Press & PR
For further information or interview with ION Worldwide managing director, Giovanni Tomaselli, please contact Louise Oakley or Anna Roll, Primal PR, +44 (0)1628 625900 or firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
PluggedIn: Ion Air Pro WiFi HD sports video camera Expert Review By Liz Griffiths (more...)
If you enjoy doing sporing activities, such as water-skiing, skate boarding, or even motorbike racing and want a video camera to record you in your glory, then youll need to find a camera that can deliver impressive sound and picture quality to show off to all your friends and family.
I own a GoPro Motorsport camera, which seems to be heavily used on television by celebrities, professional sporting athletes as well as day to day folk like myself.
The Ion Air Pro WiFi entry into this market is an interesting feat especially as the likes of Contour and GoPro are already a huge hit. As such, I was keen to see if it could deliver the same level of build quality and performance.
I will present this review purely on Ion Pros own merits with a short summary of comparisons to the GoPro Motorsport that I currently own at the end.
Look and feel
The Ion Air Pro WiFi video camera is the latest contender for adventure and sporting lovers alike. It sports a lightweight and waterproof housing with a bullet styled design and a robust metal tube chassis. The camera is waterproof up to 30 meters (without the need for special casing) and even records sound when fully submerged.
The Ions aerodynamic design weighs in at mere 4.5 ounces with the aluminium frame feeling substantial yet remaining surprisingly unobtrusive.
Controls include a power button that doubles as a shutter release button for still photos. There is also a recording slider on the top of the unit and to use it, you simply push the slider forward to start video capture and slide it back again to stop filming.
At the back of the unit, hidden behind the locking back cover (that you untwist to open) youll find a microSD card slot, a microUSB port, mini HDMI output, a 3.5mm AV output, a pinhole reset button and expansion for Ions PODZ accessories to save for upgrading at a later date.
On the bottom of the unit, youll find Ions Cam Lock system, a plastic clip attached to the base of the camera that enables you to mount one of several Ion Air Pro WiFi kits (also includes adhesive mounts, straps, and a bicycle handlebar mount in the box). The Cam Lock clip can be removed with the flat metal key (included) and this reveals a threaded tripod connection (A mini tripod is included in the package).
The Ion Air Pro is fitted with a wide angle lens that provides an impressive 170 degree field of view, which is especially good for water-sports or land-sports where you want to get a large amount of your environment and detail in the frame.
Youll need a Micro SD card for the camera (not supplied) and Id suggest 8GB or more to make the most of the good battery life (2.5 hours) and full HD 1080p settings.
However, ION does give you 8GB of cloud storage to get you started, which you can increase if you need to.
Unlike other camcorders that indicate the unit is in use by flashing a red light, the Ion Air Pro uses vibration alert to inform you it is in recording mode. To distinguish between video recording and still image capturing, the unit sends two quick vibrations for recording and one for taking stills. There is also a single LED on top that glows either green for standby or red for recording.
There is a switch which allows you to alternate between Full HD or standard HD modes and this can also be customised when you connect to a computer.
The still image shutter can be adjusted via your PC, for single, burst, or time lapse (at 5, 10, 30, and 60-second intervals) modes. Video are saved as MP4 files.
Performance and Quality
The Ion Air Pro WiFi delivers impressively clear full HD videos and ultra smooth fast moving capture as well as super slow motion thanks to the the ability to record at 60 frames per second. Lighting and colour are well reproduced without over saturating or over exposing the picture.
It can also capture still images at 5-megapixel resolution. Image quality is good and details appear nice and sharp, especially with outdoor lighting situations. Indoors, noise becomes slightly evident.
The WiFi connectivity enables you to view a live video stream of what the camera is capturing. It also allows you to view files stored on the microSD card, download them and share them social networks.
You can start and stop recordings and adjust many of the cameras settings from the app too.
Also when you want to take footage in really difficult, tight angles, the Ion registers when its upside down and will record the right way up automatically.
The WiFi PODZ function is able to connect to a PC, Mac, or any other WiFi-enabled device with a browser. Simply make a WiFi connection and go to wifi.podz in your browser to access the files stored on the SD card and view a live stream from the Ion Air Pro.
Ion Pro is compatible with Windows Vista and 7; Mac OS X 10.4.11 and later.
Just be aware that when you use the WiFi PODZ, it reduces the battery life quite considerably. However, you can switch this option on and off when not required to save battery life.
Comparison to GoPro
At 4.5 ounces, the Ion Pros bullet shape design is lighter than the GoPros bulkier boxy shaped 5.9 ounces and is waterproof without the need for a chunky external case.
The Ion Pro is also capable of synchronising media over WiFi and can livestream the videos.
The video below shows the Ion Air Pro and the GoPro Motorsport tested side by side on a mountain bike, firstly through a wooded track inside a field then into a playground. This allowed to test different lighting conditions and terrains to compare picture and sound quality, along with its overall stability performance.
When you compare the cost and features of the Ion Pro to the GoPro, theres not much between them although you do get a lot for your money with Ion Pro with the mount system and free online storage to name but a few.
When it comes to comparing quality to the GoPro, it produced some pretty interesting results. The Ion seemed to record footage with much richer colour balance where as the GoPro seemed to look rather washed out and over exposed in certain lighting conditions. As such, I found the clarity and saturation more pleasing with the Ion Pro but I believe this is down to personal preference.
If youre looking for a streamlined, easy to use camera, packed with some great features and accessories, then the Ion Pro is a great choice.
Comparing whats in the box:
Included in the box GoPro
Waterproof Housing (197' / 60m)
HD Skeleton Backdoor
Rechargeable Li-ion Battery
Suction Cup Mount
Curved Surface Adhesive Mounts
Flat Surface Adhesive Mounts
Three-Way Pivot Arm
Assorted Mounting Hardware
Included in the box IonPro Wifi Podz
Ball joint short
Ball joint L shape
Mount strap short
Mount strap medium
Fitting piece (with sticker & foam)
Double-face sticker small size 3
Foam sticker x 2
Quick User Guide
The Ion Air Pro WiFi is a rugged waterproof action camcorder that offers style, solid build quality, impressive features and has the added benefit of live view video streaming via the WiFi PODZ App .
Overall performance is very good in outdoor lighting conditions and the WiFi PODZ is a bonus feature allowing you to upload and share your videos on the go.
The simple control system and streamlined features as well as the ability to quickly snap a photo without having to stop recording or switch modes, make this video camera a very strong contender.
London Glossy: The ION AIR PRO WIFI (more...)
Katie Williams Interviews Giovanni Tomaselli, ION Worldwide managing director.
Giovanni Tomaselli is managing director of World Wide Licences Ltd (WWL), which he set up in 1993 to compete in the global licensed goods industry.
In 1995 WWL secured the global rights to the Disney franchise for computer related products. It enjoyed significant sales success initially producing and marketing licensed computer accessories, before moving into digital cameras for Che-ez and Cool iCam brands in 2000. The Che-ez Brand became a leading digital camera brand in the Japan market with Mr. Maj Harilela (now Director of Sales & Marketing for WWL), heading up the efforts in Japan.
In 2009 Giovanni Tomaselli re-acquired WWL to move back into design and development of portable consumer devices including inkless printers and portable video cameras. Giovanni also established his own Sales, Marketing and Support organisation in Japan to service the Japanese Electronics Industry. With Yosuke Kojima (previous senior executive at Olympus and Kodak) as Chairman of his enterprise in Japan, Giovanni is well positioned to go to market and use Japan as one of its pillars where he has been very successful in the past.
In 2010, industry advancements in image processing and optical angle quality enabled WWL to develop its portable camera technology, together with smart phone apps and related cloud and web access for storage, under the ION trademark for launch into both the sports enthusiast and mainstream consumer markets in early 2012. Today, WWL has seasoned veterans within the organisation stationed in UK, Japan, USA, Australia, South Africa and Continental Europe with an advisory board that will rival most upcoming enterprises and is ready to revolutionise the action camera business.
1. What is the inspiration behind the iON AIR PRO?
It really all came about over dinner one evening, I was discussing various business ventures with friends in particular this new HD product and its market, and one friend said how interesting it sounded, being able to keep your eye on the action at all times. It was then that I had a eureka moment and came up with iON The Action and really thats how the whole venture began.
2. With new gadgets being released regularly what makes this gadget a must have?
The iON AIR PRO Wi-Fi is a nifty action camera that allows you to document your every recreational sporting or holiday experience and wirelessly upload to Facebook or YouTube to share with friends and family in an instant. It is incredibly easy to use, even on the move. Its one click start/record function and fully waterproofed (to 10m) casing make it ideal for all the family. The wide angle lens records in HD 1080p video resolution with a field view of up to 170 degrees and can also capture 5 mega pixel still pictures that can even be sequenced to create amazing stop motion video footage making it THE must-have gadget of the moment!
3. Technology has always pushed the boundary that limits most companies, what makes the new iON AIR Pro a major breakthrough?
The lightweight product (just 130g) offers a great choice of accessories for easy mounting onto sports helmets, surf and boogie boards and bike frames. Thanks to its smart phone and tablet compatibility, users can also preview what the camera sees and replay video footage instantly perfect for getting that all important angle from the side of a helmet, board or bike. With the new iON App on its way, the revolutionary technology feature will also allow the user to start and stop videoing from the iPhone!
4. Is this a multi-purpose product or is it limited to the boundary of action sports?
It is a multi-purpose product that can be used across a whole host of sports in many different ways. Using our selection of mounts the product can be used for cycling, skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, sailing, windsurfing, rowing, the sports are endless as well as for every day family fun and capturing those memorable moments to instantly share. Look out for more products on the way!
For more information, please visit www.iontheaction.co.uk
NBC Bay Area: NBC Gadget of the week - ION Air Pro (more...)
The featured gadget this Friday is the Ion Air Pro Camera... a personal video camera that competes with the Go Pro camera. The Ion Air Pro can take videos no matter where you are, or what you're doing. It is HD, and waterproof without any extra accessories. It has wireless connectivity between the camera and your iPhone, so you can make sure the shot you're getting is the one you want. It runs about $229, and available at www.iontheaction.com.
Click here for the full review and NBC Bay Area video report
Financial Times: The best camera of its Kind (more...)
I had to cross two Rubicons before deciding this superb, action-capturing new mini HD video camera was the most toothsome technological titbit I could set before you this holiday month.
Click here for the full article within the Financial Times How To Spend It website
Mirror: Rihanna, Jessie J and loads of people off TOWIE: Here's what happened when 3am hit the VIP area at Wireless with a headcam (our, um, all seeing eye) (more...)
If you've ever wondered what it's like hanging out in VIP, brushing past celebrities and trying to act all cool then prepare to be amazed.
Introducing the brand new 3amera - showing you exclusive celeb gossip and more backstage action at Wireless Festival.
We went along to Hyde Park on the weekend and tied a camera to our head, so you lovely people can see through the eyes of 3am.
You'll get to experience Rihanna, Jessie J, Rebecca Ferguson and some TOWIE folk. And don't worry, we made the headcam a bit more festival-chic by strapping it to a canvas hat with some ribbon.
Click here for the full article and to see the ION Air Pro video footage.
CAMPOS RACING, TEAM OF EUROPEAN F3 OPEN PARTNERS WITH ION (more...)
The Fastest Race at Brands Hatch This Year!
Campos Racing team has joined forces with global consumer electronics company, ION Worldwide to bring high definition footage of the weekend's event at Brands Hatch to viewers first hand.
The Campos Racing Team will have the latest ION AIR PRO cameras inside the racing cars for the F3 European Open races starting from Brands Hatch. The European F3 Open Championship is returning to Brands Hatch for the fourth time in 2012, with budding F1 stars all keen to show their pace as the midpoint of the season approaches. The International GT Open series also headlines, with its usual mix of supercar exotica from Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin and more all set to do battle around the Brands Hatch GP circuit.
Taking place on Friday 13th-Sunday 15th July, the three day extravaganza opens from 8am each day with practice races and qualifying taking place on the Friday with races on the Saturday and Sunday. Content and images can be found on the iontheaction.com website.
ION has signed a commitment to sponsor the Campos Racing Team for the remaining events in 2012 taking place in France, Hungary, Italy and Spain.
Campos Racing Team Owner, Adrian Campos comments:"We are excited to bring ION on board as a partner. The quality of the product is a perfect match for generating amazing extreme sports footage at a fast pace.We are thrilled to have the opportunity to use this leading camera technology to showcase the skills of the Campos Racing Team across the UK."
Giovanni Tomaselli, CEO of ION Worldwide comments,"Partnering with Campos allows us to test our cameras at the F3, a well-known yearly event within the industry. We are pleased to have the opportunity to showcase our new products at Brands Hatch this weekend and hope for some stunning footage to share afterwards".
About Campos Racing
After retiring from racing, Campos formed his own team at the end of 1997, under the name Campos Motorsport. In 1998 the team began by competing in the new Open Fortuna by Nissan, with Marc Gené and Antonio García as drivers. Gené won the championship and García finished fifth, with Campos taking the teams title. Gené stepped up to Formula One in 1999, and his place in the team was taken by karting driver Fernando Alonso. Alonso went on to win the Euro Open Movistar by Nissan as it was renamed, with García finishing fifth again and Campos retaining the teams title. With Alonso moving onto International Formula 3000, García led the team in 2000, winning the championship and also helping Campos to win a third consecutive teams title. The series became the World Series by Nissan in 2002.
After the 2008 season., In 2009, Campos was awarded a Formula One entry for his team to race in the 2010 season, originally under the Campos Grand Prix name, but the name was soon changed to Campos Meta. After financial struggles, the team was bought out in February 2010 by investment group, who renamed it Hispania Racing, today HRT.
About the ION AIR PRO
Designed for professionals and consumers alike, the aerodynamic, lightweight and easy-to-use ION AIR PRO Wi-Fi camera features a number of significant industry firsts, including Wi-Fi connectivity and free cloud storage. The unique ION PODZ system - thin, circular discs that attach onto the back of the basic camera, adding virtually no weight or volume-extends the capabilities of the ION AIR PRO. With the ION Wi-Fi PODZ and ION app, users can control camera functions and settings, view the action as it happens as a livestream, and replay or immediately upload footage to Facebook, YouTube, or share it via email.
World Heli Challenge Announces Partnership with ION WorldWide (more...)
The World Heli Challenge is one of the most extreme action sports events known to man. The annual competition features the absolute best skiers and snowboarders on the planet going head to head in a backcountry freestyle competition like no other. Coming this August, these all-stars will be dropping out of helicopters to test their mettle on slopes seldom touched by any other individuals.
New for 2012 is the exciting partnership between organizers of the World Heli Challenge and the technological innovators at ION Worldwide. ION is the international consumer electronics company responsible for the cutting edge personal camera system known as the ION AIR PRO Wi-Fi camera. ION AIR PRO cameras provide action sports enthusiasts with high-quality, compact cameras that can go just about anywhere. ION takes their offering to the next level by employing cutting edge technology that allows the cameras to simultaneously upload to the the users cloud storage, as well as share on Facebook, YouTube and email.
Click here for the full announcement
ZDNet: ION Air Pro simplify wearable HD cameras (more...)
Summary: ION Air add cloud native capabilities to their new Point-of-view action-sport camcorder range, along with easy to use on/off recording.
Nothing captures sporty vitality better than the new generation of wearable hi def cameras, of which GoPro are currently the market leader. Their YouTube gallery is full of both user created multi camera angle, head rush footage captured from all sorts of transport from expensive race cars to hang gliders to surfboards, along with plenty of sexy lifestyle footage like the footage of bikini model surfers Alana Blanchard and Monyca Byrne-Wickey above.
Point-of-view action-sport camcorder segment devices fit perfectly into the share everything ethos of our socially networked era and aside from proof of adrenalin junkie activities and uber jock behavior are used for countless recordings and stills of commutes to work, sports training footage and just about any human activity you can think of
While GoPro have opened up a big market, helped enormously by Ciscos reverse double down pivot in closing their Flip camera devision, GoPros arent the most intuitive devices to use, having a somewhat clunky user interface involving squinting at a small led screen, cycling through various settings, listening for beeps and watching for flashing lights to make sure youre recording. If youre trussed up in a fire suit and crash helmet and about to get tightly strapped into a race car, or paddling out into aggressive surf in bright sunlight it can be difficult to successfully record your heroic feats successfully, especially if your nerves are jangling with anticipatory tension.
A fumbled button click can result in missing the capture of your epic double back flip or perfect lap. I saw a very well thought out new generation of HD 1080p sports video cameras with Wi-Fi connectivity and cloud storage recently which look as though they solve this usability issue. ION AIR PRO Wi-Fi cameras claim a number of significant industry firsts, including very easy to use wifi connectivity and cloud storage.
A single one click press of a button starts or stops your recording, and the camera also usefully vibrates to confirm start and stop. 5 megapixel still image captures of single shot, time lapses and 10-photo burst modes are also possible with a single click. Recording and output can be HD wide-angle in a choice of 1080p, 960p, or 720p resolutions as well as WQVGA with a field of view up to 170 degrees. The ION AIR PRO also features Dual File recording, simultaneously capturing both HD and lower-resolution WQVGA files to allow for easier sharing to social networking sites and faster upload times. IONs were conceived as waterproof and aerodynamic devices where GoPros need waterproof housings.
I took a good look at the devices and was impressed by the demo Hong Kong based CEO Giovanni Tomaselli gave me last month although Ive yet to use the device myself. Tomaselli has an impressive track record and is a digital devices native, with extensive experience as an entrepreneur and in senior innovation management at Flextronics, the Asian manufacturing and supply chain powerhouse who make Apple and other branded devices.
A clever POD system of thin, circular disc shaped devices that attach to the back of the basic camera extends capabilities. These interchangeable podz accessory devices extend functionality in various ways; Wi-Fi PODZ and a linked ION app on other devices allow users to control camera functions and settings, view the action as it happens as a live stream (on an iPad for example) and replay or immediately upload footage to Facebook, YouTube, or simply share it via email. Coming soon is a battery PODZ that will enable four hours of recording time without adding size or weight to the camera looks extremely useful in our battery constrained world.
Point of view wearable devices are somewhat immune from the relentless march of all singing and dancing smart phone cameras as they are built to take a licking. Audio quality remains an issue though - its tough to record at high speed and with the ambient noises that come with water and other sports. Theres a high performance Microphone ION PODZTM for professional quality audio arriving later this year which looks promising and very useful. Where HD camcorders (and smartphones) are somewhat sensitive little critters, theres little fear of dropping a GoPro, ION or other action-sport device which arguably gives them a very attractive future market. Ive got a whole stable of old Flip cameras Ive used to record all sorts of events (and to be fair one survived a boat trip literally under the Iguazu Falls in Argentina a couple of years ago, although it went nuts for about ten days afterwards). My main use is to record discovery interviews and work related information capture, and the large files and storage issues accumulate quickly especially when the material is under tight NDA. IONs cloud services gives you the first eight gigs of storage free and looks to be very efficient from the demo I saw.
Im finding Im using my GoPro alongside my Flips more and more depending on use model and have a feeling those devices are going to become ubiquitous. The one drawback of video is the time it takes to review, digest and when needed transcribe it. In meetings my written notes often point to the time at which key moments happen but obviously you cant do this while hang gliding or scuba diving. Although in action sports footage fast forwarding to the bit where you jump off the cliff or crash the car is visually easy, I suspect the more prosaic uses such as a hard hat recording of a building inspection may require more tedious review time to find the key moments. If someone can crack this issue Ciscos digital pipe filling dreams for digital video will become more of a mainstream reality (one of the reasons they bought Flip).
PC Mag: Ion Air Pro WiFi (more...)
A nascent-but-growing category, helmet-mountable video cameras like the GoPro HD Hero2 Outdoor Edition ($299.99, 4 stars) capture your adventures while keeping your hands free for, well, adventuring. The Ion Air Pro WiFi ($349.99) is the latest contender, offering a lightweight and waterproof construction reminiscent of the feature-rich, but overpriced Contour+ ($499.99, 3 stars). These camcorders offer full 1080p HD video, fixed wide-angle lenses, and the ability to shoot at 60 frames per second for smooth action at full speed or fun slow-motion shots. The Ion Air Pro WiFi splits the difference between the Hero2 and the Contour+ (Best Deal: $499.99 at Quill), delivering solid HD video, a waterproof body that doesn't require a separate housing, mounting accessories galore, and wireless connectivity.
Pricing, Design, and Features
There are a couple of package options for the Ion Air Pro. The camera and mini tripod only costs $229.99. The Ion Air Pro Plus (the camera and mounting kit) will run you $289.99. The subject of this review, the WiFi model, includes the Ion Air Pro camera, the complete mounting kit (including bike handle bar mount), and the Wi-Fi pod. While it's more expensive than the Hero2, it offers a lot more bang for your buck than the similarly equipped Contour+, though that camera includes GPS. The mounting accessory choices are similar between the Hero2 Outdoor Edition and the Ion Air Pro Plus, but the latter includes a handlebar mount while GoPro requires a separate mount for $19.99.
With an aerodynamic tube-like design, the Ion Air Pro WiFi looks a lot sleeker than the boxy Hero2. At 4.21 inches long, 1.46 inches in diameter, and 4.5 ounces, it's slightly larger than the similarly shaped Contour+, but lighter. The two-tone brushed aluminum frame has a solid, substantial feel, with a lens bubble protruding at one end and a removable cap at the other. The whole package is waterproof to 30 feet right out of the box, giving the Ion Air Pro an advantage over the Hero2 and Contour+, which both require separate housings to withstand the elementsthough the Hero2's housing lets it go down as far as 197 feet. The controls couldnt be simpler, with a single Power/Shutter button and recording slider on top. Untwist the back cap to reveal the Video Mode switch, a microSD card slot (that accepts cards up to 32GB), a microUSB port, mini HDMI out, AV out, and an expansion bay for Ion's PODZ system of accessories.
Instead of a blinking red light to indicate recording status, like on the Hero2, the Ion Air Pro uses vibration feedback to let you know when it's recording. Move the slider to the REC position and you'll feel two quick vibrations. Press the Shutter button and you'll feel a single vibration that indicates a still image has been captured. There is also a single LED on top that glows either green (standby) or red (recording). The controls are easy to find and the vibrations are better suited for a camera strapped to your head, where you likely won't be able to see the blinking red light.
Shooting mode is the only thing you can control on the camera itself. The switch toggles between FHD (Full HD) or HD modes, which can be customized when connected to a computer. The default is 1080p30 or 720p60, and the other options are 960p30 Tall HD or 720p30. The still image shutter can be adjusted via computer, for single, burst, or time lapse (at 5, 10, 30, and 60-second intervals) modes. Video uses H.264 compression and is saved as MP4 files. A lower-resolution WQVGA file is saved simultaneously for faster online uploading. Unlike the Hero2, all settings must be tweaked while the Ion Air Pro is connected to a computer. However, changing settings on the fly isn't exactly a user friendly affair on the Hero2, as cycling through somewhat confusing menus with two buttons can be very cumbersomeespecially while you're moving.
Video Quality, Still Images, and Wi-Fi
The beauty of action sports cameras lies in the ability to shoot smooth, high-definition video at a wide enough angle to catch all the action. The Ion Air Pro largely delivers on that expectation, with clear full HD video and the ability to step up to 60 frames per second for smooth action shots and slow-motion effects. The field of view changes based on video settings, with 127 degrees for 1080p30, 170 degrees at 960p30, and 150 degrees at 720p30 or 720p60. It's slightly less versatile than the Hero2, which can cycle between 170, 127, and 90 degrees at 1080p30. But the narrower angles on the Ion Air Pro make for less pronounced barrel distortion, especially in tight quarters.
The 1080p30 video captured by the Ion Air Pro looked good in my tests, with mostly clear detail, pleasantly saturated color, and accurate white balance. The results were largely comparable with footage captured by the Hero2, but the latter has a very slight edge in terms of sharpness and video clarity. The Ion Air Pro uses a 2.2-megapixel 1/2.5-inch CMOS sensor versus the 11-megapixel 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor in the Hero2. Resolution isn't everything, and the 2.2 megapixels of the Ion Air Pro are plenty for full 1080p video. The main issue I noticed with the Ion Air Pro was some visible compression that gave the video a grainier quality, with some minor loss of sharpness to finer details. Image noise was minimal even in low indoor lighting. The Ion Air Pro's video showed greater contrast and richer color than the Hero2, which looked slightly washed out. When using the Ion Air Pro handheld I noticed a very mild rolling shutter effect, giving the bumps and shakes a jelly-like quality.
The Ion Air Pro can capture still images at 5-megapixel resolution. Barrel distortion is far more pronounced in stills, but the fisheye effect might be desirable for some. Image quality is good, with sharp detail and relatively low image noise in outdoor lighting situations. Indoors, noise becomes an issue and darker spots look a bit too dark, but this camera isnt really meant to be used indoors or for its still images. The burst mode worked well, capturing five pictures in a 1-second burst. The time-lapse mode is slightly less versatile on the Ion Air Pro, with 5, 10, 30, and 60-second intervals versus 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, and 60-second intervals on the Hero2.
There is a built-in microphone, but audio quality isn't very good. You'll hear a lot of the bumps and jostling of the camera, as well as some wind interference, but that's par for the course with this type of camera. There is no microphone input like on the Hero2, but Ion is working on a remote microphone for better audio quality.
The Wi-Fi pod is a useful addition that streamlines the review and sharing process. The pod creates an ad-hoc network between the camera and iOS devices, and you setup a connection the same way you would connect to any other Wi-Fi device. The Ion Camera app for iOS worked fine on an iPhone 4 and an iPad 2, allowing me to view videos on the camera's microSD card and also email videos or upload them to Facebook. The app also has a remote mode, which gives you a live-preview on your device's screen. However, you cannot record video while connected via Wi-Fi, making the live-preview more of a framing tool than actual viewfinder or wireless remote for starting and stopping recordings. The real benefit is the ability to upload and share videos without lugging around a computer on your outdoor excursions. Ion also includes 8GB of lifetime cloud storage for your videos and still images.
The Ion Air Pro WiFi strikes a nice balance between performance, features, and price, positioning itself somewhere between the GoPro and Contour line of action cameras. It streamlines a lot of features found in other cameras, with a simple two-button interface with vibration feedback and a native waterproof construction that requires no extra accessories or setup. Video quality is slightly lower than the GoPro HD Hero2 in terms of sharpness and clarity, but still looks very good in outdoor settings with bright light. The Wi-Fi pod is a nice addition for uploading your videos on the go, matching the connectivity of the more-expensive Contour+.
CNET: Ion Air Pro review (more...)
The good: The Ion Air Pro is waterproof up to 30 meters and shock resistant. HD video is easy to capture with the record slider. Photos can be captured without stopping video capture. Wi-Fi Podz add-on allows syncing, remote viewing, and simple controls via an iOS app or Web browser.
The bad: The nonrotating lens makes orienting shots at odd angles tricky. No SD card is included in the box.
The bottom line: The standard Ion Air Pro is a rugged sports camcorder that is easy to use with many thoughtful features, but the addition of Wi-Fi and app connectivity makes it a truly standout camera.
The Ion Air Pro (which is the basis of all three of Ion's new sports camera packages) uses a bullet camera design with a metal tube chassis. The camera is waterproof (up to 30 meters) and features a waterproof microphone that allows it to keep recording even when submerged. Along the top side you'll find a power button that doubles as a still-photo shutter release and a recording slider. Slide the recording slider forward to start video capture and slide it back to stop. All inputs (power on/off, still snap, and video start/stop) are signaled with haptic feedback from the Ion Air Pro's internal vibration motor. Personally, I like the audible beep that Contour's and GoPro's cameras emit during these events, but the hum and buzz of the Ion was certainly less obtrusive and less annoying to those around me during testing.
The bottom edge is where you'll find Ion's Cam Lock system -- a plastic clip attached to the base of the camera that allows easy attachment to and removal from the plethora of mounting options included with the Ion Air Pro Plus and Ion Air Pro Wi-Fi kits. The Cam Lock clip can be removed with a flat-tipped screwdriver (or a coin) to reveal a standard threaded tripod connection for attachment to the included flexible mini-tripod or any user-supplied tripod or monopod. Ion also will sell separately other mounting options, such as a Panavise suction cup mount (the same mount, in fact, used by GoPro and Contour) for automotive applications.
The business end of the Ion Air Pro is where you'll find its lens, an ultra-wide-angle job with a 170-degree field of view that puts it on par with its main two competitors. The lens sits behind dome-shaped glass, like that of the GoPro HD Hero cameras, which Ion claims allows the Ion Air Pro to shed water better for a clearer shot than the ContourHD camera's flat glass. However, I'm convinced that the protruding glass dome will be easier to scratch than the Contour's (which is mostly protected by a raised metal bezel) if the camera, for example, falls off of a moving vehicle. A ring of six small screws around the Ion Air Pro's lens seems to indicate that it may be possible to replace the glass if it does get damaged.
At the back end, the Ion Air Pro has a locking cap that twists and releases to reveal the camera's connections. Here, you'll find a microSD card slot that accepts up to 32GB of storage (no card is included in the box, so be sure to factor that additional cost into the total price), a 3.5mm AV output, an HDMI mini connector (type C) for AV output, a Micro-USB connection for charging the 1,200 mAH battery (approx 2.5 hours of recording time) and syncing files, a pinhole reset button, and a switch for choosing among user-preset HD recording modes. That's nearly a port for port replication of the Contour+ with the addition of that analog AV output. GoPro's HD Hero2 features more ports and the more robust (in my opinion) full-size SD card slot and Mini-USB connection. However, the GoPro's connections are largely unreachable when the camera is locked into its clear housing.
Comparisons to Contour cameras
At first glance, the Ion Air Pro may appear to be a bit of a ContourHD-alike. And while that may not be the case, both cameras do look a lot alike. Put side-by-side with the ContourRoam, the newest of Contour's cameras, the Ion Air Pro is slightly longer, partially thanks to its convex lens glass. However, because the Ion camera lacks the protruding lower hump of the Contour cameras, the Air Pro ends up looking sleeker from most angles. At only 4.5 ounces, the Ion Air Pro is also the lighter of the two cameras by a hair.
Contour's rail-mounting system allows for more flexible mounting than the Ion Air Pro, which only features a single mounting point at its base. The Contour camera can be mounted on either of its sides or from its base, plus its lens can be rotated to any angle within a 270-degree range to match the camera's orientation. The Ion Air Pro features an auto-orientation sensor that detects if the camera is mounted upside down when the record switch is pushed and automatically rotates the recorded video right side up. However, the Ion Air Pro can only detect within 90-degree increments, whereas the Contour cameras can be twisted to any angle in between by using a physically rotating camera, rather than a software fix. Additionally, starting a recording with the camera rotated at a 90-degree angle results in a weird vertical HD "I recorded this video on my iPhone in portrait orientation" video format that doesn't fit any screen or video-sharing service that I've ever seen without massive black bars to either side. So while the Ion Air Pro will more or less orient itself automatically, getting properly oriented video from, for example, a goggle strap mount, requires a weird L-shaped bracket where the Contour could just mount flush.
Users have a choice between a few HD video modes with the Ion Air Pro including the standard Full HD 1080p, Tall HD 960p, and 720p HD at 30 and 60 fps. While recording, the Ion Air Pro is able to do a few things that the Contour and GoPro cameras can't. For starters, alongside every HD video recorded, the Ion Air Pro also records a second WVGA (480p) thumbnail video that can be used for quickly sharing to social networks and the like. Users can also tap the photo button at any time (even while recording a video) to snap a quick 5MP JPEG photo. Additionally, while the Ion Air Pro features time lapse and burst photo capture modes.
That's all standard action-camera-type stuff. However the Ion Air Pro has an extra trick up its sleeve when purchased as part of the Ion Air Pro Wi-Fi kit. That trick is called the Wi-Fi Podz. Ion camera's Podz system is essentially a series of replacement rear-end caps for the Ion Air Pro camera that add to or enhance the camera's functionalities.
The Wi-Fi Podz adds ad-hoc Wi-Fi connectivity to the Ion Air Pro camera allowing users to interface with the Ion Air Pro via an iOS app for iPhone. The app allows users to view the video files stored on the microSD card, download those files to the iOS device, and share the photos and videos to social networks, such as Facebook. There's also a remote feature that lets the user view a live stream of what the camera sees with the iOS device's screen. From there, users can also trigger and stop recordings and adjust many of the camera's settings from the app.
Don't have an iOS device? The Ion Air Pro Wi-Fi's Wi-Fi Podz will also connect to a PC, Mac, or any other Wi-Fi-enabled device with a browser. Simply make the ad-hoc Wi-Fi connection and go to "wifi.podz" in your browser to access the files stored on the SD card and view a live stream from the Ion Air Pro. This browser-based interface doesn't give users remote-control functions or access to settings beyond changing the camera's SSID and password. The browser interface is a good function for a quick check before formatting the camera's card or double checking that the camera is aimed correctly before recording.
With the standard battery, using the W-Fi Podz will reduce the Ion Air Pro's battery life to an estimated 1 hour. Fortunately, the Podz can be turned on and off with the touch of a button. Ion camera is planning to release other PODZ in the future that add additional functions to the Ion Air Pro camera, such as an extended battery pack.
The Ion Air Pro Wi-Fi is a worthy third addition to what was just a two-player battle between GoPro and Contour cameras. Combining the ruggedness and water resistance of GoPro with a bit of the user-friendliness of the Contours, the Ion Air Pro slots right in the middle of this brawl. However, the GoPro is still the most customizable and rugged camera in the group and the Contour still manages to be more flexible and user friendly. Additionally, most of Contour's cameras also feature GPS tagging and tracking (the exception being the entry-level ContourRoam).
However, the Ion Air Pro isn't without its own charms. The ability to quickly snap a photo without having to stop recording or switch modes is a great addition to the standard action-camera feature set. So is the camera's ability to simultaneously record a WVGA thumbnail video for quick sharing and previewing on the go.
Speaking of "on the go," the Wi-Fi Podz that comes as part of the Ion Air Pro Wi-Fi kit places the Ion camera's abilities on par with (and a bit beyond) that of the Contour+ or the Contour GPS with the Connect View card addition. However, by using Wi-Fi, Ion gains the advantages of range and bandwidth over the Contour's Bluetooth connection. Additionally, the built-in browser-based interface adds a level of universality to the camera's interface.
Finally, the Ion Air Pro kits have an advantage in the pricing department...sort of. Compared with the top-of-the-line Contour+, the Ion Air Pro Wi-Fi kit ($349) represents a savings of about $150. Granted, the Contour+ is probably a slightly superior camera where video quality is concerned, but it's not submersible and isn't more ruggedly constructed than Ion's camera. (The battered condition of our long-term loaner Contour+ should be an indicator of that. I'm not sure that I'd want to spend that much extra money on something that's likely to end up smashed.
If you don't care about Wi-Fi or apps, the Ion Air Pro Plus is probably the best point of entry. This kit includes the Ion Air Pro camera, the Cam-Lock mounting system, a selection of mounting accessories (including adhesive mounts, straps, and a bicycle handlebar mount) for $289. That's comparable to the GoPro HD Hero2 Outdoor kit for a $10 savings. The GoPro's on-device interface and extremely rugged construction makes it one of our favorites, but in many ways the Ion Air Pro is its match. Likewise, GoPro offers a BackPac system that is similar to Ion's Podz system. GoPro's established ecosystem of accessories gives it the edge for now.
Finally, at the entry level is the Ion Air Pro basic kit, which is a bare-bones kit that just includes the camera, a mini tripod, and an international charger for $229. That's $30 more than the $199 ContourRoam (itself a very basic waterproof camera that ships with very few mounting options), but the Ion is head and shoulders a much more fully featured camera.
Macworld: First Look: Ion's Air Pro Wi-Fi action camcorder moves into wireless social networking world (more...)
Hands-on preview of tiny camcorder reveals a tight integration with active sports and iOS
If you ever wanted to record your adventures paragliding in Cozumel, riding a thermal with your hang glider, or simply record your hike hands-free, there are camcorders for all that. A few years ago, the first affordable wearable sports camcorders hit the market, offered by GoPro and Contour. Now Ion Worldwide has entered the scene with its trio of sports camcorder packages: Air Pro, Air Pro Plus, and top-of-the-line Air Pro Wi-Fi. All three packages use the same camcorder body, but the Air Pro Wi-Fi comes with a modular capwhich Ion calls a Wi-Fi Podzthat fits onto the back of the camcorder. This Podz makes this Air Pro the first wearable sports camcorder on the market to sport Wi-Fi. It will ship on May 28 for $350.
Get ready to compromise
All action camcorders come with trade-offs. Some are the same across all makes and models, like lack of built-in viewfinders, though the Air Pro Wi-Fi and the Contour+ will let you turn your iPhone into a temporary viewfinder, and GoPro offers the optional LCD BacPac ($80) which gives you all the functionality of an LCD panel on a traditional camcorder, including viewing while recording. Using the iPhone as the viewfinder worked OK on this Air Pro. The image is low-resolution and lags the camcorder movement by a second or so, but it works fine for framing shots. However, neither the Air Pro nor the Contour+ let you use the viewfinder function while you are recording.
Another trade-off from traditional camcorders: limited on-camera settings. I prefer the HD Hero2 because you can make all the changes on the camcorder itself, using a pair of buttons and a tiny gray LCD screen. This is handy for when you are out on your adventure, far from your computer and smart device. With the Air Pros, you have to make virtually all changes through the Ion software on your computer. The only on-camera setting you can change is to switch between Full HD (1080p/ 960p) and HD (720p).
Terrific mounting hardware
Nothing beats the Air Pro Wi-Fi when it comes to its passel of mounting hardware that comes standard with the package. In addition to the straps and adhesive backed mounts to affix to surfboards, bicycles, helmets, and other surfaces, Ion offers a bicycle handlebar attachment and a very handy mini-tripod with flexible metal legs for precise positioning. By contrast, Contours Contour+ comes only with a few adhesive-backed mounts. Especially cool is the ball-joint hinges that Ion uses on its mounts which let you swivel the camera around to set at exactly the angle you want. You get the camcorder in the position you want, then tighten a plastic ring nut to lock it into place. This fulsome mounting kit let me fine-tune the positioning of the Air Pro much more than I could do with the other two camcorders.
Low light issues
I mounted the Air Pro Wi-Fi on my bikes handlebar and took it for a couple of spins around my neighborhood. At the same time, I donned GoPros HD Hero2 ($300) using its chest strap, and, for good measure, mounted the Contour+ camcorder ($500) on my helmet. (Yes, I was quite a sight!) I first rode during bright mid-afternoon light, and then at dusk, for some low-light shooting. I set all camcorders to shoot at Full HD (1920-by1080 pixel) resolution at 30 frames per second.
In bright light, the Air Pros image quality appeared slightly to moderately worse that of the other two camcorders, with images looking a little less sharp and colors a tad oversaturated. However, the differences were more pronounced in low light. The Air Pro fared marginally worse than the Contour+ but dramatically worse than the HD Hero2. Also, the Air Pros internal mic picked up a lot of my bike noise, such as the grinding whir of the chain and sprocket when I pedaled, and it picked up a lot of wind noise, too. Too bad you cant plug in an external mic like you can with the HD Hero2 and the Contour+. Ion said it plans to offer a Bluetooth Podz down the line to let you use a wireless mic, and I suspect that might mitigate some of these issues.
Getting the right angle
One of the challenges of action shooting is youre often turning the camcorder at crazy angles. The Air Pro Wi-Fi can autorotate to give you a properly oriented image, but with two limitations. For one it wont rotate images on the flyyou have to put the camcorder in position before starting to record. For example, say you have the camcorder mounted on the top of your surfboard, and youre recording while riding a wave. When you get to the beach and you flip over the surfboard to carry it on your head, the image will stay inverted unless you first stop recording and then restart recording only after youve flipped over the board. Also, autorotate works only at quarter-turn increments. When I rotated the camcorder in between quarter- turns, for example, 45 degrees off center, I got video at odd angles. I prefer Contours rotating bezel which lets me adjust to any angle I want even during recording. Still Air Pros setup this is better than the HD Hero2, which only lets you flip the image 180 degrees, and makes you drill deep down into a menu to do it.
Good file management
The Air Pro and Contour camcorders use tiny easy-to-lose MicroSD cards whereas the HD Hero2 uses the more durable standard-size SD cards. This can make a difference when you need to swap cards when youre in a challenging environment, like hiking during a rainy day. Drop your typical gray-black MicroSD card in the mud, and good luck finding it. On the other hand, this is where Wi-Fi can come in very handy. You can directly connect to your iOS device to offload videos and pictures from this Air Pro. It took me just a minute or two to grab Ions free app off iTunes, and start shuttling videos and pictures in to my iPhone, deleting them on the camcorder to free up memory for me to take more shots. This helps a lot, because in my rundown tests, this camcorder can record 2.75 hours of HD video (in the MP4 format) on a charge, requiring two 8GB MicroSD cards. Unless you can spring for a 16GB or larger MicroSD card, you may be spending considerable time offloading images.
Eye on Ion
Ions first forays into the action camcorder market are promising. I still prefer the HD Hero2 for its superior video quality and because I can change all settings directly on the camcorder. However, the Air Pro Wi-Fi offers a lot of extras, including the ability to wirelessly view and offload images and videos via Wi-Fi, great mounting hardware, fast battery charging using the wall-power USB charger, four wall-plug adapters to let you recharge in most countries, and 8GB of free storage in the cloud. The Air Pros appeal may grow depending on the Podz options Ion offers to extend Air Pro functionality in the future. The company is considering a Bluetooth Podz for an external mic and a Podz to extend battery life and for charging the Air Pro's battery in the car.
The Verge: Ion Air Pro HD sports camera with Wi-Fi now on sale for $349.99 (more...)
The sports cameras Ion announced at CES have launched, adding another name to the list of options available for action photographers. The Ion Air Pro line of camcorders starts at $229.99 and offers 1080p HD video capture in a small, easily mountable format. More exciting, though, is the flagship Air Pro Wi-Fi, which includes a small wireless radio that fits onto the back of the camera and lets you control the camera or transfer content with an iOS (and soon Android) app in real time. Ion says it's planning more modular additions in the future, like a higher-quality microphone or an extra battery.
The camera comes in three varieties: the vanilla Air Pro, the $289.99 Air Pro Plus (which includes a mounting system for helmets or bikes), and the $349.99 Air Pro Wi-Fi. All three are waterproof up to 30 feet, have a 170 degree wide angle lens, and come with 8GB of free cloud storage through MiMedia.com. The battery is supposed to last around 2.5 hours. The cameras don't offer anything quite as futuristic as MOD Live compatibility, but you can check them out now either on Ion's site or on Amazon.
Engadget: Ion launches Air Pro WiFi, helps you document your morning commute (video) (more...)
Ion's officially releasing its Air Pro camera that we put through its paces back in March. The sports shooter is designed to be strapped to a helmet or extreme-sports gear to document your extreme adventures in high definition. It'll also come with 8GB of free storage from MiMedia to share your death-risking achievements over the internet. Budget models are available starting at $230, but for the full package (with the WiFi module) it'll set you back $350 from today. Oh, and if you'd like to see what you're expected to do with the gear, you can head past the jump for test footage.
Twice: Ion Unveils Air Pro Action Camera Line (more...)
New York - Value electronics supplier Ion America revealed Tuesday that is diving into one of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. camcorder business -- the action camera market -- with both feet.
Ion is launching the Ion Air Pro action camera with three model configurations (differentiated primarily by mounting systems) set to compete against the popular Go Pro line. The cameras are said to be easier to use, don't require waterproof cases, can be submerged to 30 feet, and have an option to add on functionality, such as Wi-Fi linking through interchangeable modules called Podz.
Like the Go Pro line, the cameras can be mounted on cars, helmets, surfboards or almost anything that takes the shooter into the heart of the action.
The company's global parent Ion Worldwide is directed by CEO and founder Giovanni Tomaselli, who has been developing and marketing lines of affordable CE devices for nearly 20 years under various licensing arrangements with Disney, Mattel and Polaroid.
He was also made a Harvard Business School case study after he took his own Che-ez digital camera brand to a top-five market share position in Japan, on the strength of a value price point and flashy color scheme that appealed to young Japanese females obsessed with children's icons like Big Bird and Hello Kitty.
Prior to relaunching Ion Worldwide, Tomaselli had sold the company to manufacturer Flextronics, staying on to run the ODM imaging division, which produced digital camera products for such major brands as Casio, Nikon, Polaroid and Kodak.
"In 2006, I took the Flextronics' imaging business from $120 million to $680 million in the first year," he said.
In 2007, he assumed the responsibilities for Flextronics' CE division and did $1.6 billion in production, working with brands including Sony (TVs), Microsoft (Zune), XM Radio, all of SanDisk's Cruzer products and CompactFlash cards, and others. In three years the company went from $15 billion to $34 billion, Tomaselli said.
But at the end of the day, Flextronics didn't have the appetite for the CE business that they thought they did, he said, and Tomaselli bought back his old company and the Ion brand for digital imaging products.
Now Tomaselli has turned his sights on the growing outdoor action camera market, where such brands as Go-Pro, Contour, Delkin, Liquid Image and Midland have staked a claim to the new outdoor video camera opportunity.
Tomaselli said the target is action-seeking young trendsetters eager to take their cameras literally anywhere, from the top of a ski slope to 30 feet underwater.
"I gave a brief to my team and said, âI want a camera that has the smallest possible footprint and is best in class,' " Tomaselli said. "The consumer in this class is uncompromising. They are willing to pay, and they've proved it. The Go Pro camera was $299 at Christmas of 2009 and it is still $299."
He said the Ion Air Pro action cam is 20 percent lighter than Go Pro units and even lighter than Contour models. It features a vertical design that accepts unique back covers called Podz that snap in place on the back of the camera for a watertight seal to 30 feet.
Different Podz can be purchased for extended battery charge life or adding Wi-Fi linking capability to a smartphone or tablet device to present a live-view monitor or to see recorded images and video clips. The company is even planning one for an external Bluetooth mic system.
The camera's wide-angle lens records in 1080p HD video resolution (960p, 720p and WVGA options are available as well) with fields of view up to 170 degrees. Still pictures can also be captured in three models: one at a time; 10 in one burst; or one photo every 10, 20 or 30 seconds to created stop-motion video footage.
Ion America will offer the Ion Air Pro in five packages differentiated by mounting brackets or the addition of Wi-Fi capability.
The top-of-the-line Ion Air Pro Wi-Fi version ($350 suggested retail) includes a Wi-Fi Podz that enables users to shoot HD video and share it wirelessly to a mobile device via a free iPhone/iPad app. Users can share the content with friends and family through email or Facebook, or connect to a computer for additional options.
Apps are available today for any iOS device (Android devices will be supported later in the year, the company said). The camera ships with a CamLock mounting system that will secure the camera to bike handlebars and most summer and winter sports helmets.
The flexible locking system enables the camera to be rotated 360 degrees to capture subjects from almost any angle without the need to re-mount. The image automatically inverts if the camera is rotated upside down during action or mounting.
The app lets users create and manage content in albums, share video and photos to the Internet or Facebook, and store content in the Ion Cloud.
Every camera comes with 8GB of free storage at Ion Cloud, powered by MiMedia.com; additional capacity can be purchased as needed.
The camera also includes an easy-to-use top-mounted switch that lets the user know with a buzz that the camera is on and recording. A "REC" light will also illuminate to provide a visual signal that the camera is on.
Users of models without Wi-Fi can store images to a MicroSD card, up to 32GB in capacity.
The base Ion Air Pro carries a $230 suggested retail and includes a universal travel charger kit and a mini tripod.
The step-up configuration, called the Ion Air Pro Plus ($290 suggested retail), includes a bike- and helmet-mounting system in addition to the travel adapter.
The bike- and helmet-mounting system is also available in the aforementioned top-of-the-line Air Pro Wi-Fi kit.
Tomaselli said Ion will be taking the Ion Air Pro to market through sporting goods stores as well as CE and camera specialty retailers capable of selling the products' benefits. The company will used distributor Wynit to reach CE and camera dealers.
The company will promote the product through its website, through retail partners' stores and websites, and through social media. Plans are also in place for co-op advertising support, Tomaselli said.
Three extra add-on packages will also be available: a $50 surf mount (called the Board Kit), the $70 Helmet and Bike Kit, and a $100 Connect Kit that includes a Wi-Fi Podz and 1,800-milliamp battery booster.
ABC News: ION Air Pro Takes on the Action-Camera Competition (more...)
The mobile action cam market isnt new; just look at companies such as GoPro and Contour HD. But Giovanni Tomaselli thinks its just about time for a new player.
Founder and CEO of ION, Tomaselli is launching a new camera today: the ION Air Pro Camera. And with years of experience designing cameras for Kodak, Casio and Nikon, he is confident his latest creation will knock the other action cams off their feet.
All I wanted to do was design an action camera that had the smallest footprint, but was still the absolute best product, Tomaselli told ABC News.
The ION Air Pro HD weighs 4.5 ounces (the GoPro weighs 3.5 ounces) and is waterproof up to 30 feet and wind resistant. The camera, which looks like a shrunken flashlight, was designed with a curved front lens so that water would naturally drip off and not linger on the shot.
It was also designed to be simple to operate. Slide the toggle on the top of the camera and you turn it on and start recording. In a demo of the product, Tomaselli was quick to point out that it was specifically designed for one-click capture.
Like other action cameras, the ION Air Pro HD is compatible with helmet mounts, but the mount or CamLOCK, as ION calls it has been designed so you can just swivel the camera around to adjust its position. It will also flip the orientation of the image in the video, so you dont record upside down. The ION captures 1080p video but users are required to purchase a microSD memory card. It can accommodate up to 32-gigabyte card.
The real unique feature of the ION comes with what Tomaselli has called Podz. The bottom of the circular camera has a little opening where you can attach small circular modules or Podz. The first module that will be available for the ION is a WiFi Podz; attach it and the camera will be able to automatically upload footage to an iOS device (iPhone or iPad) or to a computer.
Tomaselli plans to release other versions of Podz in the coming months, including one that will function as a wireless remote for the camera and one that works a microphone.
The ION Air Pro starts at $229.99 and includes the camera, mini tripod, power adapter and the CamLOCK mount system for attaching the camera to a pole, helmet, handlebar, etc. The ION Air Pro WiFi will go for $349.99 and includes the WiFi Podz. They will be on sale starting today on www.iontheaction.com.
All Things D: Ion Jumps Into Action With New Line of HD Sports Video Cameras (more...)
If your idea of fun involves barreling down a mountain on a bike or hurling yourself into massive waves, you might want to take note of a new video camera that will help record all your adrenaline-filled adventures.
Today, Ion Worldwide released a new line of HD sports video cameras called the Ion Air Pro. Available now in three different flavors, the companys flagship model, the Ion Air Pro Wi-Fi is the first camcorder in its class to offer Wi-Fi connectivity.
With this feature, youll be able to wirelessly connect to the complementary Ion iPhone/iPad app (an Android app is also in the works) to instantly view, upload and share your videos with your family, friends and social networks.
In addition, with the purchase of any Ion Air Pro camera, you get eight gigabytes of free cloud-based storage from MiMedia.com, where you can keep and access your videos online.
Another feature that makes the Ion Air Pro different from its competitors GoPro and Contour is its unique pod system. The Wi-Fi radio is integrated into a circular disc that attaches to the back of the camera, adding very little weight to the entire set-up, so you can easily attach it to your helmet, bike, surfboard or other board of choice.
Back in January, GoPro announced an accessory called the Wi-Fi BacPac + Wi-Fi Remote Combo, which adds similar functionality to the companys Hero sports camera/camcorders, but requires attaching another piece to the camera. It has yet to hit the market.
Ion says it plans to introduce other Ion Podz (as theyre called) in the future, including a microphone pod for recording higher-quality audio, and an extended battery pod.
All the Ion Air Pro camera models feature a compact, tube-shaped design and are wind-resistant and waterproof up to 30 feet. To start recording video, there is a large slider switch, and for still images, theres a dedicated camera button; both controls vibrate so you know that you got the shot. The five-megapixel camera is capable of capturing photos in single, burst or time-lapse mode, and can record 1080p HD video.
The base model, the Ion Air Pro, costs $229.99 and comes with a mini tripod, a power adapter, USB and AV cables, and a carrying pouch. If you want a mounting system for your helmet and bike, you can upgrade to the Ion Air Pro Plus for $289.99; you can buy the helmet and bike kit separately for $69.99. Meanwhile, the Ion Air Pro Wi-Fi costs $349.99. All three models are available through Ions Web site and via Amazon.
GoPros latest HD Hero2 cameras cost $299.99, while Contours cameras start at $199.99 and run all the way up to $499.99.
VentureBeat: Watch out GoPro: The Ion Air Pro is a lighter, more versatile action cam (more...)
A new competitor has entered the action camera arena, and it just may dethrone the king of that market, GoPros Hero2 camera.
Ion Worldwide is today launching the Ion Air Pro, a camera for adrenaline junkies thats lighter than the Hero2, waterproof without the need for a clunky external case, and capable of synchronizing media over Wi-Fi. The Ion Air Pro can even output a livestream of video to other Ion Air users.
The camera is the brainchild of Giovanni Tomaselli, an industry veteran with decades of experience in the consumer camera market. After helping other companies launch cameras in the last few years, he told me that he was compelled to jump into the action camera business because he simply thought he could do it better.
The Ion Air Pro is also upgradeable with Podz, circular expansion modules that plug into the rear of the device and offer things like better battery life , an improved microphone, and more. With this expansion functionality, Ion can add even more upgrades to the camera down the line.
The camera comes in three bundles: the bare Ion Air Pro for $230, the Ion Air Pro Plus for $290 (which comes with CamLock bike and helmet attachments), and the Ion Air Pro Wi-Fi, which includes a Wi-Fi Podz. The Wi-Fi version of the camera can synchronize with Ion Airs iOS app Tomaselli showed it to me synching live with speeds around 3 megabits per second.
In addition to being lighter than the GoPro cameras, the Ion Air Pro is also more versatile: It can work up to 30 feet underwater without any additional case, sports a waterproof microphone, can be rotated into different orientations, and its even smart enough to flip the video if it ends up shooting upside down.
Im not an experienced user with action cameras, but its clear that Tomaselli is on to something with the Ion Air Pro. Ill be testing out one of the cameras this week, and will report back with more detailed impressions soon.
PandoDaily: Watch Out GoPro, A More Advanced Action Camera is Hitting the Market (more...)
I have been a GoPro fan since taking my first trip on the back of a Superbike popping wheelies at a 150 mph.
The GoPro caught all the action, including the moment where I almost fell off after my knee touched the ground on Turn 7 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. At that time GoPro was the only viable action camera on the market that you could mount on a helmet, on a bike, or on a kiteboard. Since then the competition has grown and action sports enthusiasts not only use GoPro cameras but also Contours action cameras, and now the ION Air Pro, which just hit the market today.
Giovanni Tomaselli is the brain child behind this new line of action cameras. He knows a little something about video. After securing the rights to computer-related products from the Disney franchise in 1995, he moved into digital cameras for Che-ez and Cool iCam brands in 2000.
Che-ez became one of the top digital video camera brands in the Japan market. Since then, hes designed digital video products for companies like Polaroid, Nikon, Casio, and Kodak. He was the first to convert a digital camera to a solid state camcorder even before Panasonic. Now he has his sights set on overtaking the market leader in action cameras, GoPro.
Action cameras are a big market. Last year more than 2 million units sold. Thats expected to grow to more than 8 million in 2014. So plenty of room for newcomers in this marketplace, especially ones that arent me-toos.
Whats noticeably different about the ION Air Pro, which is priced comparably to the competition at $229, is the ability to know when its actually recording. The trouble I always have with the GoPro is Im never certain its running. When I was snowkiting in Utah last year, I missed half the footage, because I couldt keep taking my gloves off in the freezing cold weather to take the camera off of my helmet to check whether it was on. You have to do the same with the Contour cameras.
ION Pro cameras vibrate when they turn on. If you get the wifi version, you also can pop your camera on your helment and see real time on your iPhone or iPad whether or not you have the camera pointed in the right direction. The video pops up right away.
When my photographer Anthony Nielsen has used the GoPros on our shoots for PandoDlaily, including this one with Branchout CEO Rick Marini, taking the ride of his life on the back of a Superbike two weeks ago, he has to mount the cameras, start recording, let it run for a few seconds, turn it off, take the SD card out, and pop it in the computer to ensure hes getting what he needs. If not, he has to readjust the mounts, and do the process all over again. What a nightmare.
I gave the ION Air Pro to Charles River Ventures Partner Bill Tai over the weekend to test
out at his annual kiteboarding trip to Maui, and he sent me this feedback:
* Wonderful unboxing experience. Beautiful and strong packaging that matches the product. Implies quality and durability. The metal can, plastic box is really beautiful as is the product color in blue.
* The video quality is EXCELLENT and industry leading for this form factor.
* Its waterproof without an extra case.
* The vibration when its turned on as confirmation is FANTASTIC as a way to confirm when its on and off.
No other product I know of has the variety of interfaces built into the back for display later. Industry leader for sure.
* I like the way it seals in the back it feels very solid / feels like it will seal better than alternative products.
* I do like the variety of mounts. Covers many if not all situations.
* Im concerned though that it might (because it sits up high off the connection point trade off is it gives great range of field of view) catch on something or if it hits somethings will break off. If there were one option as a way to mount it really flat/flush to a helmet so its not sticking out it would be good.
The future ION Air Pro is what Im looking forward to getting my hands on. A user will soon have the ability to control the camera remotely with an iPhone or iPad.
It wont take years to make either. Giovanni has a way to bring new products to market fast. Thats been the key to his success so far in the digital video market. He explains in the video below why entrepreneurs are making a big mistake when starting from scratch. He says systems integration is the way to go in order to compete in todays digital economy.
Business Insider: The New Adventure Camera That Will Give The GoPro A Run For Its Money
Since the revolutionary GoPro camera came on the scene in 2004, it has developed into a massive success.
Everyone from surfers to cyclists, to race-car drivers and all- around adventurers have taken to the device as the go-to camera for that hard-to-get shot.
Last year the company sold roughly 800,000 cameras at $300 each and did $250 million in revenue. Its closest competitor, Contour, brought in $15.1 million in revenue in 2011. Since it created the wearable-camera space, GoPro has essentially been running away with the market.
But one company is hoping to change that.
World Wide Licenses, the makers of the new ION Air Pro camera, have just launched their new mountable camera that they hope will make a big dent in the adventure camera space.
The ION Air Pro costs $229, and its deluxe package that includes the camera, a wifi port, and a variety mounts and accessories comes up to $349.
We just received one to do some testing of our own. But before we hit the outdoors, we thought we'd give you a look at what the ION Air Pro looks like and what you can expect from this new, promising adventure camera.
Pocket-lint: GoPro HD Hero 2 vs. Ion Air Pro: Who is action cam king? (more...)
GoPro currently rules the roost when it comes to action cameras. The little silver boxes are being put to use by broadcasters and extreme sports enthusiasts in places where normal video cameras just wouldn't survive.
Capable of shooting high-quality, ultra wide-angle footage at 1080p, the HD Hero 2 is one of the best action cameras out there. Just read our review. As of now, little of the competition has anything on it. Apart from that is, the Ion Air Pro, which shoots the same 1080p video but adds a few extras on top. So who is best? We have put the pair through their paces to find out.
Who is tougher?
This might seem like a slightly silly question, as both you would hope are capable of withstanding all sorts of jolts and bumps. The GoPro famously was lost at sea, turning up months later on a beach, still fully functioning. Unfortunately we didn't have access to a white sandy beach at the time we wrote this, so instead decided to drop the pair of cameras off the back of our bicycle.
The good news is that neither broke. In fact neither showed even the slightest sign of damage. This is because both the GoPro and the Ion are designed to be splashed, submerged and bashed about in all sorts of ways. Interestingly, the Ion can manage only 30 metres underwater, the GoPro can do 60 metres.
This difference in waterproofing is directly connected with both cameras' build. The Ion, unlike the HD Hero 2, doesn't have any sort of housing around it. It is a much more compact piece of kit and feels slightly sturdier in the hand. The GoPro relies on a plastic case, which can either fully waterproof the camera or, if you use the skeleton case, give more access to the built in microphone. Personally we never use the skeleton case as the mic sounds terrible both ways. Incidentally the Ion's is a snip better, but we will talk about that later.
We really like the way the Ion is one complete solid unit. The Podz idea is also great. A sort of pop-off back, which allows you to add various accessories to the device, hides all the connections for the camera. The GoPro requires you to take it out of the case if you want to link the thing up. It is also a bit more conspicuous and heavy, at 172g to the Ion's 123g. This is important for those who want to add the least weight possible to whatever it is they are doing.
In reality, both cameras are absurdly tough and will withstand whatever you throw at them. We have used the GoPro in some fairly testing situations and not once has it failed us. Many might prefer the more lightweight and compact approach of the Ion, but the difference is so negligible, it's hard to notice.
What grabs the Ion the real brownie points in the build department is the way the camera attaches to various mounts. The GoPro uses a sort of screw-on attachment which can take a minute or two to sort out. Whereas the Ion is a sturdy ball and socket joint, so you can switch mounts nearly instantly. This we definitely liked.
You know what they say: a decent action cam is only as good as its accessories. Thankfully both the HD Hero 2 and Ion come with plenty attachments, enough to ensure you can pretty much stick them wherever you like. We don't see the point of having much more than just the standard attachments, as the stickers included are so strong you can pretty much paste the cams to any surface.
Ion keeps it simple, coming in either the Air Pro, Pro Plus, the latter coming with a helmet and bike mount. Then there are accessories like the Wi-Fi Pod, which allows you to send a video feed straight from your camera to an iOS device, as well as transfer files.
GoPro is a bit more complex. There are things like the Surf Edition or Motorsports Edition, all of which include accessories geared towards whatever you will be using it for. You can also pick up bike mounts and even something called the Chesty, which is a bit like a chest-mounted steadycam. On its own, the GoPro comes just with a stick mount. Similar to the Podz idea, there are GoPro BacPacs, which do things like add an LCD screen and Wi-Fi controls.
A lot to choose from then, but unless you are throwing yourself out of a plane or sticking it to an F1 car, the standard mounts are usually enough. If so, the Ion grabs this one as it just comes with more in the box for a lower price, at £249, to the comparable HD Hero 2 Motorsports Edition at £280.
Who shoots better?
In the end, its video quality that really matters. Both the HD Hero 2 and the Ion can shoot 1080p video at 30fps, with a 170 degree field of view. This definitely looks impressive the first time you see it from both cameras.
It wouldn't be an action camera test without at least some sort of action, so we attached both cameras to our cycling helmet and nipped out for a ride.
Using the 3M sticky-back attachments for the HD Hero and Ion, we fixed both to our helmet. It left the thing fairly cluttered and us worrying if we had the angle right on both cameras. This was fairly fixable using the Wi-Fi Pod on the Air Pro, but the GoPro was purely guesswork. After a bit of practice you do tend to get an idea of what each are looking at without a finder though.
Cameras secured, microSD in the Ion and SD in the GoPro, we set them both to record. The Ion will vibrate when it starts recording, the GoPro beeps. We personally think something audible is better, but understand what Ion was trying to do there. Useful if you have the thing on your head as the vibrations , will carry through your helmet, even when it has run out of battery or video buffer.
The combined weight of the two cameras made our helmet a tad uncomfortable, but we imagine one on its own would cause no issues whatsoever.
Now for the main course: how the actual video looks. What is immediately apparent, is the GoPro's quality. It is a lot sharper and colours more balanced. The initial side-by-side sequence in the video below makes this particularly clear. If you look at the grass, for example, you can pick up a lot more with the GoPro than the Ion.
Sadly, it's all down hill from there on for the Air Pro. Once we start moving, despite our complaints with the built in GoPro mic, the amount of wind makes the entire audio track from the Ion virtually unusable. This is a shame as when still, it is much clearer.
The coin then flips once we start moving, as the Ion appears to be picking up more detail than the GoPro. It does however suffer from some quite nasty purple fringing, if you look at the trees in the video for example.
Exposure doesn't appear to be a major issue for either camera, but the GoPro does seem to have got things slightly more correct than the Ion. It also allows you to spot meter, which is great for situations of contrasty light and dark.
In the end, the actual video appears to be a matter of taste, at 1080p that is. What it is important to remember, is that the GoPro can also shoot 60fps at 720p and 120fps at WVGA resolution, as well as featuring an ultra wide 960p mode. This gives you a lot more shooting options than the Ion and should be a pretty major deciding factor.
So when it comes to accessories and build, the Ion has a pretty big lead over the GoPro. There is just more to play with and the Wi-Fi pod in particular is a very useful bit of kit. It is also a cheaper camera overall, so worth considering should you be after a value for money action cam.
The GoPro is still king when it comes to video but at 1080p, only just. It's the choice of modes and the ability to add in your own mic that has given the GoPro the win here. Still, it could definitely do with taking a leaf out of the Ion's book when it comes to design.
T3: The ION Air Pro HD action camera can be teamed with a smartphone app to live stream in real time. We got an exclusive preview... (more...)
Announced back at CES, and set to go head to head with the GoPro HD 2, the ION Air Pro records in full 1080p HD using its wide angle lens, and can also capture still images. Where it stands out from the crowd is with the associated iOS app (currently in beta) that enables you to watch a live stream of the action on your iOS device, or upload directly to Facebook or Youtube.
This is all made possible by the Wi-Fi Podz - a disc that fits neatly into the back of the camera.
ION Air Pro: Build
Sporting a much more streamlined look than the GoPro HD, the ION Air Pro is cylinder-shaped with striking black and semi-metallic blue finish. An octagonal finish around the base of the camera means that it won't roll away if you put it down.
Unlike its main rival, there's no need for a separate waterproof casing, as the unit itself is waterproof up to 10m. This means that there's no pesky outer casing to muffle the microphone when you're out shooting.
The unit feels extrememly lightweight, tipping the scales at 123g, while the build quality still feels reassuringly sturdy, yet compact.
ION Air Pro: Features
You can buy the ION Air Pro on its own (£199.99), or alternatively pick up the Air Pro Plus package which includes a couple of bike mounts and a small tripod, which all fit ION's Camlock system. More mounting options are set to launch in the near future for attaching the camera to various bits of sporting equipment. We haven't had a go with setting up all the mounts yet, but that's something that we'll cover in our full review.
ION is also offering 8GB of free cloud storage for your snaps and videos.
ION Air Pro: Controls
Controls are about as simple as they could possibly be - the power on and off button also doubles as the still image capture control while a sliding switch on the top starts the camera recording. It also makes a small vibrating alert so that it's clear when you're recording and there's no need to check a visual cue such as a light.
Operation really couldn't be easier and we found that it was easy to locate the correct controls and switch the camera to record without looking, a must for anyone who's taking part in any extreme sport.
ION Air Pro: App
The iPhone app is already available on iTunes, with the iPad version and the usual Android alternative coming very soon. At present, the app is in beta mode, so functions are limited, but eventually you'll be able to view photos and videos and create albums for them, as well as live streaming the action directly to your mobile device.
The app will also enable you to use your smartphone as a remote control for the camera.
ION Air Pro: Battery
The camera can be charged from your computer via USB or using the supplied charger, offering up to 2.5 hours of juice. Alternatively, a battery pod will be available that offers up to four hours of recording.
ION Air Pro: Picture quality
The camera takes both HD (at 30fps) and lower-res footage, so that you won't cripple the wi-fi when trying to live stream to your social networking site of choice. While we haven't had a chance to take the Air Pro out for a spin just yet, the demo videos that we were shown in an iPad certainly looked impressive.
ION Air Pro: Verdict
The ION Air Pro certainly looks set to give the GoPro HD a run for its money. Not only is it smaller and lighter, it also has a slicker, more attracive chassis, as well as the ability to live stream. Once its up and running, the app integration will likely be the key to its success and we look forward to trying it out in detail. Stay tuned for a full review.
Stuff.tv: The ION Air Pro HD headcam loves being sociable... (more...)
The ION Air Pro HD Sports Video Camera might be a mouthful to say but carrying and using it look to be very easy indeed. Thanks to a Wi-Fi Podz add-on you can connect the ION Air Pro to your smartphone and instantly upload footage to social networks like Facebook. Showing off has never been easier.
The ION Air Pro's wide-angle lens records 1080p video with a 170-degree viewing angle, which should be perfect for clear perspective shots of dodging boulders on your downhill bike ride. Another nice touch is that the Wi-Fi Podz lets you stream your freaky footage directly to your smartphone, so you can angle the camera just right, and watch your run immediately after.
Wireless linking works with iOS and Android devices. The Ion folk kindly throw in 8GB of online storage in their very own ION Cloud too.
You can get yours from early April for £200 including a mini tripod, or spend £250 for the ION Air Pro Plus, which includes a system for mounting the camera on your bike handlebars or helmet. The Wi-Fi Podz is an extra £80 yiou can also get the whole lot in the Ion Air Pro Wi-Fi package for £300, due out in May.
Bike Magic: New HD action camera offers shoot and share capability. Let's take a closer look... (more...)
Theres a new player in the action camera market the ION Air Pro is set to arrive in the UK in April and weve got our hands on one of the first samples to give you the lowdown on the latest high-definition helmet cam.
ION may be an unfamiliar name but its one which comes with nearly 20 years experience in the electronics business, developing and distributing cameras from their Hong Kong HQ this, however, is the companys first product to be launched directly under the ION brand. Lets take a closer look
Build, picture quality and controls
The ION Air Pro is a sleek, cylindrical shape with a striking yet somewhat understated blue and matt black finish. Pick it up and theres little too it; with a headline weight of 123g the ION is significantly lighter than its main rivals, but the build quality is excellent and it feels sturdy in your hand.
The camera records in full 1080p high-definition through a wide angle lens at 30 frames per second. You can also snap five megapixel photographs (one at a time or in a burst of ten) and by keeping that figure relatively low the companys managing director Giovanni Tomaselli, who talked us through the product, say the cameras ability to film in low light conditions is improved.
The IONs casing is waterproof down to 10m so need need for a separate case while the built-in microphone is also fully waterproof, plus the octagonal base means it wont roll away if you put it down.
The camera uses an intuitive control system, with only two buttons. The first is a sliding button push it forwards and the camera turns on and starts recording, pull it back and it stops recording. Press the button at the front of the camera (while it is recording) and itll take a picture, while this also doubles as the on/off button.
As for battery life; the ION Air Pro, charged via USB or using the mains socket provided, offers two hours of power as standard, while this can be increased to four hours by using one of IONs detachable Wi-Fi Podz (available separately, more on that later).
Shoot and share
What sets the ION Air Pro apart from its rivals is its shoot and share capability. This runs in conjunction with IONs iPhone app (available now on the iTunes store in beta version, with an iPad and Android version to follow) and allows the user to directly upload their footage and photographs to Facebook and Twitter, or you can stream it via the app. It also means you can attach the camera to your helmet then, using your smartphone, make sure youre filming what you want to film before setting off down the trail. ION also give you 8GB of cloud storage through mimedia.com so you can access your content from anywhere with an Internet connection.
To take advantage of the cameras wi-fi capability you need one of IONs Wi-Fi Podz. This slots into the back of the camera and increases battery life to four hours without adding any mass to the unit. You can buy one of the Wi-Fi Podz separately for £79.99, or it comes as standard with the most expensive bundle. The Wi-Fi Podz wont ship until May so well have to wait until then to find out how easy it is to use sounds like it could be fun, though.
Price and availability
So how much does this all cost? Well, the ION Air Pro is a competitively priced package, with three bundles set to go on sale through Amazon in a couple of weeks.
The standard package comes with just the camera and charger for £199, while for £249 a range of mounts (including helmet and handlebar mounts, and a mini tripod) are included, while the £299 bundle also includes one of IONs Wi-Fi Podz.
So thats the ION Air Pro. It looks an impressive package but, now weve got the bare facts out of the way, well put it through its paces before reporting back with a full review.
T3: ION Air Pro Wireless Sports camera unveiled (more...)
T3 - The Gadget Website News Article
Announced to launch at CES the ION Air Pro is one of the first sports camera that lets you be the first down the slope and then first to upload it to Facebook
World Wide Licenses is to launch a new range of ION products which will include one of the world's first sports cameras that lets you wirelessly upload your footage on the go.
Consisting of two parts the ION the range is made up of the main camera which shoots full 1080p HD, can take 5MP stills and then on top of that is also 10m waterproof. Of course no snowboarding jump would be complete without the full picture, in this case 170 degrees of wide angled loveliness.
To help you get started you'll also get 8GB of free cloud storage to help you throw your content onto the web as soon as possible. All of this then being possible via the ION the Go WiFi 'BackPack' which gives the camera its wireless capability.
The backpacks wireless tech is also compatible with both iPhones and Android smartphones with a downloadable application letting you remote control the camera, of course, whether or not you'd be happy to take your iPhone 4S snowboarding is entirely down to you.
With just a handful of images available and no word on how big the backpack is the real clincher will be in just how mobile it is when it finally gets its official launch in Las Vegas for CES 2012.
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