Thanks to YouTube and other video sites it seems as though everyone is a sports action star, or at least a wanna be sports action star. With the availability and affordability of HD action cameras it's easier than ever to capture your "extreme" or not so extreme skills on video and share them with the world. And even though you may never be a real sports action star, you will always have fun videos to share with your friends.
The ION Air Pro Lite Wi-Fi Camera is a fairly lightweight camera that offers 1080p HD footage at 30 fps (frames per second) or 720p at 60 fps as well as being waterproof up to 30 feet or 10 meters without having to use a case. At 4.5 oz. it's pretty light but you may still notice it a little when worn on a regular (non full face) helmet. It also takes still pictures like the GoPro will but it does it at 5 megapixels where the GoPro 4 will do it at 12 megapixels. Another feature it shares with the GoPro is the ability to connect wirelessly to your smartphone assuming you get the Wi-Fi version. The ION Air Pro line comes with all kinds of accessories from helmet mounts to handlebar mounts to suction cup mounts so you should be able to attach it to just about anything.
We tested the ION Air Pro Lite camera out and there were things we liked and didn't like about this camera. We liked how it was fairly compact and shaped like the Contour Roam camera which does a great job for the price. We also liked how you don't need a case to use this camera unlike the GoPro line. One thing we never liked about the GoPro was the on and off button and how you need to press it just right to make sure you turn the camera on without changing modes. Then there is the separate button to start recording even though you can set it to record on power up. The ION functions like the Contour where you slide the switch to turn it on and it starts recording and then stops recording when you slide the switch to turn it off.
Some of the things we didn't like were the video and sound quality. It doesn't look as good as a newer model GoPro by any means but it's also less than half the price so if you are looking for a camera to have fun with and post on YouTube then it may do the trick for you. We tested it on a cloudy day and the video was not too bright at all but it should do better out in direct sunlight. When it comes to sound quality since there is no case the camera picks up all the wind noise when using it outside like on a helmet. If you plan on having music playing over your footage that will be ok but otherwise it's pretty obnoxious. Our camera didn't come with too many mounts but you can buy pretty much whatever type of mount you need for it. We tried the helmet mount attached to the side of a regular cross country helmet and the camera bounced around quite a bit. We don't really see a way to avoid this unless you make the helmet so tight that it's cutting off circulation.
Here is a video showing the ION Air Pro Lite in action on a cloudy day mounted on a regualr XC helmet. Notice how it shakes quite a bit because its nearly impossible to get the helmet on your head tight enough to make it not shake without crushing your skull. The lack of sunlight affects the image quality as well. It does work better on a sunny day though.
The bottom line is that the ION Air Pro Lite is a decent camera for the price which seems to vary depending on where you buy it. We have seen them go for as little as $50 up to $150 but you need to make sure you are getting a current version when buying one. If you just want to have some fun and don't care too much about making your video look as good as your new 4k TV then this might be a good choice for you. If you are looking to make some higher quality production videos then stick with something like the GoPro.