The â€ślifecastingâ€ť craze never really took off — and thank heavens for that! — but that hasnâ€™t kept the good folks at Looxcie from attempting to jump on the bandwagon.
The idea: Put a camera in a gadget thatâ€™s worn like a Bluetooth headset, and shoot video from the side of your face, recording everything you look at. The device has onboard storage for up to five hours of video, and it will literally record everything you see, recording over the old footage after your first five hours are up.
The cool thing with Looxcie is that it uses your smartphone as a monitor for the video. For now, thereâ€™s only Android support, but iPhone, Nokia, and Blackberry support is promised. The video content is stored on the Looxcie, but your phone works like a wireless TV connected via Bluetooth. In practice, this works well. Once the devices are paired, you get a live view of what the camera is seeing as you wander about. You can also play back any of those five hours (and yes, audio is recorded, too), and make clips from the recorded video using a built-in video editor.
Using the device without your phone is a little trickier: There are four buttons on the Looxcie itself, and none are exactly intuitive. Various toggles on the headset are used for power, volume, turning video recording on/off, and activating a â€śquick clipâ€ť button, which automatically saves the last 30 seconds of video as a standalone clip — perfect for when you happen to catch a natural disaster or epic fail, but didnâ€™t have your camera at the ready. Assuming the Looxcie is on and recording at the time (a periodic audio chime lets you know youâ€™re live), youâ€™ll never miss the shot.
Video quality is only so-so: Resolution is 480×320 at 15 frames per second, and footage is pretty fuzzy in practice. You can see how it performs in a low-light, indoor environment here:
We initially had problems getting clips off of the Looxcie and to our friends. The gadget has a built-in system that lets you email video to contacts or post to social networks directly from the app, but it took a day of tinkering to get this to work (and when it does work, itâ€™s not exactly zippy). Fortunately, if things go south you can always use a USB cable to get vids off the device.
Fitment is also tricky: The Looxcie is quite a bit larger than your average audio headset, and it takes some finagling to get it to fit well over your ear. The large loop back — imagine an over-ear hearing aid — is also quite a challenge for those of us with glasses.
Bottom line: The Looxcie is a neat helmet-cam replacement, and so much better than wearing a baseball cap with a mini-cam taped to it. Weâ€™d just like to have more seamless operation, and better video quality.
Looxcie Wearable Camcorder
Better than many existing helmet-cam products; innovative technology.
Less-than-intuitive interface; poor video quality.