INNOVV H5 Helmet Camera First Trial
My name is Mikhei (Mikey). I live in a town situated on the northeast shore of the Black Sea. I belong to the ‘Free Biker” community which is well known in the Krasnodar Territory and beyond.
Me and INNOVV H5 helmet camera system
I would like to share with you my experience as an early tester for the H5 Helmet Camera under development by INNOVV.
INNOVV was not a familiar name to me until Rock sent me a first email in June 2021 as he had seen my submissions regarding a Kickstarter project that I participated in; and despite providing a lot of constructive comments regarding product development I was disappointed that nothing was heard back from the developer. But in reading my feedback, Rock reached out to me to dialogue about the new product.
Sometime later, Rock asked if I was interested in participating in testing and evaluating the new coming to market INNOVV H5 Helmet Camera. As I like to get involved with technical activities, had been impressed with how well he listens to customers and his focus on developing a high-quality product, there was no hesitation on my part.
I ride a BMW R 1100 RT and use action cameras and no matter if riding if commuting, riding through the local area or venturing up to the hills for adventure riding, the issue of running the camera battery down is well known.
My bike and INNOVV H5 helmet camera system
And after viewing an information PPT supplied by Rock outlining the basic features and objectives, it was obvious that one of the objectives was to address and overcome the self-contained power limitations experienced by so many action cameras, including earlier GoPro models. But even if the design looks good on paper, it doesn’t mean the physical product will be as cool and truly functional - a Kickstarter experience lesson learned.
The package from INNOVV with the initial H5 kit arrived just after the Chinese New Year holiday. First impressions are good – high quality housing, discrete gray colour, solid feel and easy to handle – no cheap plastic feel here.
INNOVV H5 helmet camera system
Modular by design, the pre-release system consists of three modules - camera body, battery pack and external interface with its USB-C interface and external (helmet mounted) microphone component. Assembly is quick and intuitive - insert an SD card into its slot on the camera body, align the USB-C connections between the camera and the battery pack and press the two pieces together, add the upper and lower snaps or buckles – done.
The camera system is built to be IP65 compliant, making it an excellent choice to withstand virtually any elemental conditions.
Comparatively, the GoPro 9 Black model weighs about 147gr (5.19gr or 0.32lbs) whereas the INNOVV H5 comes in at 140gr (4.93oz or 0.31lbs); not a big difference even when helmet mounted. A custom designed holder-style clip-in bracket with GoPro style mounts are included in the kit. To use - align the bracket engagement points, snap the camera into place, make sure the desired orientation is set and, are you now ready to roll.
Able to be mounted on either the left or right side of the helmet (other options are possible) the smaller smooth profile of the H5 results in less wind draw and wind noise; you do not feel your head being pushing or twisted as a result of the camera when riding at speed.
My typical test riding conditions (at the time) are with temperatures of 2C (give or take), with a typical route being up into the foothills in the mountainous regions of Shaumyan and then along the Black Sea coast, usually around mid-afternoon. The H5 is mounted on an LS2 helmet using the supplied mount and with the battery module in use.
Test Experience – to start, press and hold the top button for 3 seconds; the vibratory tone sounds (can’t be missed, whether the helmet is on or off the head) the WiFi and Power LEDs flash quickly and automatic recording starts. The vibratory tones are unique and very distinct and not to be missed - unlike LEDs that do provide visual communications but are seldom placed within view.
The camera runs flawlessly. Video quality is clear and clean, as is audio from the module-mounted microphone. In fact, music from a helmet-mounted system can be heard when playing back the video – sensitivity is very good, far better than my current GoPro setup.
And from the point of view perspective, only a small corner of the windshield is seen in the video; a non-distracting reference point that many users prefer to have in their videos. The overall setup is very good.
The camera 2.4GHz WiFi connects quickly between the system and the smart device being used. The App is still under development and my early experience is limited to downloading, installing and playing with it, and then reporting some bugs for Rock’s team to address.
As the current battery layout is good enough for my needs, I have not (yet) removed the battery pack module and installed the external interface module. But with a power pack or onboard USB supply in use, the system will be good for long days of adventuring.