PROS / It has the longest battery life of any action camera we reviewed.
CONS / It is large and bulky, which can make it a little cumbersome.
VERDICT / The Ghost-S is an excellent choice for those who need good image quality and even better battery life. Those who need the very best image quality or smaller dimensions, however, would be better off looking elsewhere.
The Drift Ghost-S may be heavier and larger than other action cameras, but it also has improved battery life and a built-in preview screen. It also excels when it comes to image quality and features, making it one of the best action cameras available. For its combination of battery life, image quality and features, the Ghost is our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award winner.
The Ghost-S has very good image quality and a solid number of options to help you get the shots you're looking for. It has as high max framerate of up to 240 frames per second. While this resolution is only available when shooting in standard definition, you can use it to play slow-motion footage smoothly at only 12 percent of its original speed.
It also can record at 120 fps in 720p, which is tied for the highest HD framerate among the cameras we reviewed. This recording speed of 120 fps is suitable for normal slow-motion needs, and because it's in HD, this is the setting most people will prefer for slow-motion use.
The Ghost-S has a max resolution of 1080p, commonly referred to as full HD. The 1080p setting produces sharp videos and is the top resolution for most of the cameras we reviewed. However, a few the closest competitors offer a higher 4K resolution, which is quite a bit better looking. While 1080p remains the standard shooting resolution for most action cameras, it is nice to have even better options.
This camera produces 12-megapixel stills that have good color balance and provide enough space in which to zoom. We took over 700 images during a time-lapse test and the resulting video was crisp and vivid.
The Ghost-S is larger and bulkier than most action cams, but its size allows it to house a powerful battery whose performance is easily the best of any camera we reviewed. The trade-off for its large size is that you'll be able to record 1080p video at 30 fps for 210 minutes.
It has the traditional bullet shape of a conventional camcorder, just smaller. This shape would protrude awkwardly from a chest or wrist mount, but it's ideal for a side-mounted helmet cam. Compared to other action cameras, it is heavy at 6 ounces.
Drift chooses not to include a case with the Ghost-S, instead giving it a rugged body and waterproofing the camera to 9 feet. This is the camera's greatest drawback. While this does mean it has excellent audio quality compared to its cased competitors, it results in a significantly more fragile camera. Drift does offer a protective case that is sold separately.
This camera has four buttons on the top you can use to program the camera. Coupled with a color display, this makes programming the Ghost-S relatively simple compared to other action cameras. The display also allows you to frame the shot you're taking, which is a huge advantage when you're not experienced with a wide-angle lens.
The Ghost-S has Wi-Fi, and it is controllable through the Drift app available for Apple and Android devices. The app allows you to program the camera even more easily than the on-board controls do. It also allows you to preview your shot on your smartphone's screen, which is brighter and often easier to see than the screen on the Ghost-S.
There's also a Wi-Fi remote that can easily attach to your wrist or a handlebar. The remote lets you stop and start recording without having to touch the camera controls. The Ghost-S also takes time-lapse photos, which you can stitch together to make a time-lapse video.
Help & Support
Drift does not have a phone support line, so if you have a question about the company's products, you'll need to send an email. There is an excellent support section on its website, complete with a FAQs section and a troubleshooter. The email support teams responded to our inquiries within one business day, and the representatives were courteous and knowledgeable.
The Ghost-S is one of the very best HD action cams on the market, especially if you're looking for a pure helmet cam. The traditional camcorder shape can be unwieldy, but with most mounts, the shape won't be an issue. Its combination of battery life and image quality makes the Drift Ghost-S an excellent presence on the action cam market.