Last week, Jalopnik had a deals page featuring the Nabi Square HD action camera for $50 from Woot.com. Considering the camera is normally $170, I felt it was too good of a deal to pass up, as I've been pining for a GoPro-like action camera to use as a dashcam for a while, so I went ahead and placed my order.
It arrived a couple days ago and I've played around with it a bit. It has a pretty decent picture quality and a 170degree field of vision, which creates the coveted 'genuine fish-eye' effect, as can be seen here in this photo I took earlier of Herr Quattro:
Please note, I did no editing to that picture, save for cropping it a bit. The filter effect is actually from me shooting the picture through my sunglasses lens by holding it up to the camera, haha. Still photo quality is about on-par with a decent point-and-shoot camera or a high-end phone camera, but with the added field of vision that comes with this type of camera. There is some graininess, but less than one would really expect at this pricepoint.
The camera came with a bevy of cords, cables, mounts, and adapters, along with a 4GB SD card, which I promptly swapped for a 16GB (it can accept up to 32GB). It also came with a GoPro-style waterproof case. Now, the camera accessories use a normal threaded bolt hole for mounting, but it also came with an adapter that lets you use anything designed for GoPros as well.
As for video modes, it can do 1080 or 720p at 30fps, along with 720p at 60fps. For the quick test video, I just left it on the 1080p 60fps setting, as I wanted to test image resolution as well as audio. The audio seems very clear, except for when I would handle the camera and cover the microphone holes while speaking, as can be heard in the video. Putting it inside the waterproof case obviously muffles the sound quite a bit, so keep that in mind.
The camera itself is lightweight and feels quite sturdy, even though it looks like a kid's toy. This is probably because it's marketed as a 'Kid-Proof' camera, able to withstand the abuse of small children. Personally? I think it's marketed that way so GoPro doesn't see it as direct competition. The slots for inputs and the SD card are well-protected by cover plates- a little too well protected, I think. I don't have much for fingernails, so I quickly got frustrated with trying to pry the cover loose and have just left it slightly ajar instead.
Another nice feature is a detachable back plate that slots in behind the battery door. This backplate includes a small LCD screen for previewing videos and photos, as well as buttons for navigating the camera menues. The camera itself has buttons for recording videos and for still photo snapshots, as well as a power switch and a switch to turn on voice-activated recording- another nice feature, albiet one I'll probably never use, as the camera also came with a super-nifty little remote control with buttons for 'Record', 'Stop', and 'Snapshot'. Just clip it on your belt and you're good to go.
Another nifty feature is a pair of sealed, spring-loaded metal buttons built into the waterproof case that allow you to press the 'Record' and 'Snapshot' buttons without taking it out of the case- assuming you can't use the remote control. That, along with things like rubber molds to prevent the mounts from releasing accidentally and modular-fit screws and adapters, speaks of a good attention to detail during the design process.
As for the video, it's crap and I know it, haha. I was literally just heading out the door to go get the Audi aligned and was like "Hmm..it's a short drive. Why not use it to test out the Nabi for Oppo?" I'm pretty embarrassed about my cracked dashboard, but if anyone understands that sort of thing, it's you guys. More annoying, though, is that I apparently got a fingerprint smudge on the lens of the Nabi while handling it, so please excuse that. I also rambled because...well, that's what I do. And I freaked out at the sight of a Saturn SC2, because traumatic past experiences, lol. Anyhoo, the video:
Overall, I think it's a good camera and a good value, even when not on sale. At $50, considering it came with mounts, adapters, cables, storage, a waterproof case, and a remote control, I feel like I got it at a steal. The only thing I feel that it's really missing is a suction cup mount. Luckily, nearly any aftermarket mount will work with it, including a GoPro mount. Myself? I'm buying a dual-socket RAM mount for GoPro cameras and using it with the adapter.