at October, Rock kindly sent me an early sample of the new K5 for testing and reviewing.
Now, as the K5 has been oficially released, I would like to give you all a short review about the new K5, combined with a comparison to the K2.
The casing of the main unit (DVR with front cam), the rear cam and the control unit are made of aluminium and look very sturdy and valuable. The control unit, which you can mount on the handle bar to control the K5, has a metal button which gives you a good feedback when pressed, even when wearing thicker gloves. For the connection of the all other parts (Rear cam, GPS, control unit, etc.) to the main unit, Innovv uses sealed metal GX9 connectors, which are all color coded for easy installation. In fact, you don‘t even need to look at the manual to know where to connect which part. And the small connectors makes it easier to edge the cables through holes during installaion.
As the front cam and the DVR are combined in one case and therefore exposed to the weather, a good sealing is very important here. So I did a 30 min test in my shower, which the K5 passed without any leakage. And yes...I opened the K5 to check this :-)
I also did a temperatur test at 60°C for one hour, which the K5 passed without any issues.
The SD card slot and USB port are at the right side of the main unit, covered by a sealed plate which is secured by two screws. At my sample, these are M2 screws. But according to Rock the final version will get M3 screws for easier handling.
According to Innovv, the lens of the front cam is less scratchable than the one of the K2, but nevertheless I would prefer a lens protector. Especially as you can not replace a scratched lens/front cam as easy as at the K2. Maybe Innovv will think about it again and add a protector in the future.
Video quality and sound
I don‘t own a 4k monitor. So I can review the video quality only based on what I see on my 1080p monitor.
The videos of the K5 look smooth and naturally. Using the default settings, the sharpness is a little bit reduced when comparing to the K2. This lets the video look smoother and calmer, especially when there are much small details (e.g bushes, trees with leafes, etc.) in the video. I said „using the default settings“, because the K5 now allows the user to adjust some video parameters. Something which is not possible at the K2. In detail, the K5 allows the user to adjust...
- Exposure (12 steps)
- Contrast (5 steps)
- Saturation (3 steps)
- Sharpness (3 steps)
- White Balance (5 steps)
- Brightness (6 steps)
- Video Bitrate (4 steps)
With the Bitrate set to maximum (which is default), the K5 encodes the videos of the front cam at 32MBit (4K) and of the rear cam at 16MBit (1080p). I did not see any compression artifacts in the videos of the front cam, even when there are many trees/bushes beside the street. Only the rear cam sometimes shows slight artifacts when there are many details. But much less than the K2 with its standard firmware. For the rear cam this is, in my eyes, negligible.
For the sound, there is now an external microphone, which you can place anywhere to get the sound you like. The K5 also allows you to adjust the volume in 6 steps. Unfortunately I forgot to secure the mic during my comparison rides, so I got a bad sound in the video. And later I had no time to test the sound due to bad weather and an upcoming surgery.
One word about vibrations, where the K2 caused headache to some people (me included).
With the K5, I never got problems caused by vibrations. Despite the fact that both cams where mounted at the same position at which the K2 failed due to vibrations. Of course you will notice in the video that there are more vibrations, but the image is still stable without annoying jello effects. The K5 can handle vibrations better than the K2. I uploaded a short 4K Footage of a ride at higher speed/rpm. See below.
When driving into direct sunlight, the K5 automatically turns down the brightness. This is not what I would call WDR and I am not sure if I like this effect or not. Judge yourself by watching the comparison videos.
One point I don‘t like is, that when switching the front cam to 1080p, the K5 does not scale the 4k video down to 1080p during encoding, but simply cuts it out of the 4k video. Means the viewing angle drastically decreases. I hope this will be changed in a future firmware release.
I made some comparison videos between the K5 and K2 and uploaded them to my dropbox. Please don't wonder about the strange cuttings and flickers in the "Sunlight" comparison. I had to remove all scenes where are readable number plates (due to local laws). And the flicker happens, because my video editing software does not seem to handle the H.265 source properly after each cut.
There is also a short raw 4k footage for those who want check the original resolution.
When comparing to the K2, I have to note that I used my modified firmware on the K2 with a bitrate of 20MBit (default is 12MBit). So it is more a comparison of „how videos of the K2 could look like“ vs „how videos of the K5 does look like“. I decided to do the comparison this way to really only compare the different cameras, eleminating the different compression bitrates. Otherwise, most of the quality improvements of the K5 to the K2 would simply be a result of the higher bitrate.
Regarding the (bad) sound of the video...I mounted the microphone right under my cockpit, but forgot to secure it. So it slipped out a little bit and got exposed to the airstream. My fault.
As with the K2, the K5 allows the user to download or stream recorded videos to the smartphone using wifi. The K5 now offers 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz wifi, but not at the same time. You can use the app to switch between both modes. Depending on the selected wifi mode, the download speed varies.
2.4GHz => 5 MB/sec
5.8GHz => 11 MB/sec
This is far better than at the K2, which only manages to transfer at 2.2 MB/sec, and fast enough to stream videos or download short clips. If you want to download all videos of a trip, you would remove the sd card anyway. Just keep in mind that 5 minutes of a 4k video are 1.2GB in size.
And with the sd slot accessible right at the front cam, removing the sd card will be much easier as with the K2 for most riders.
Per default, the K5 uses 5.8GHz to ensure that streaming of 4k videos runs smooth. The drawback is, that if your phone does not support 5.8GHz, you will not be able to connect to the K5 to set it up. In fact, you would need someone with a phone which supports 5.8GHz to switch the K5 to 2.4GHz. And you would need to do this every time you install a new firmware or reset the K5 to default.
The future will show if Innovvs decision to set the default wifi mode to 5.8GHz is good or not.
As with all products, there are pros and cons. On the pro site, there is definitely the good video quality with a 4K resolution and the ability to change the video parameters to what you like. The external microphone lets you find the best position to get a good sound, while the control unit lets you take pictures or save videos with a fingertip. And the better vibration resistance and easier accessiblity of the sd card slot are also on the pro site.
On the cons site is, that the K5 can not be installed as hidden as the K2. It is harder to find a suitable spot, just because of its size and because of the bunch of cables coming out of the main unit, which you will have to hide somewhere. Another point, which makes it harder to mount the K5 is, that you can not rotate the camera steplessly like the K2. The firmware only allows to flip the image 180°. So you have to mount the K5 with the screw facing up or down to get a leveled video.
If anybody has questions regarding my review or my experiences with the K5, don't hesitate to ask.