Action cameras are small, simplified, rugged camcorders that can record your adventures. In order to capture an event in all of its glory, the best action cameras typically provide wide-angle, high-definition video. But these cameras also tend to have incredibly high framerates, large resolutions and other professional features that the average user may not want to pay for. At just $100, the Polaroid Cube gives you the benefits of a compact, wide-angle HD camcorder, but with fewer of the advanced features that make others so expensive. With such a simple design, the Cube is really as usable for kids as it is for adults, so it is a great Christmas gift idea for anyone.
The first thing you'll notice about the Cube is its shape – it's literally a cube. As you look a little more closely, you'll notice four main features: a lens, a single button, a sealed door and a magnet. Though we found little use for the magnet, the other features are what you need to capture your point of view on the fly.
The lens provides 124 degrees of coverage for video that’s wide but not overly distorted at the edges. Because of this wide filming angle, capturing the intended moment is easy. You'll simply point the lens in the direction of the action, double-press the record button and the cam will start recording.
Though we were initially leery of this single-button design, it proves quite useful while keeping things simple for the user. In order to turn the camera on or off, you just hold down the button. To capture a still image, you press the button once and the camera will beep and flash its small red LED to show it has taken a photo. To begin filming, just double-tap the button. The camera will emit two short beeps and the red LED will remain illuminated for the duration of filming.
The sealed door on the rear of the camera is secure, yet it's easy to open using a coin or something similar. Within this door is a microSD card slot, which supports capacities up to 32GB, a micro-USB port and a video quality selector switch. Despite being a simpler version of the modern action camera, the Cube provides some very high-quality video. It's bright and fairly detailed. Using a switch on the back of the device, you can shoot at either 720p or 1080p – both at 30 frames per second. Although this is great for most applications, it's important to note that 30 frames per second isn't enough for slow motion video.
Lastly, there's the magnet on the bottom of the camera. It’s strong enough to hold the camera in place reliably on any magnetic material, even on the outside of a car. Though this is a unique and cool feature, we found it to be decidedly less useful than expected. There just aren't that many useable magnetic surfaces in everyday life. The Cube does however have a good selection of mounts and accessories, some of which make use of the magnet for easy attachment. Some examples of these mounts include a stand, a waterproof housing and a bicycle mount.
The Polaroid Cube is the inexpensive action camera for those who don't need the highest resolutions, fastest frame rates or most advanced features. It has a fair price, a slick design and several accessories that expand its usefulness. With good image quality, easy use and a simple, durable design, the Polaroid Cube is an excellent choice for a Christmas gift this year.