Drift HD Ghost: Waterproof, Wearable Action Camera [Review]
by Mike Richard | March, 2013
The wearable video cam market has exploded in the last few years. Whether you’re rafting the Colorado River, kayaking off the shores of Hawaii, hiking Kili, or … anywhere doing anything remotely interesting, you can now record it to share with the world.
Drift Innovations has jumped feet first into the mix with the Drift HD Ghost. They offered to send us one for review and we took it to Hawaii for two weeks to put it through its paces.
Here’s what we found …
In short, Drift says the HD Ghost offers:
- 1080p HD Video
- 2” LCD Screen with Corning® Gorilla® Glass
- Drift DataLink™ WiFi & App
- Drift Active Status™ Two-Way Remote
- Drift Flashback™ Video Tag/Loop
- 170° /127° /90° Adjustable FOV
- Longest standard battery life on the market – 3 hours of recording time per charge
The Traveler’s Take
Straight out of the box, the HD Ghost feels solid and well-made. There’s a decent weight and heft to it that assure you it’s ready to take on whatever you throw at it. I tossed it around regularly without a case for two weeks in Hawaii and never once worried whether it might get damaged. What’s more: the LCD is coated with Gorilla® Glass which has proven damn near bulletproof.
The upside is that the buttons are made of a heavy duty rubber to ensure they’re watertight. The slight downside is that this requires you to push down quite hard to engage them. But given the ruggedized body, that’s to be expected.
The 2″ LCD menu is minimalist with few icons and distractions making it fairly self-explanatory. A touch screen would be a nice feature although I’m not sure that’s possible given the waterproof construction.
The included two-way remote is also a nice touch, allowing you to start/stop the camera without fiddling with the buttons on the camera body. The color coded lights also indicate whether the Ghost is on, as well as what mode it’s in. So you can mount it to get it situated on your head- or shoulder strap, forget about it, and just handle all your recording via the remote.
Comfort & Fit
Drift offers a number of accessories to mount the Ghost just about anywhere – on the handlebars of your bike, the dash of your car, etc. However, our sense is that most folks are going to want to actually wear the camera. Towards that end, you can attach it to a headstrap (in a pinch, we found that a GoPro headstrap also worked well!). Although you certainly feel the weight of the camera on your head, it’s never uncomfortable to the point of being a deal breaker.
Our personal preference however is via shoulder mount. This takes the weight off of your head, but still ensures that the camera captures everything you’re seeing.
Overall, I found the quality of the footage – both video and audio – to be excellent. Credit this to the included 7-element lens design that’s optimized to record in a wide variety of conditions.
Here’s a bit of raw footage from the summit of Oahu’s Diamond Head Crater:
The one gripe I have with the Ghost is that low-light performance is lacking. For most outdoor adventures that take place during the day under optimal lighting conditions, this likely won’t be an issue, but it’s something to be aware of.
Pricing & Availability
Available now in any color (as long as it’s black) for around $400 USD.
The Bottom Line
Overall I really like the HD Ghost. One of its biggest selling points is that it’s a great all-in-one solution. It’s already Wi-Fi enabled, is waterproof to 9 feet without a case, and features an adjustable-sensitivity mic (with 3.5mm jack for external mic). In short: you don’t have to buy the camera and then worry about spending tons of extra dough on other (what should be included) accessories. For all of these reasons, I highly recommend it.
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Disclosure: Vagabondish.com was provided one HD Ghost unit in advance of this review.
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About the Author
Vagabondish founding editor, Mike Richard, is a Rhode Island native, professional web designer and travel junkie with an unhealthy addiction to backpacking, hiking and seeing the world. He enjoys knit hats, small, declarative sentences and speaking in the third person. His professional credits include "Woman's World magazine contributor" and having once been interviewed by Tyra Banks (seriously).