With the formidable quality of video that can be captured by smartphones, there’s got to be something special offered by a camcorder to arouse interest. GoPro figured out that small size, ruggedness, a wide angle. It’s attracted a number of competitors, including Contour, Drift Innovation, Sony, C&A Marketing (using the Polaroid Cube brand) and, more recently, TomTom (yes, the GPS company) with a 4K camera called the Bandit.
Graava enters this crowded field with a small, polished gemstone-like camcorder that affixed to a range of bikes and apparel with the right mounts. Lacking an LCD as many of these products do, it has a grid of LEDs on its side that indicate the product’s status, and has an enclosed HDMI connector and microSD slot for expansion It can also be charged wirelessly using the Qi standard. What sets Graava apart is that it has the ability to analyze the video it captures and pick out the most interesting parts depending on how long the resulting video is. And when it’s not capturing extreme surfing, it can be used to capture the gentle sounds of a napping infant as a baby monitor.
While there are a number of smartphone apps such as Magisto and RealTimes that can create video highlights of footage, Graava chugs along on its own. In fact, two Graava camcorders can even combine their footage of an event from different angles to create a video with different points of view, although this will require a paid subscription service. Graava is on preorder for $249, a $50 discount from the expected retail price and is due to ship in February 2016.
Assuming the video quality is roughly on par with that of competitors, the value of Graava will be determined by how well it cranks out highlight videos. It’s a likely bet that it will do a good job of filtering out boring stretches. The bigger challenge is whether its host of sensors — including one to measure heartbeat — will pick the scenes that the video maker would want. It may miss on that front but the point is that it should at least produce something more interesting and concise than raw footage. Alas, the extensive processing time of hours to produce a clip of a few minutes diminishes the spontaneity of sharing. The ability to combine footage from two cameras is a great bonus, but more details need to be seen here.