as it has a few stability problems. All of that said, it is still a fantastic feature to have, and the ability to remotely stop and start alone will be great for off-roaders who want to put the camera out of reach.
The camera has a nice feature called “G-sensor” that will start recording based on an accelerometer’s detection of movement. This will let the camera start recording the instant you take of down the hill on skis, or up the hill on a bike. After 3 minutes of normal conditions, it automatically stops recording. Turn this feature on with the menu or the app, and see the full manual for details. You can also do timed recordings and sequential high speed snaps from the still camera feature.
This was a joy to review, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to capture video of their antics out in nature, or even something more mundane like presentations or class videos. For the price, this really is a fantastic buy.
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