There are plenty of options for consumers who are wanting a piece of wearable technology for still photography, but if you’re looking for something that can tackle video there are far fewer devices to choose from—and most carry a hefty price tag. The MeCam, however, is a wearable video camera that anyone can use and just about anyone can afford.
The overall appearance of the MeCam is decidedly not high-tech. The coloured plastic, the absence of any type of obvious controls and the fact that you can wear the device much like you would a pin badge certainly doesn’t give you any clues to the fact that this is a fairly serious bit of technology—but that’s all by design. The MeCam is intended for use by all ages, so combined with how easy it is to use, the fact that it doesn’t have the ‘look’ of something high-tech means that even if its user isn’t compeletely up-to-date with the latest in technology, they won’t be put off. It might sound like a simplistic tactic, but in practice it really works rather well; it’s hard to imagine anyone of any age looking at the MeCam and thinking they wouldn’t be able to operate it. It’s a very inviting device.
However, being inviting wouldn’t do the MeCam much good if once it wasn’t very easy to operate once it was in the hands (or pinned to the shirt) of its prospective user. Here’s where the MeCam really starts to impress: the three buttons on the side of the device are all you need to control all of its functions. One acts as a power switch that’s used to put your MeCam in standby mode, from which you can start controlling the camera with the other two buttons. One snaps off a still image, whilst the other starts and stops the recording of video. That’s it; there’s no fussing over your settings, no need for an extensive set of instructions—just the knowledge of what these three buttons do and you’re on your way to mastering the MeCam.
Making the device so simple to use means that the whole family can enjoy using the MeCam. Grandparents who would never take the time to learn how to use a traditional video camera will find the intuitive controls and limited range of operations of the MeCam far more appealing. The designers of the device even suggest that it might be used by children—the robust plastic exterior and lack of any fragile parts being very reassuring factors if the child in question is particularly adventurous. The fact that the basic MeCam retails for $49.99 will go a long way to convincing parents that it’s safe to put their child in charge of the device too.
Whilst you might think that such an inexpensive model might be rather restricted, it’s very much a fully functional wearable video camera. The only catch is that the least expensive version only comes with 4GB of internal storage, meaning you’ll only be able to fit around an hour of video on the device at any one time. Whilst this is no small amount of video, if you’re planning on using the MeCam whilst travelling or in any situation where you’re likely to be away from your computer for a large amount of time, it’s perhaps worth going with 8GB or 16GB version. One hour of video might be fine for casual use, but if this is to replace your current video camera then you’ll perhaps find out rather quickly that only one hour doesn’t go very far—especially since there’s no way of managing your data on the device itself.
To move your photos and videos from the MeCam to your computer, you simply have to use the USB cord that comes included with the device. Even here, things are about as simple as you’ll find anywhere—it’s very much a ‘drag-and-drop’ approach, with your MeCam showing up as a hard drive with all your files on once you plug it into your computer. It’s nice to not have to bother with proprietary software and the like, simply having access to your files in their raw format. Less computer-savvy users might be disappointed there isn’t a little more software to guide them through the process of editing and sharing video, but in all honesty there’s plenty of software out there should you need something more. The MeCam’s interaction with your computer is without any frills—it simply gives you your files in a workable format and lets you do with them what you will.
Whilst the basic MeCam might well be enough for many us449ers, if you’re looking for even better picture quality then it might be worth waiting it out for the MeCam HD, which is expected to launch later in the year. Whilst the MeCam produces video at a respectable resolution of 720p, this advanced model will be able to output video at a high-definition resolution of 1080p. As high-definition becomes more and more standard, it might be worth considering this model if you’re thinking of using the MeCam for years to come—720p looks fine now but in a year or two it might start to appear a little dated. That being said, the upgrade to 1080p might come at too steep a price for many; pre-orders for the MeCam HD are priced at $259.99, more than five times the price of the most basic model. If it’s something that you know doesn’t bother you, then of course it’s not worth the money, but for many people resolution is a big deal even in their home movies, so it’s certainly something that’s worth considering.
It’s easy to see the MeCam being useful in a wide range of situations to record a slice of the action, but it might not be the ideal replacement for your standard digital video camera. There is a novelty factor to the MeCam, and if you’re looking for a more serious device then you’re almost definitely going to be better waiting for the MeCam HD or looking elsewhere. However, if you’re looking for a device that all the family can use freely and easily, there’s very little out there that can do quite as much as the MeCam for this price point. A 4GB MeCam is available from the MeCam web store for $49.99, with 8GB and 16GB models priced at $59.99 and $69.99 respectively. Black, white, green, blue and pink colour variants are all available. The MeCam HD is available to pre-order at a price of $259.99.