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Chilli Technology's original Action Cam 1 was primarily a helmet camera. But not every extreme sport involves a helmet, or at least one which allows you to attach a camera strap. So the company has devised a new, more flexible version. It's called the Action Cam Max and it comes in a metal box, so you know it means business.
The Action Cam Max is the same format as the original model. So it's a bullet camera shaped rather like a hand torch. However, the Max comes encased in a more stylish brushed metal chassis, and the differences don't end there. Where the Action Cam 1 uses SD memory, the Max relies on microSD, and there's a 2GB piece of media included in the box. The Max also doesn’t require you to supply your own AA cells, either. Instead, a rechargeable 490mAH battery is built in.
There is one major similarity, however. Neither model has a LCD screen for you to see what the camcorder is pointing at, or view your recordings after they’ve been made. In fact, the Max doesn’t even have the LCD status panel like the Action Cam 1, instead relying on a quartet of tiny LEDs surrounding the single control button on the top.
Apart from this button, the Max’s remaining features are hidden beneath a screw-fitting cover at the end of device. Here you will find the microSD slot and a mini-USB socket which is used both for data transfer and recharging. It’s also the location of the power switch. Trigger this, and a blue light appears followed by a yellow light on the top panel. Then the Max is ready to shoot, with a green light flashing to indicate recording in process.
The Action Cam Max can also take still images. Press the record button for three seconds once the unit has initialised, and it switches to digital camera mode. After this, when you press the button on the top again, the Max will take a picture. The resolution is a reasonable 2,048 x 1,536, although the image quality is still not particularly impressive.
But the biggest difference between the Action Cam Max and 1 is the range of bundled mounting accessories included in the box. Where the original version is aimed purely at helmets, the Max has a much wider set of options. Most interesting is the suction cup monopod, which will allow you to secure the Action Cam Max to a window or other smooth surface. This has a stiff rotating joint, so you can angle the camcorder, and we found the adjustability made it possible to attach the Max pointing forwards on every windscreen we tried. The only downside is that the camcorder itself will end up being upside down. But the mounting is secure enough for quite spirited driving, and you can flip the video the right way up during editing, making the Max a decent track day option.