Ion Air Pro WiFi is an outdoor camcorder featuring wireless connectivity. Not only can you document adventures in high-resolution; you can also share them online or back them up to cloud storage directly from the device. It doesn’t come cheap. At $350 it’s a little more expensive than the GoPro HD Hero 2 Outdoor Edition. Being the fresh release and given its higher price tag, one might misconstrue it as the better choice.
Ion Air Pro has a cylindrical form and about the size of a handy flashlight. HD Hero 2 takes on a rectangular form and resembles a compact digital camera. Between the two, Ion Air Pro WiFi is better suited for recording feats. Its cylindrical shape alone makes it easier to mount on sports gear and helps you get the right angles too. Both proved to be difficult with HD Hero 2. And while Ion Air Pro is waterproof, HD Hero 2 isn’t. You need to place it inside a waterproof housing for protection, adding bulk to the camera.
Despite winning us over with its design, Ion Air Pro doesn’t have much going around underneath its plastic and metal shell. For starters, it only has a 5MP photo resolution and single shot mode. HD Hero 2 has 5MP, 8MP and 11MP resolutions and there are a total of 4 capture modes: Single, 10 Photo Burst, Time Lapse, and Self Timer. If you manage to slip in a Class 10 SD card into the available slot, it can support time lapse photos every 0.5 seconds. Light sensitivity isn’t that good with Ion Air Pro and exposure control is limited to Auto mode.
|Ion Air Pro WiFi||GoPro HD Hero 2 Outdoor Edition|
|Dimensions||37 x 107 mm||42 x 60 x 30 mm|
|Lens||F/2.8 fixed focus, glass||F/2.8 fixed focus, glass|
|Image sensor||1/2.5” HD CMOS||1/2.3” CMOS|
|Light sensitivity||> 1.4 V/lux-sec||0.84 V/lux-sec|
|Exposure||Auto||Spot, Center Weighted|
|Photo resolution||5MP||5MP, 8MP, 11MP|
|Capture modes||Single shot||Single, 10 Photo Burst, Time Lapse, Self Timer|
|Video resolutions||1080p: 1920 x 1080 @30fps
960p: 1280 x 960 @30fps
720p: 1280 x 720 @30fps/60fps (slow motion)
|1080p: 1920 x 1080 @30fps
960p: 1280 x 960 @48fps + 30fps
720p: 1280 x 720 @60fps + 30fps
WVGA: 848 x 480 @120fps + 60fps
|Video format||H.264 codec saved in MPEG 4 (.mp4) format||H.264 codec saved in MPEG 4 (.mp4) format|
|Field of view (FOV)||1080p @30fps = 127 degrees
960p @30fps = 170 degrees
720p @30.60fps / WVGA @30fps = 150 degrees
|170° Wide FOV including 1080p
127° Medium FOV in 1080p
90° Narrow FOV
|Audio||Built-in, mono with automatic gain control (AGC)||Built-in, mono with auto gain control (AGC)
Stereo external microphone input (3.5mm)
|Storage||microSD card, up to 32GB||SDHC, up to 32GB|
|Connectivity||USB 2.0, TV out HDMI + Composite, WiFi||USB 2.0, mini-HDMI port|
|Battery||Rechargeable 1100mAh Li-Ion battery, 2.5 hour life||Rechargeable 1100mAh Li-Ion battery|
|PC Compatibility||Windows Vista or 7
Mac OS X 10.4.11 or higher
|Windows Vista or 7
Mac OS X 10.5 or higher
Ion Air Pro does have the advantage of being waterproof. Because it has an IPX8 standard, it can handle depths of up to 30 feet. A waterproof housing is included with HD Hero 2 however, allowing the camera to be taken to 60m deep water. But the biggest advantage of Ion Air Pro WiFi is wireless connectivity for sharing captured moments online to friends or family. It does this by connecting to your iPhone and iPad via the available iOS app though an Android application is also under works. Also offered with the device is free 8GB cloud storage at MiMedia for backing up documented adventures. Videos and photos can be accessed online at their website.
Sharing your adventures to the world within minutes after taking them is a remarkable experience that Ion Air Pro WiFi touches. Image quality isn’t as good with it but you are assured the same high-definition videos that HD Hero 2 can capture. If extreme adventure is more of a hobby than a profession, we recommend the WiFi capable camcorder more than its competitor. But if you take image quality more seriously and don’t mind skipping a few hours before you share your feats via PC, HD Hero 2 is the way to go.