Polaroid, the company famous for instant-printing cameras, has ventured into the action camera market. No surprise, since that seems to be one of more popular camera purchases today, spurred by the success of the GoPro cameras. The Polaroid line features the Polaroid XS100i Wi-Fi Waterproof Action Camera, a more standard POV (point-of-view camera). But the one with an innovative approach is the Cube.
It’s small, easy to operate, features the colorful Polaroid branding stripes and is shaped like a square cube. It’s priced at $99.99
Simplicity is what I really like about this camera. You open up the back of the camera with a coin to find a round opening that contains the place to hold your microSD card, a small switch with options for 720p or 1080p HD video and a mini-USB port to charge your camera.
After loading my ScanDisk Ultra 32m card, picking 1080p and charging up, I was ready to go. Next: Learning how to operate the camera. Again, simple was the operative word because there is only one button on top of the camera.
When you’re finished using the camera, hold the button down for three seconds to turn it off. There’s just one button, no LCD screen, no Wi-Fi, no adjustments.
The Polaroid Cube, available in red, black or blue, is weatherproof and shockproof and features a 124-degree wide-angle lens.
The quality of the images does not quite stack up to higher-priced POV cameras like the Sony or GoPro but was better than I expected from such a small camera. It’s geared toward fun and is easy to carry; it’s not for the professional photographer.
Polaroid offers a nice line of accessories like a silicone case with a lanyard to wear around your neck or an aluminum carabiner to attach to a key ring or belt. I recommend adding one of these since the camera is so small. I had a hard time keeping track of it. Also available is a tripod adapter, bike and suction-cup mounts and a waterproof case. The camera has a magnet on the bottom that is fun if you want to use it as a refrigerator magnet, but I ran out of available metal pretty fast, so one of the available mount options would probably be necessary if you’re going to use it a lot.
Depending on what you’re looking for, the Polaroid Cube might just fit into your go-everywhere lifestyle.
The camera does have to compete with your smartphone. The quality with my iPhone 5 was better shooting both stills and video, but the Cube does offer a much wider lens and is both weatherproof and shockproof, so it does stand up much better in inclement weather, poolside or at the beach.
Note that the camera is weatherproof — which means it will take a splash from the pool or surf — but is not waterproof without the optional case.
Priced at just under $100, this camera, one of the cheaper POV cameras, is priced well for the hobby photo enthusiast. Most people don’t really need all the fancy, high-tech features of the much more expensive action cameras.