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Panasonic Debuts Goofy Ear-Mounted GoPro Rival

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 12 comments

First we had Glassholes. Now, it looks like we're entering the age of GoSchmoes. GoPro is the industry's leading brand of wearable camcorders for those who want to document their every move, and Panasonic wants a piece of the action with the HX-A500.

The electronics maker just announced the world's first 4K-capable 25p wearable camcorder that has the added benefit of making you look like a cyborg. The two-part product features a Gameboy-like operating unit on an armband and a earpiece-mounted camera, and will be available in May 2014 for £379.99 ($626).

MORE: 10 Ugliest Wearable Devices

Joining the A100 as part of Panasonic's wearable camera lineup, the HX-A500 will let anyone from extreme sports junkies to Blair Witch enthusiasts shoot in high 4K resolution at a framerate of 25 fps. That frame rate is fairly good and beats the GoPro Hero 3's 15 fps at 4K.

What really stands out about the A500 is how cumbersome it looks. The 4.19-ounce orange operating unit is strapped onto your arm in a black case, while a 1.09-ounce camera sticks out of an earpiece. The two parts are connected by a cable which, based on the picture, will not afford you much range of motion (Panasonic did not specify the length of the cable).

We imagine tennis or basketball players will find themselves restricted when using the A500, despite Panasonic saying the camcorder "is not restrictive, even during sport and other physical activities."

The device is waterproof up to 3 meters (9.84 feet) for up to 30 minutes and dust-proof, so extreme sports enthusiasts can take it anywhere.

A 1.5-inch color LCD monitor on the operating unit lets you see the camera's range of view as your record, and the A500 sports NFC capability so you can quickly connect it to your smartphone or tablet. Using Panasonic's Image App (Android and iOS), you can then record and edit your video and share it via social networks or broadcast it live via UStream.

Follow Cherlynn Low at @CherlynnLow and on Google+. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

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  • 1 Hide
    Zeroplanetz , March 24, 2014 2:07 PM
    I'm not buying into 4k cameras until 4k tvs and 4k monitors come way down in price. Like to where 1080p is sitting now. Its almost pointless to shoot 4k and not beable to view it in 4k. Plus if it did 120fps then we're talking. Otherwise my gopro 3 black is just fine.
  • 1 Hide
    Zeroplanetz , March 24, 2014 2:09 PM
    I must also add gopro supports windows phone. That is something that annoys me about a lot of companies.
  • 2 Hide
    itsnotmeitsyou , March 24, 2014 2:40 PM
    I think the design motivation behind this ear-mount setup was to reduce paralax between the wearer's view and what the camera sees. I have seen plenty of head mounted GoPro vids where all you see is the ground cause they mounted the camera at the wrong angle.Interesting idea, and kudos to Panasonic for trying something different, not just putting a cam in a small box. It will be interesting to see what comes of this.
  • Display all 12 comments.
  • -2 Hide
    ferooxidan , March 24, 2014 3:09 PM
    If this thing goes booming, we'll see a lot of fpp - first person porn
  • 2 Hide
    rwinches , March 24, 2014 6:11 PM
    Yeah, Just imagine how that video of the tennis match would look.How do you see the huge 1.5" screen while you are recording if it's strapped to your arm?The camera looks like it's embedded in his cheek no chance of sweat being a problem there.
  • 0 Hide
    monsta , March 24, 2014 6:55 PM
    It does look silly tho....
  • 1 Hide
    itsnotmeitsyou , March 24, 2014 7:23 PM
    Quote:
    Yeah, Just imagine how that video of the tennis match would look.How do you see the huge 1.5"
    As opposed to the back of a GoPro stuck on the top of your helmet? Strapped to your chest? This aint a camcorder, its an action cam. All you need to see is the start button, maybe how much battery and recording time you have left. Panasonics tough cams are waterproof to over 10m. Pretty sure they can make something sweatproof.
  • 0 Hide
    rwinches , March 24, 2014 7:36 PM
    Yeah, ACE with the sweat dripping all over the lens.
  • 1 Hide
    genz , March 24, 2014 11:46 PM
    Quote:
    I'm not buying into 4k cameras until 4k tvs and 4k monitors come way down in price. Like to where 1080p is sitting now. Its almost pointless to shoot 4k and not beable to view it in 4k. Plus if it did 120fps then we're talking. Otherwise my gopro 3 black is just fine.
    God forbid that you might want to have a 4k screen in the future... how do you plan to magically upscale all of your footage?
  • 1 Hide
    Neog2 , March 25, 2014 12:12 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    I'm not buying into 4k cameras until 4k tvs and 4k monitors come way down in price. Like to where 1080p is sitting now. Its almost pointless to shoot 4k and not beable to view it in 4k. Plus if it did 120fps then we're talking. Otherwise my gopro 3 black is just fine.
    God forbid that you might want to have a 4k screen in the future... how do you plan to magically upscale all of your footage?
    GoPro Hero3+ Black does 4k video although only at 15fps.
  • 1 Hide
    knowom , March 25, 2014 6:50 AM
    Only $626's to look like a complete idiot sign me up! ;) 
  • 0 Hide
    Peter Rafeiner , March 25, 2014 11:24 AM
    Quote:
    I'm not buying into 4k cameras until 4k tvs and 4k monitors come way down in price. Like to where 1080p is sitting now. Its almost pointless to shoot 4k and not beable to view it in 4k. Plus if it did 120fps then we're talking. Otherwise my gopro 3 black is just fine.
    When those monitors finally become affordable you will kick yourself that you do not have Baby's first steps in 4k... can not re-shoot that !
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