PluggedIn: Ion Air Pro WiFi HD sports video camera Expert Review By Liz Griffiths
If you enjoy doing sporing activities, such as water-skiing, skate boarding, or even motorbike racing and want a video camera to record you in your glory, then you’ll need to find a camera that can deliver impressive sound and picture quality to show off to all your friends and family.
I own a GoPro Motorsport camera, which seems to be heavily used on television by celebrities, professional sporting athletes as well as day to day folk like myself.
The Ion Air Pro WiFi entry into this market is an interesting feat especially as the likes of Contour and GoPro are already a huge hit. As such, I was keen to see if it could deliver the same level of build quality and performance.
I will present this review purely on Ion Pro’s own merits with a short summary of comparisons to the GoPro Motorsport that I currently own at the end.
Look and feel
The Ion Air Pro WiFi video camera is the latest contender for adventure and sporting lovers alike. It sports a lightweight and waterproof housing with a bullet styled design and a robust metal tube chassis. The camera is waterproof up to 30 meters (without the need for special casing) and even records sound when fully submerged.
The Ion’s aerodynamic design weighs in at mere 4.5 ounces with the aluminium frame feeling substantial yet remaining surprisingly unobtrusive.
Controls include a power button that doubles as a shutter release button for still photos. There is also a recording slider on the top of the unit and to use it, you simply push the slider forward to start video capture and slide it back again to stop filming.
At the back of the unit, hidden behind the locking back cover (that you untwist to open) you’ll find a microSD card slot, a microUSB port, mini HDMI output, a 3.5mm AV output, a pinhole reset button and expansion for Ion’s PODZ accessories to save for upgrading at a later date.
On the bottom of the unit, you’ll find Ion’s Cam Lock system, a plastic clip attached to the base of the camera that enables you to mount one of several Ion Air Pro WiFi kits (also includes adhesive mounts, straps, and a bicycle handlebar mount in the box). The Cam Lock clip can be removed with the flat metal key (included) and this reveals a threaded tripod connection (A mini tripod is included in the package).
The Ion Air Pro is fitted with a wide angle lens that provides an impressive 170 degree field of view, which is especially good for water-sports or land-sports where you want to get a large amount of your environment and detail in the frame.
You’ll need a Micro SD card for the camera (not supplied) and I’d suggest 8GB or more to make the most of the good battery life (2.5 hours) and full HD 1080p settings.
However, ION does give you 8GB of cloud storage to get you started, which you can increase if you need to.
Unlike other camcorders that indicate the unit is in use by flashing a red light, the Ion Air Pro uses vibration alert to inform you it is in recording mode. To distinguish between video recording and still image capturing, the unit sends two quick vibrations for recording and one for taking stills. There is also a single LED on top that glows either green for standby or red for recording.
There is a switch which allows you to alternate between Full HD or standard HD modes and this can also be customised when you connect to a computer.
The still image shutter can be adjusted via your PC, for single, burst, or time lapse (at 5, 10, 30, and 60-second intervals) modes. Video are saved as MP4 files.
Performance and Quality
The Ion Air Pro WiFi delivers impressively clear full HD videos and ultra smooth fast moving capture as well as super slow motion thanks to the the ability to record at 60 frames per second. Lighting and colour are well reproduced without over saturating or over exposing the picture.
It can also capture still images at 5-megapixel resolution. Image quality is good and details appear nice and sharp, especially with outdoor lighting situations. Indoors, noise becomes slightly evident.
The WiFi connectivity enables you to view a live video stream of what the camera is capturing. It also allows you to view files stored on the microSD card, download them and share them social networks.
You can start and stop recordings and adjust many of the camera’s settings from the app too.
Also when you want to take footage in really difficult, tight angles, the Ion registers when it’s upside down and will record the right way up automatically.
The WiFi PODZ function is able to connect to a PC, Mac, or any other WiFi-enabled device with a browser. Simply make a WiFi connection and go to “wifi.podz” in your browser to access the files stored on the SD card and view a live stream from the Ion Air Pro.
Ion Pro is compatible with Windows Vista and 7; Mac OS X 10.4.11 and later.
Just be aware that when you use the WiFi PODZ, it reduces the battery life quite considerably. However, you can switch this option on and off when not required to save battery life.
Comparison to GoPro
At 4.5 ounces, the Ion Pro’s bullet shape design is lighter than the GoPro’s bulkier boxy shaped 5.9 ounces and is waterproof without the need for a chunky external case.
The Ion Pro is also capable of synchronising media over WiFi and can livestream the videos.
The video below shows the Ion Air Pro and the GoPro Motorsport tested side by side on a mountain bike, firstly through a wooded track inside a field then into a playground. This allowed to test different lighting conditions and terrains to compare picture and sound quality, along with it’s overall stability performance.
When you compare the cost and features of the Ion Pro to the GoPro, there’s not much between them although you do get a lot for your money with Ion Pro with the mount system and free online storage to name but a few.
When it comes to comparing quality to the GoPro, it produced some pretty interesting results. The Ion seemed to record footage with much richer colour balance where as the GoPro seemed to look rather washed out and over exposed in certain lighting conditions. As such, I found the clarity and saturation more pleasing with the Ion Pro but I believe this is down to personal preference.
If you’re looking for a streamlined, easy to use camera, packed with some great features and accessories, then the Ion Pro is a great choice.
Comparing what’s in the box:
Included in the box GoPro
•Waterproof Housing (197′ / 60m)
•HD Skeleton Backdoor
•Rechargeable Li-ion Battery
•Suction Cup Mount
•Curved Surface Adhesive Mounts
•Flat Surface Adhesive Mounts
•Three-Way Pivot Arm
•Assorted Mounting Hardware
Included in the box IonPro Wifi Podz
•Ball joint – short
•Ball joint – L shape
•Mount strap – short
•Mount strap – medium
•Fitting piece (with sticker & foam)
•Double-face sticker – small size 3
•Foam sticker x 2
•Quick User Guide
The Ion Air Pro WiFi is a rugged waterproof action camcorder that offers style, solid build quality, impressive features and has the added benefit of live view video streaming via the WiFi PODZ App .
Overall performance is very good in outdoor lighting conditions and the WiFi PODZ is a bonus feature allowing you to upload and share your videos on the go.
The simple control system and streamlined features as well as the ability to quickly snap a photo without having to stop recording or switch modes, make this video camera a very strong contender.