Hands-on review: Opkix One waterproof HD micro-camera
Occasionally, I’m sent a product that really blows me away. Don’t get me wrong, I get more excited about routers than is perhaps healthy, but a router is a router. Opkix One is a camera system, a camera system unlike anything I’ve used before.
The rather lovely presentation box opens to proudly reveal the palm-sized white egg-shaped storage case/charger. Inside the case are two small, lightweight HD cameras, no bigger than the end of your thumb. The kit is also available as a single camera pack, but there’s a good reason they supply the two.
The cameras clip firmly into their container and have an ingenious interface on the back which allows them to be inserted any way around. Lights next to each charging port advise on the status of the cameras, the innermost light showing charge status whilst the outside lights indicate video processing.
The top of the camera has a red record button which, when pressed, beeps once and illumines a halo light around the lens to alert the user that recording has begun. Another press stops recording, switching off the illumination, and sounding out a double beep.
On the right side (with the lens pointing away) is a mic. On the left side is a rather strong magnet used to secure the camera to the various mounts.
The cameras are IP68 rated. This means they are waterproof to 9m. The charging case is NOT waterproof.
Each camera has 4GB of storage. This allows for 15 minutes of continuous 1920x1080 HD video at 30 frames per second.
Whilst I found the 15 min recording time reasonable from a technical point-of-view, my wife, who tested the cameras whilst horse-riding, thought this was not long enough, compared to her phone. I can see other people feeling the same way.
The cameras do not stream directly to your phone. Once full, each camera must be inserted into the storage egg. The video is then transferred from the camera to the 14GB of storage in the case. There is enough storage and battery charge in the case for 70-minutes of video recording. It takes 45 minutes to charge the case.
This is why those two cameras make sense. You use one, fill it with 15 minutes of video and insert it back into the case. You then take the other camera and continue. Whilst in the case the 15 minutes of video downloads and the camera is charged back up for the next swap over. It’s a clever way of keeping the charging wait times to a minimum and the cameras small and light.
Video can be download from the case storage by either connecting the egg to a PC or Mac via USB cable or via the Opkix mobile app.
The Opkix app is free to download and easy to configure. The app connects your phone to the charging case via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
Transferring video is easy- you start up the app, which automatically connects to the case, and select your videos. There’s an option to delete the videos from the case’s memory once the video has been downloaded to the app.
For most people, the Opkix app is all they’ll need to capture, edit, and share their videos. It has a rudimentary editing suite that can stabilise video and can even add an ambient music track.
From there you can click share and upload the video straight to your social media account, email it, or sent it to your cloud storage.
The kit could do with some additional instructions beyond the quick start guide included. Thankfully, the FAQ on the Opkix website fills in the blanks. But, overall, I found the app intuitive and the whole kit ridiculously easy to use.
The pack comes with two mounts for the side of your glasses, a mount for the brim of a hat, and four mounts (2x white and 2x black) with adhesive backs. All the included mounts use the cameras’ magnets to fix them in place. The package also includes a Type-A to Type-C USB cable for charging.
All-in-all it's a fantastic package. However, aside from the understandable 15-minute video limit, I did have a few little niggles.
The hat mount has the camera positioned on its side. Whilst you can reorientate the video in the app, you get a portrait view that may not be desirable. Whilst the video is very clear, the field of view could do with being a little wider. As action cams, you want them to capture as much of your subject as you can.
I had a great idea to attach a camera to one of my drones until I realised that the cameras have the magnets and not the mounts. I didn’t want to risk having the magnet interfere with the workings of an expensive drone. You could, however, try mounting a camera on a cheap drone without GPS etc. for an HD recording of your flight.
None of the above are showstoppers, but worth noting. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of these adjusted for the inevitable 2.0 version of the Opkik One camera.
Opkik also provided some additional accessories to try. These are designed for use as alternative mounts for the cameras and pretty useful.
The telescopic selfie stick is probably the easiest way to hold one of the cameras if you don’t want to physically mount it. The camera end is angled to make it very comfortable to hold. The other end has a rubber tip that offers a bit of grip if you want some additional support to steady the camera. There’s also an optional rubber strap to firmly hold the camera in place, in addition to the strong magnet. It’s a sturdy piece of kit with a metal shaft that seems quite robust.
The ring-shaped rubber mount grips the camera tightly, but I’d be a little nervous about wearing it for any extreme activity should it get knocked, get pulled off my finger (or snag something and pull off my actual finger). May be useful in the pool for capturing some video, though.
The other accessory supplied was a necklace mount with a rubberised grip, that held the camera tightly. It came with a lanyard that you can put around your neck to have the camera available at any time. Pretty useful and you are less likely to lose the camera if you are out and about.
The Opkix One kit is an impressive HD micro-camera setup. You get good-quality HD video in 15-minute takes from a camera from a 36mm long camera weighing just 12 grams. With all the mounting accessories included, you are ready to go straight from the box.
With the Opkix One, I’ve seen the future of action cams. The tiny cameras can be discreetly worn, allowing you to get the video you want without the need for clumsy, dangerous-looking attachments mounted to your head.