Front Tour Image
Back Tour Image
Left Tour Image
Right Tour Image
Top Tour Image
Bottom Tour Image
Box Photo

The Contour+2 comes with the following items:

  • Contour+2 camcorder
  • Waterproof case
  • 4GB MicroSD card (not included in certain countries)
  • Lens cap
  • Instruction manual
  • Rechargeable battery pack
  • 2.5mm to 3.5mm mic cable
  • Mini HDMI cable
  • USB cable
  • Profile mount
  • Rotating flat surface mount
  • Mount tether Compared to the other adventure cams we've reviewed, the Contour+2 did extremely well in our testing. Its videos in bright light were well-exposed, looked sharp, and handled motion decently. In low light, the camcorder had a few issues, but its video showed little in the way of noise and colors continued to be strong and accurate. The Sony Action Cam captured smoother video and better motion, but in most other categories the Contour+2 was one of the best wearable camcorders we've reviewed—and leaps and bounds ahead of the original Contour+.

Very impressive. That's how we'd describe the Contour+2's results in our color test. Using the regular auto white balance on the camcorder, the Contour+2 managed a color accuracy of 3.14 and a saturation level of 111.3% in our bright light test. That accuracy number eclipses the Contour+ by a wide margin, although the saturation level isn't much different between the two cams. More on how we test color.

Color Error Map
The map above is a diagram of the color error. The length and direction of each line indicates how the camera processed each particular color while capturing video.

The Contour Contour+ produced a color error of 6.71 and a saturation level of 105.20% in our bright light color testing.

There are no color modes on the Contour+2, but if you go into the camcorder's menu (using free software for your smartphone or computer), you can adjust the contrast, exposure, and sharpness of your image.

Bright Light Auto


Low Light Auto

The Contour+2 handled our color test far better than the Contour+ and the GoPro HD Hero2. The Hero2 had good colors, and those colors looked particularly deep and vivid in our tests, but the Contour+2 showed a more accurate and balanced color result overall. The new Sony Action Cam also did a decent job in our color test, but the Sony tended to wildly over-saturate colors, particularly in bright, outdoor light.

All of the adventure cams we've reviewed have done a good job with low light color, so the Contour+2's decent performance here doesn't stand out too much. The camcorder's 4.06 color error is actually a bit worse than the original Contour+, but the saturation level that hits 100% almost to the decimal point is very impressive. The Sony Action Cam had good accuracy here, but its colors in low light were ridiculously over saturated (they look almost neon in comparison to the Contour+2). More on how we test low light color.

Color Error Map
The map above is a diagram of the color error. The length and direction of each line indicates how the camera processed each particular color while capturing video.

The Contour Contour+ produced a color error of and a saturation level of in our bright light color testing.


In bright light, noise levels were low for the Contour+2, another example of an area where the camcorder improved over its predecessor. In fact, the Contour+2 had the lowest levels of noise in bright light of the four action cams we've tested so far. The camcorder did show a bit of artifacting in bright light, so the Contour+2's image isn't perfect. But even as we brought the light levels down, the camcorder maintained a fairly clean video image—which is something we can't say about the competition. More on how we test noise.


Contour did improve the low light sensitivity on the Contour+2 compared to the original Contour+, but the adventure cam still lagged behind the Sony and GoPro Hero2 in this category. The Contour+2 needed 14 lux of light to record an image bright enough for broadcast, while the Contour+ needed 20 lux to record an image with the same brightness. On the other end, the GoPro Hero2 needed just four lux of light to reach the same levels, and the Sony Action Cam wasn't far behind needing only six lux. More on how we test low light sensitivity.

So, the Contour does need more light than its competitors to record a viable image, but that doesn't tell the entire story. In very low light, the Contour+2 didn't show extensive artifacting or noise—issues that do come up on some of the other adventure cams we compared it to. The Contour+2's low light image is fairly clean for a cheap camcorder, and this is not the case with the GoPro Hero2 or the original Contour+.

In low light, the Contour+2 averaged just 0.76% noise, which is only 0.23% higher than the camcorder's average noise levels in our bright light test. This is a very good showing for the camcorder, and, as is the case on most of the Contour+2's test results, the numbers are far better than the original Contour+ (and the GoPro Hero2 for that matter). More on how we test low light noise.


All you have to do is look at the sample crop above to see what we're talking about. The Contour+2 shows a clean, albeit somewhat blurred image. The Contour+, on the other hand, produced an image that is overloaded with noise and compression artifacting. The GoPro HD Hero2 also struggles here, although its image is better than the original Contour+. The Sony HDR-AS15 Action Cam also did a fantastic job in this test,

All of the adventure cams we've reviewed have done a good job with low light color, so the Contour+2's decent performance here doesn't stand out too much. The camcorder's 4.06 color error is actually a bit worse than the original Contour+, but the saturation level that hits 100% almost to the decimal point is very impressive. The Sony Action Cam had good accuracy here, but its colors in low light were ridiculously over saturated (they look almost neon in comparison to the Contour+2). More on how we test low light color.



Motion is another area where the Contour+2 far outperformed the original Contour+. The Contour+2 showed us smoother motion, less trailing, and less artifacting than its predecessor. This made the Contour+2's motion test look as good, if not better than what the GoPro Hero2 captured. The Sony Action Cam captured video that looked smoother, but it also produced more artifacting in our test videos.

The Contour+2 offers only a 30p frame rate when shooting Full HD 1080p video, but the camcorder does have the ability to switch between NTSC and PAL settings (this opens up the ability to use a 25p frame rate shooting Full HD). The camcorder also has a couple of 720p video modes, one of which uses a 60p frame rate (the other is 30p). Then there's Contour's "slow motion modes" that are a bit of a misnomer. The low-quality 120fps mode on the camcorder does shoot at 120fps, but the camcorder doesn't do any internal processing to convert this high frame rate into slow motion video. You have to do that yourself, and you must do it using third-party editing software. The Sony Action Cam, on the other hand, has a fully-functional slow motion mode that produces slow-mo video as soon as you hit the record button. More on how we test motion.


New on the Contour+2 is a 120fps slow motion mode, but calling this feature “slow motion” (as Contour does on its website) is may be stretching the truth. The standard definition 120fps mode is simply the ideal mode for recording video that you want to slow down using post-production software later. Contour’s own free software, Contour Storyteller, does not allow you to slowdown this video, so you must have access to additional software (like iMovie, Final Cut, Adobe Premiere, etc.) in order to turn your 120fps video into true slow motion video. Of course, you can slow any video clip down using most editing programs, Contour is just letting you know the standard def options on the Contour+2 are best suited for this practice.

The camcorder also has an automatic photo mode that somewhat like a time-lapse recording option.

In our sharpness test the Contour+2 managed horizontal and vertical sharpness levels of 650 lw/ph (the same scores we saw on the Contour+). These results are good, but they are definitely lower than the sharpness levels we see on traditional mid-range or high-end camcorders. But since these adventure cams have such wide angle lenses, your videos end up looking fairly sharp even though the numbers aren't as high as regular camcorders can deliver. More on how we test video sharpness.

Bright Light Motion Test

Low Light Motion Test

Shadow Motion Test

Contour+2 Biking Sample Video


Adventure Cam Comparison

In many ways, the Contour+2 is very easy to use. Simply strap the camcorder to your helmet, bike, or board, and flip the recording slider forward to start capturing video. But if you want to do more, like adjust settings or frame your video, you need to go through the process of pairing the Contour+2 with your smartphone (Apple or Android). This process isn't too bad, and it works much better than on the original Contour+, but it is something that may be difficult for technophobes. But most people that own smartphones know a thing or two about tech, and most people interested in the Contour+2 are probably comfortable going through a Bluetooth pairing process. We should emphasize, however, how difficult using the Contour+2 without the aid of a smartphone can be. So, if you don't have a smartphone that you can use in conjunction with the Contour+2, you may want to seek out a different adventure cam.

The Contour+2 itself has no manual controls on its body, so if you're shooting right out of the box you'll be using entirely automated functions. Just slide the large tab on the camcorder forward and you're ready to go—the Contour+2 will start recording immediately. We consider this a "dedicated auto mode" because, well, it basically is. It's like having a camcorder that just has one button, and that button is an on/off switch.

Easy Mode Photo

The iAuto mode button is difficult to find, but when you do find it the option for turning on the mode looks like this.

First things first, the Contour+2 has no focus system, as its lens is entirely fixed. This means your images should always be in focus, although objects very close to the lens will appear blurred. You also won't get any kind of depth of field from the camcorder because the design of the lens is to give you full focus from the front to the back of the image.

Exposure is handled far better on the Contour+2 than it was on the original Contour+, and we'd argue the Contour+2 had the best auto exposure amongst all the adventure cams we've reviewed. Shooting in mixed daylight, portions of your video will almost always be blown out with the Contour+2, but those overexposed parts of the frame never overtook the whole image (shady areas still had great detail and shadows). The GoPro HD Hero2 also did well with auto exposure, but we thought the Sony Action Cam wasn't as nuanced with the way it handled exposure.

The biggest drawback of the Contour+2, bar none, is the fact that the camcorder lacks an on-board screen for accessing a menu system. You get a tiny screen on the GoPro Hero camcorders and Sony included one on its new Action Cam as well. The screens aren't fantastic—it's kinda like setting a digital watch that has two tiny buttons—but having one means you can change settings without the use of a smartphone or computer.

So, with the Contour+2 you really need an iPhone or Android smartphone to make full use of the menu systems. And if you have a smartphone and download Contour's free app, then the system works very well. Pairing the Contour+2 to your phone via Bluetooth is easy and adjusting the menu options within the app is even easier. The menu is simple to navigate and understand, and it even has a little info screen that assists with the Bluetooth pairing process. Access to this menu system is also available on a computer, but you need to physically connect the Contour+ to your computer and download free software first.

We thought the original Contour+ was a cool product when we reviewed it last year, but it had a lot of serious issues (even beyond its mediocre video performance). Mainly, we struggled to get the camcorder to pair with our smartphone over Bluetooth, and, as a result, using the Contour+ was a terribly frustrating experience.

Handling Photo 1

But with the Contour+2 everything has changed. The new Contour camcorder paired with our phone almost instantly, and once we saved the connection on our phone, we never had to go through the mildly-annoying setup process again. What we're saying is the system actually worked—almost as advertised. Sure, there were one or two times where our phone lost the camcorder's signal over Bluetooth, but for the most part the two devices stayed paired as long as they were within twenty feet of one another.

When a phone is paired with the camcorder you can do a number of cool things. The phone acts as a remote viewfinder that shows you what the Contour+2 sees, it's the best way to adjust settings by accessing the camcorder's menu system, and it gives you a live feed of the cam's vitals (battery life, memory card space, etc.). You can even start/stop recording using your phone in this manner, thanks to a newly-added button on Contour's app (this is something we yearned for when the Contour+ was first released).

Handling Photo 2

There are issues with the smartphone app, however. The quality of the image displayed on our phone's screen was lousy and it had a bit of a lag (maybe a 1/4 second), so it isn't great if you want to know exactly what your recorded video is going to look like. Also, the remote view system doesn't work when the camcorder is set to record at 120fps. But these are minor flaws in a system that, frankly worked far better than we expected it would.

Again, if you don't have a smartphone, then you're stuck using the Contour+2 blind. You can adjust camcorder settings by hooking up to a computer, and the Contour+2 does have a switch that lets you store two distinct recording setups (allowing you to switch between the two without breaking out your phone or computer). You could also bring along a portable LCD and hook that up to the Contour+2 via HDMI to use as a viewfinder, but using your phone means one less accessory you need to purchase.

Handling Photo 3

Beyond the smartphone pairing feature, the Contour+2 has a few design elements that set it apart from its competitors. Our favorite is something small, but tremendously helpful, and that's a full-fledged tripod mount on the base of the camcorder. This makes it possible to make your own mounts and grips for the Contour+2 that will screw right into the camcorder itself. Contrast this with the GoPro Hero2, which requires a special tripod base mount (about $15) that connects to the camcorder's provided waterproof case. The Sony Action Cam has a built-in tripod mount, but only on the base of its waterproof case, not the camcorder itself.

The Contour+2 also has Contour's signature rotating lens that lets you balance your shot without having to physical move the camcorder itself (just the front of the lens). Helping things further with getting your shot level is a laser sight that's built into the camcorder as well—a feature previously found on the ContourROAM camcorders from Contour.

Handling Photo 4

These dedicated buttons give you quick access
to aperture and shutter speed controls.

The Contour+2 lasted for 108 minutes of continuous recording using its fully-charged battery pack. This is nearly identical to the battery life on the original Contour+ (112 minutes), and it should be noted we performed this test using the camcorder's highest-quality record mode, but with GPS and Bluetooth connection turned off. Is this a fantastic battery life result? No. And the fact that the GoPro Hero2 did quite a bit better in our testing isn't something that will excite Contour enthusiasts. More on how we test battery life.

The Contour+2 comes with a thin, rectangular, lithium-ion battery pack that recharges via USB. You must insert the battery into the camcorder to charge it, but we did find that you could use the camcorder while it was connected to a USB power source (helpful if your battery is close to dying). The battery pack fits into the back of the camcorder and locks into place with a yellow tab. Since the compartment is sized just to fit the provided battery pack, this means you can't "upgrade" to a larger battery (like you can with many traditional camcorders).

Battery Photo
The Contour+2 has no built-in LCD or viewfinder. None. But Contour does have a solution in place that allows you to frame your shots and adjust settings in the camcorder's menu: your smartphone. If you have an Apple iPhone or an Android smartphone, you can download a free Contour app that allows you to control the Contour+2 with your phone and use the phone's screen as a remote display. This feature existed on the Contour+ we tested last year, but we had a ton of frustrations in getting the camcorder to pair properly with our iPhone 3G using Bluetooth. On the new Contour+2, however, things went far more smoothly (using an iPhone 4). Pairing was usually accomplished with ease, and the camcorder and our phone rarely lost contact—even when we separated the phone and camcorder by a distance of 25–30 feet. Contour also drastically improved its free app, adding the ability to remotely start/stop video recording using your phone, as well as being able to access all of the camcorder's menu options through your phone. You won't find any focus controls on the Contour+2, or on any adventure cam for that matter. The camcorder has a tiny, fixed lens, which means there is no focus mechanism inside the Contour+2. Obviously, this works great for the idea of action videography—you don't have to worry about what part of the frame will be in focus because _everything_ will be in focus.
Manual Focus Photo

The adjustment dial makes accurate focus adjustments easy.

On the camcorder itself, you won't find any exposure controls. But, pairing the Contour+2 to your smartphone and using Contour's free app opens up a few manual exposure options. You can change the metering mode on the Contour+ from one of three options (center, average, or spot), and if you want more advanced control you can actually fine tune adjustment for exposure and contrast manually.

The only problem is that you have to adjust the exposure manually in the menu system and you must do so without any sort of live view comparison. This means you adjust exposure, but you don't see the changes take place until you leave the menu system and return to using your smartphone as a remote viewfinder. Also, the image on your smartphone isn't a perfect rendition of what the Contour+2 is actually going to record, so there's a bit of trial-and-error in play here. If you don't have a smartphone, you can do this same exposure adjustment and metering mode change using Contour's free Storyteller software on your computer (with the Contour+2 connected via USB). Our final beef with the exposure adjustment option is that it's simply a sliding bar in the menu system. There are no scaled EV numbers or anything of the like.

Manual Exposure Photo

The manual exposure controls are only found on the Contour app, not on the camcorder itself.

In addition to manual exposure controls, the Contour Connect app has sliders for changing contrast and sharpness. Under a separate menu field you'll find a whole slew of white balance presets including Auto, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Daylight D50, Daylight D65, Cloudy, Shade, and Xenon (yes, Xenon!). The Contour+2 also has the ability to switch between NTSC and PAL video formats.

First things first, the Contour+2 has no focus system, as its lens is entirely fixed. This means your images should always be in focus, although objects very close to the lens will appear blurred. You also won't get any kind of depth of field from the camcorder because the design of the lens is to give you full focus from the front to the back of the image.

Exposure is handled far better on the Contour+2 than it was on the original Contour+, and we'd argue the Contour+2 had the best auto exposure amongst all the adventure cams we've reviewed. Shooting in mixed daylight, portions of your video will almost always be blown out with the Contour+2, but those overexposed parts of the frame never overtook the whole image (shady areas still had great detail and shadows). The GoPro HD Hero2 also did well with auto exposure, but we thought the Sony Action Cam wasn't as nuanced with the way it handled exposure.

The camcorder has a pretty lousy built-in microphone, but you can record better audio by using the 2.5mm external mic jack on the bottom of the camcorder. Contour even ships a 2.5mm to 3.5mm converter to allow you to use mics with 3.5mm connections as well. In the menu system (on the Contour app) you can adjust the audio level for both the built-in or external mic (provided one is connected).

As with most settings on the Contour+2, you need to pair the camcorder to your smartphone (or connect it to you computer) to adjust record settings and controls. If you do this, however, you'll notice the Contour+2 has actually more manual controls than most adventure cams. The camcorder is loaded with white balance presets, has manual exposure, contrast, and sharpness control, features a built-in GPS tracker, and even has audio level adjustment. While these features are cool, they aren't different than anything you'd find on a traditional camcorder, which is why we think the Contour+2's rotating lens and laser sight are more interesting features. These two features, working in conjunction, allow you to level the image captured by the Contour+2 without actually having to remount the camcorder. We should note the Contour+2's "slow motion" mode is a bit of a misnomer, as the setting only records video at a high-speed 120fps rate. The camcorder doesn't convert this footage back to a slower frame rate during playback, which means you have to slow the video footage down yourself using third-party editing software. Contour may claim the camcorder can do slow-mo, but that's essentially a marketing fib.

Just like the ContourROAM and original Contour+, the Contour+2 can record Full HD video using the H.264 compression system. The camcorder also has lower-res HD options, including a Tall HD 1280 x 960 setting and a couple of 720p modes. Three standard definition record modes are described by Contour as "slow motion modes", but this name is very misleading, as the clips themselves will still play at regular speed unless you convert them using a third-party editing program.

Switching the Contour+2 to PAL signal will change the frame rate options available on the camcorder. 30p settings become 25p, 60p frame rates turn into 50p, and the slow motion option changes from 120fps to 100fps. This makes the Contour+2 a versatile camcorder for the world traveler, as you can easily switch between PAL and NTSC to match the standard settings of your current region. Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of various high definition compression types.

You may notice the memory card slot on the Contour+2 is tiny. That's because it's sized for MicroSD memory cards, which are about 1/4 the size of a traditional SD card. MicroSD cards don't really function any differently than their larger siblings, but their small size makes them really easy to lose or break. They're also more difficult to get in and out of the card slot, which is something you may have difficulty with on the Contour+2. And, yes, MicroSD cards are usually more expensive than regular SD cards—and many memory card readers don't have slots for them. Can you tell we're a little miffed that Contour continues to use MicroSD instead of regular SD slots on its camcorders? Come on! GoPro uses SD card slots, and it doesn't impact the size of the camcorder all that much. Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of various media types.

Media Photo

New on the Contour+2 is a 120fps slow motion mode, but calling this feature "slow motion" (as Contour does on its website) is may be stretching the truth. The standard definition 120fps mode is simply the ideal mode for recording video that you want to slow down using post-production software later. Contour's own free software, Contour Storyteller, does not allow you to slowdown this video, so you must have access to additional software (like iMovie, Final Cut, Adobe Premiere, etc.) in order to turn your 120fps video into true slow motion video. Of course, you can slow any video clip down using most editing programs, Contour is just letting you know the standard def options on the Contour+2 are best suited for this practice.

The camcorder also has an automatic photo mode that somewhat like a time-lapse recording option.

The Contour+2, just like the Contour+ and ContourROAM before it, can take 5-megapixel still images. Snapping a photo with the camcorder isn't like using a normal camera, though. Instead of pressing a shutter button, you must set the camcorder to continuously take photos at specific intervals. The interval options include every 1, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 45, or 60 seconds. This is nearly twice as many photo interval options than what was offered on the original Contour+.

Lens Photo
Lens Photo 2

The Contour+2 has no built-in LCD or viewfinder. None. But Contour does have a solution in place that allows you to frame your shots and adjust settings in the camcorder's menu: your smartphone. If you have an Apple iPhone or an Android smartphone, you can download a free Contour app that allows you to control the Contour+2 with your phone and use the phone's screen as a remote display.

This feature existed on the Contour+ we tested last year, but we had a ton of frustrations in getting the camcorder to pair properly with our iPhone 3G using Bluetooth. On the new Contour+2, however, things went far more smoothly (using an iPhone 4). Pairing was usually accomplished with ease, and the camcorder and our phone rarely lost contact—even when we separated the phone and camcorder by a distance of 25–30 feet. Contour also drastically improved its free app, adding the ability to remotely start/stop video recording using your phone, as well as being able to access all of the camcorder's menu options through your phone.

In the LCD section above we talked about the Contour+2's wireless connectivity options, but the camcorder has a few physical ports as well. Sliding open the back panel on the camcorder reveals a collection of ports and features. There's a mini USB port, a mini HDMI port, and a trio of slots.

The smallest slot fits MicroSD memory cards, of which a 4GB card ships with the Contour+2. Next to this slot is the Connect View card slot, which gives the Contour+2 the power to pair with a smartphone via Bluetooth (a Connect View card also comes with the camcorder). Finally, there's a larger slot that fits the provided rechargeable battery pack. This slot has a locking mechanism to keep the battery in place when it's installed.

There's one more port on the Contour+2, but it's not on the back of the camcorder. It's a 2.5mm mic jack and it's on the bottom of the camcorder. Mic jacks sized at 2.5mm aren't the best (we'd much rather have the more traditional 3.5mm jack), but we're happy to see this port nevertheless. Also, Contour does ship a 2.5mm to 3.5mm conversion cable with the Contour+2, so at least there's a way to use your traditional wired mics right out of the box with the camcorder.

The Contour+2 comes with a thin, rectangular, lithium-ion battery pack that recharges via USB. You must insert the battery into the camcorder to charge it, but we did find that you could use the camcorder while it was connected to a USB power source (helpful if your battery is close to dying). The battery pack fits into the back of the camcorder and locks into place with a yellow tab. Since the compartment is sized just to fit the provided battery pack, this means you can't "upgrade" to a larger battery (like you can with many traditional camcorders). Find out how the performed in our battery life test./r:link_to_content

Battery Photo

You may notice the memory card slot on the Contour+2 is tiny. That's because it's sized for MicroSD memory cards, which are about 1/4 the size of a traditional SD card. MicroSD cards don't really function any differently than their larger siblings, but their small size makes them really easy to lose or break. They're also more difficult to get in and out of the card slot, which is something you may have difficulty with on the Contour+2. And, yes, MicroSD cards are usually more expensive than regular SD cards—and many memory card readers don't have slots for them. Can you tell we're a little miffed that Contour continues to use MicroSD instead of regular SD slots on its camcorders? Come on! GoPro uses SD card slots, and it doesn't impact the size of the camcorder all that much. Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of various media types.

Media Photo

In addition to the improvements in performance, the Contour+2 is also $100 cheaper than the original Contour+ and it comes with more stuff. Most notable is the waterproof case that allows the Contour+2 to travel nearly 200 feet below the water (60 meters to be exact). That's basically the same depth that the GoPro HD Hero2 and the Sony Action Cam can travel in their waterproof cases, so Contour isn't setting the bar any higher (or deeper?). But adding the case to part of the Contour+2 package makes the camcorder a much better (and more competitively-priced) deal than the original Contour+.

While the case is solid and durable, it's also bulky. Putting the Contour+2 inside the waterproof case increases the weight of the product by more than 100g (it weighs 157g on its own, but 284g in the case), and it makes for a much larger product—especially compared to the GoPro Hero2 and the Sony Action Cam, both of which have far more compact waterproof housings. But Contour is alone in that it makes camcorders that are mountable without the use of a waterproof case. Yes, the Contour+2 has built-in mounting ridges on the camcorder itself (as well as the case). So, if you're biking under sunny skies, you don't need no stinkin' case to weigh you down. Just strap the Contour+2 itself to the side of your helmet using a mount. The fact that the Contour+2 is more rugged and mildly water resistant also helps. Here's our point: with the Sony and GoPro adventure cams, you'll be using the waterproof cases wherever you go. With the Contour+2 you have an either/or option.

The Contour+2, just like the Contour+ and ContourROAM before it, can take 5-megapixel still images. Snapping a photo with the camcorder isn't like using a normal camera, though. Instead of pressing a shutter button, you must set the camcorder to continuously take photos at specific intervals. The interval options include every 1, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 45, or 60 seconds. This is nearly twice as many photo interval options than what was offered on the original Contour+.

Laser Sight

The laser sight is a cool addition to the Contour+2 that Contour took directly from its ContourROAM camcorders. The laser comes in the form of a red, horizontal light that shoots out from just above the camcorder's lens. This laser, in conjunction with the rotating lens, makes it very easy to level the camcorder's image (without having to actually physically move the camcorder).

Rotating Lens

The tip of the Contour+2's lens can rotate, which means you don't have to have the camcorder mounted perfectly straight in order to get a level image. This little feature may be Contour's biggest single advantage over the rest of the adventure cams on the market, and Contour users do seem to really enjoy having this versatile function (we get emails and comments about it a lot). Instead of moving or remounting the entire camcorder, a simple turn of the lens dial can turn a crooked image into an even one.

GPS

The built-in GPS on the Contour+2 does work, but it doesn't always work well. We bashed the original Contour+ last year because of the mediocre performance of its GPS function, and the new Contour+2 has shown some improvements. Still, even with the updates made by Contour, we still had a tough time getting the GPS to work in our office (something that our smartphones have no difficulty with). Outside, the signal was better, but it still wasn't great, especially when we were in the city surrounded by lots of buildings.

There's no need to even put up an argument here, the Contour+2 is vastly superior to its predecessor. The new Contour has improved video performance, better handling, and more features than the original Contour+, and, best of all, it comes with a lower price tag. So you get a better camcorder at a lower price, which is always a good thing.

Footage from the Contour+2 simply looks better than the original Contour+, and that's something we didn't anticipate. Often, with updated models, the new camcorders don't show such a dramatic improvement with performance—but the Contour+2 most certainly did. The new camcorder had better motion and better low light performance than its predecessor, and the results were instantly noticeable in our tests.

Even if you set aside the improvements to Contour's free mobile app, the Contour+2 handles much better and is much easier to work with than the original Contour+. The buttons have a better build, the mounts slide into place easier, and the waterproof case is now thrown in for free (instead of costing extra as an accessory). The bluetooth button is also better, and we had far less frustrations connecting the Contour+2 with our iPhone than we did with the original Contour+. Even little implementations, like the tripod mount on the base of the camcorder and the built-in laser sight make for a much stronger handling experience.

So, the answer here is clear: the Contour+2 is a grand improvement over its predecessor. It does everything better than the Contour+, and it costs 100 bucks less. Like we said, there's no need to argue about this. But the real question is if the new Contour has enough to take on the competition from other manufacturers, because that's where answers start to get a lot more complicated.


/r:render
GoPro is the king when it comes to adventure cams, at least judging by popularity. And when we tested the GoPro Hero2 earlier this year, we felt like the popularity was justified. The Hero2 outclassed the competition from Contour by incorporating a better control system (with an on-board LCD for changing settings), and by offering a far better value.

With the Contour+2 things have changed slightly. The new Contour is cheaper than its predecessor, and it comes with a waterproof case—two things that make it more competitive with the GoPro Hero2. The Contour+2 also has built-in WiFi, which is something you have to pay extra for on the GoPro Hero2.

But here's why most of this doesn't matter: the GoPro HD Hero3 was announced yesterday. Just when it looked like Contour was catching up to its rival, GoPro blew the lid off of the adventure cam market with a brand new, and fully-updated model. The Hero3 does have built-in WiFi, it features improved performance (according to GoPro), and it is available in three versions costing $199, $299, and $399. To top it all off, the $399 version of the Hero3, called the Black Edition, comes with a wireless remote control and the ability to record 4K video at 15fps.

Yes, we know it sounds insane on paper, but we can't go ahead and crown the GoPro Hero3 the champion of adventure cams until we get one in our labs to make sure. And even if all of the Hero3's enhancements are true, the Contour+2 does still have a few advantages: the built-in tripod mount, the rugged build of the camcorder itself, the laser sight, and the rotating lens, which is a favorite feature amongst Contour enthusiasts.


/r:render
The Sony Action Cam is the wildcard here. It's a new product in the adventure cam market, so it doesn't have the familiarity of Contour and GoPro... but it's also a Sony, and most people know about (and have probably used) Sony products. Still, the Action Cam is unlike anything Sony has made for consumers in the past, and the camcorder has a good combination of the features we like about both Contour and GoPro camcorders.

The Sony Action Cam is available in two versions, one with WiFi (HDR-AS15) and one without (HDR-AS10), but both models look identical on the surface. The Action Cam has a small screen for making menu adjustments, much like the GoPro, and it comes with a waterproof case. The WiFi model has the ability to link with your smartphone so you can use the phone as a remote control and remote viewfinder (much like the Contour+2).

Video performance with the Sony Action Cam was impressive at times. Motion looked particularly good, with smooth images and very little trailing, but the camcorder didn't show as clean of an image as we saw from the GoPro Hero2 or the Contour+2. In low light, the Sony was able to capture visible images without the aid of much light, but the camcorder captured tons of interference and distortion in these situations. Even in bright light we saw problems with the camcorder drastically over-saturating colors to the point that the sky looked neon blue at times.

That's the Sony Action Cam in a nutshell. It's impressive in some rights, but its performance is flawed in others. In addition, the camcorder doesn't really bring anything new to the table—it just takes the good ideas from Contour and GoPro and sticks them on a Sony product. The camcorder's $269 price tag (WiFi model) does represent a better value than the Contour+2, but our testing shows the Contour+2 is the better product (and has a lot more features than the Sony). It's a good effort from Sony, and we like that the Action Cam is being priced competitively, but we'd like to see more unique features and more innovation from Sony next time.


/r:render
If you're a Contour enthusiast who simply wants to know whether the Contour+2 is better than the original Contour+, then our answer for you is simple: Yes it is. By a huge margin. The Contour+2 performs better, is easier to use, and costs less than the Contour+, so there's really no question that this is a dramatically improved camcorder. But the Contour+2 isn't just a minor update, even though it may appear that way on paper.

Our testing confirmed the Contour+2 records better video than its predecessor, with the new camcorder showing significant improvement in low light recording. The Contour+2 also benefits from smart design upgrades, like the tripod mount on the base of the camcorder, improved buttons, and a reworked app that lets you pair the camcorder with a smartphone.

There's no question the Contour+2 is a much better value than the Contour+. The new camcorder costs 100 bucks less than its predecessor, and that's after Contour added the waterproof case to the package. Still, even with that price drop the Contour+2's $399 price tag still places it on the high end of the adventure-cam market. It's a good value compared to the Contour+, but that doesn't make it a good value compared to the GoPro or Sony Action Cam.

The Contour+2, like other Contours before it, has a few cool features to set it apart from the rest of the adventure-cam market. There's the rotatable lens, the laser sight level, and the durable body design that makes the camcorder mountable without having to put it in a waterproof case first. Instead of mimicking GoPro, which is what Sony has appeared to do with its Action Cam, Contour has carved itself a decent little niche by focusing on these unique and useful features that aren't found elsewhere in the market.

Meet the testers

Jeremy Stamas

Jeremy Stamas

Managing Editor, Video

@nematode9

Jeremy is the video expert of our imaging team and Reviewed.com's head of video production. Originally from Pennsylvania and upstate NY, he graduated from Bard college with a degree in film and electronic media. He has been living and working in New England since 2005.

See all of Jeremy Stamas's reviews

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