Google Clips Hands-Free Camera REVIEW
Over the past couple of years, I’ve had a lot of experience with connected cameras. I have a natural attraction to them because they can be used for so many different things. I typically use them for security and monitoring my home but Google has actually come up with a new idea for these connected devices — personal memories. The Google Clips camera is designed to be worn so that you can continue capturing memories without having to interrupt your activities.
Google Clips is a lightweight, hands-free camera with simple controls that activate the recording and capturing functions. The camera isn’t designed to replace your smartphone camera or DSLR but it will allow you to capture precious moments and still be apart of them — rather than behind a camera lens. Clips has a companion app (iOS and Android compatible) that lets you select and download content as well as share with friends and family.
Unlike other types of connected devices, Clips doesn’t need a data connection or an account. All of the functions run locally on the device. All of your motion image clips are stored on the device until you save or share them. If you save clips to Google Photos then all the content will be backed up to your Google Account. Clips is actually a learning device and will begin to learn who and what you photograph the most and capture more moments you love over time.
The Google Clips camera is tiny. Weighing only 60.5 grams and measuring only 50mm tall, it’s ultra portable. The device also has a 3-hour long battery (on a full charge) and will continue capturing content as long as it has battery power. The camera has a 130º field of view and captures video at 15fps. Clips has 16GB of built-in storage
Getting started with the Google Clips camera is actually incredibly easy. First, you want to make sure that the camera is charged. When I unboxed mine, it was not charged and therefore I had trouble getting it to work. After discovering that power was the issue, I didn’t have many problems. Once the camera is charged you only need to download the Google Clips app and connect to your camera. To set it up you will press the button on the front of the camera so that the app will read it. Once it detects a Google Clips camera, the ID code will show up in a menu. You select it and then that camera is connected to your phone. A Clips camera can only be connected to one phone at a time. And, even though the camera doesn’t require a network for general operation, it will ask to connect to WiFi to make sure that its software is up to date.
Once the camera is up to date, you can then start using it. A simple twist of the lens and the camera starts capturing camera clips. The nice thing about these ‘clips’ is that they are simple. Each clip is a motion photo that last several seconds. There is no audio recorded but you do get high-quality photos and video. I have been unable to find what the actual resolution is of the video/motion images but a still image translates to 2566 x 1859 and downloads as a JPEG.
While I like the concept of this device overall, I do see some issues with it. First, it’s not capturing actual video. It’s recording the equivalent of a Live Photo from Apple, which is a combination of a JPEG and a 3-second MOV file. In this case, the motion is captured as H.264. I found out though that you cannot simply save the memory off to your desktop. For example, I took a clip using the Google camera and then I saved it to my iPhone’s Camera Roll. At this point, the clip showed up as a Live Photo. Then, I tried to share it with myself using AirDrop. Unfortunately, the clip was reduced to a still image at this point. I did share it with myself using iCloud Photo Sharing and could still view it as a Live Photo in my Photos Library but again, I could not export it as a motion file.
I’m a little confused about this tiny camera’s purpose. When I started out on this review, I thought I had found a gem that could possibly be a supplement for my video equipment needs. What it turned out to be was a camera that replicates what my iPhone does with Live Photos. Because of this discovery, I’m just not sure what the best use is of this camera. I like the idea that it will continue recording clips even when you aren’t clicking a shutter button and I know that is useful for capturing memories especially around little ones but I don’t like that you can’t save those motion images any further than a photo library.
Originally published at macsources.com on June 28, 2018.