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ReplayXD Prime X Review

ReplayXD Prime X Review
Outstanding Video Quality and Ease of Use
by Rick K. and "Burn" for webBikeWorld.com

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Summary

The ReplayXD Prime X has the same low-profile form-factor as the ReplayXD 1080 reviewed on webBikeWorld in 2011.

That camera won a webBikeWorld Motorcycle Product of the Year Award in 2011.

The rugged aluminum tube shape and easy-to-use format remains and the Prime X version has a "Hyperion CinePrime X Lens" for "professional" use.

It's difficult to tell how much of a difference the lens makes but the camera takes outstanding quality video that renders as smooth with near-perfect exposure and natural color rendition.

Mounting options are better than most action cameras but ReplayXD should take a tip from Sena and develop an intercom-type helmet mount, like the one found on the new Sena Prism action camera (review).

Background

Our ReplayXD Prime X was not without issues though -- enough so that it makes it difficult to give this camera an unqualified recommendation.

We purchased our camera anonymously and followed the instructions (as always) but after the first 15 seconds or so of video recording, the camera locked up tight and could not be reset.

Quite annoying and surprising on a brand-new $300.00 action camera.

ReplayXD support gave a few suggestions but nothing worked. They made us pay for shipping back to their HQ to get it fixed, which I think is unacceptable for a brand-new, just-out-of-the-box camera.

At the very least, they should have paid for the shipping and a new camera would have been in order rather than the repair.

But that wasn't the only issue. We have not been able to get the ReplayXD app to work consistently without crashing on any Android phone or tablet we have tried.

And we discovered the app will not work with Android 5 (Lollipop), to the apparent surprise of ReplayXD support, who then confirmed this fact.

Thus our opinion is that the app is not reliable for controlling the camera. It just doesn't seem stable enough for general release and ReplayXD really needs to concentrate on getting it to work.

The good news is that it's so easy to change the settings on the camera that the app isn't really necessary unless you want to dive into the advanced settings. But it would come in handy for a live view camera alignment.

The problems are annoying and hopefully our lockup was a quirk, because the camera takes outstanding quality video at high bit rates.

Just keep in mind that like every other action cam we've reviewed, the video still isn't the quality of a good dedicated video camera if you're really peeping at pixels.

ReplayXD Prime X Camera Close-up
ReplayXD Prime X Features

Camera Body
The ReplayXD camera format is an anodized aluminum tube that has a quality feel.

The tube mounts in a plastic ring mount and the camera can be rotated for alignment. the lens cap and rear cap screw on with fine threads and there's a narrow O-ring under each. The camera is rated as waterproof to 3 meters.

Live View?
The small form factor of the ReplayXD camera means no live view. This is where an app can come in handy but we had a lot of trouble getting the ReplayXD app to run without crashing.

It sometimes is stable enough to get the camera lined up but that's about it.

Video Formats
The Prime X camera has a 16 MP CMOS sensor. Video formats include 1920x1080 to 60 fps; 1600x1200 to 60 fps; 1280x960 to 60 fps; 1280x720 to 120 fps; 848x480 to 240 fps; 640x480 to 240 fps and something called Cinema 48/24 fps.

The camera works in NTSC at 60 or 30 fps or PAL at 5 or 25 fps.

Live view can also be output via the micro HDMI port at 1080p 60fps (1080p  50fps for PAL).

Photo Formats
The camera can capture still photos in 4:3 format at 16MP, 14 MP or 12 MP. Time lapse photos can be taken at 3, 5, 15 or 30 second intervals.

Burst mode and custom time lapse settings are available in Advanced Settings in the app or via the configuration text file on the microSD card.

Lens
ReplayXD touts the "cinema" quality lens on the Prime X as the camera's best feature. The spec sheet calls it a "Hyperion CinePrime X Lens" and unlike most of the other action camera manufacturers, they actually list some details.

It's an f/2.7 lens with three choices for field of view: 140 degrees (1080P, 960P, 720P, Photo), 116 degrees or 70 degrees (most resolutions and photos).

Does it make a difference?

Frankly, it's impossible for us to tell, as the lens is but one ingredient in good video (or photography). The sensor, firmware, mounting and the environmental conditions all play a big part in good quality video.

Battery
The camera includes a non-removable Li-Ion rechargeable battery. It's rated at 1700mAh, which ReplayXD says will last up to 3.5 hours of record time. Depending on wifi usage and more, this can go as low as 1 hour or less.

Memory
The camera has a microSDXC slot (also accepts microSD or microSDHC). We prefer the SanDisk Ultra, available here. Class 10 is suggested. If you're using a microSDXC, 64GB is max; 32GB for other types. A 4GB memory card is included with the camera.

The camera supports cards up to 32GB.

Sound
The tiny microphone hole us under the lens in front.

Audio is recorded in AAC and AC3 2-channel 48K, 16-bit, Auto Gain Control. ReplayXD says there's a 3.5 mm Aux Line-In with Adapter for the mic but we're not sure where that is...possibly through the USB port?

Like every other action camera we've reviewed, the mic is quickly overwhelmed once the bike starts moving.

Some stick-on wind protectors are included in the kit but they only serve to lower the volume, not improve the sound quality.

ReplayXD Prime X Action Camera Kit Contents
In the Box

The Prime X kit is basic but has all the correct ingredients you'll need to get going.

That includes a 4GB microSD card (with SD card adapter), a tripod "tray" with the standard ¼-20 threaded hole, a tilt/lock mount, another "LowBoy" fixed ring mount, some 3M stickies and even a cloth camera bag.

The kit fits in a nice zippered heavy-duty nylon pouch. All of this is a lot more than is usually provided with an action camera.

ReplayXD also has quite a few spare parts and accessories in their accessory catalog, including the "ReView Field Monitor" that allows an HDMI connection to the camera for alignment or video playback.

The ReplayXD mounts catalog has a variety of camera mounts for purchase, including a waterproof housing with a rated 60 meter depth (the Prime X camera alone is rated to 3 meters).

By the way, our camera has the most recent firmware update, version v001.058, dated December 26, 2014.

ReplayXD Prime X Action Camera Kit

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AAligning the Camera

Since the ReplayXD Prime X does not have a live view, you can rough set the alignment for helmet or motorcycle mounting by eye.

Then if you have a cheap laser pointer, lay that on top of the camera tube and sit on the bike and use the pointer against a wall in the garage or elsewhere to align the camera.

This actually works pretty nicely and once you get the hang of it, you may never need to use the live view on the app for alignment.

If you can get the app to run long enough without crashing, the live view on a smartphone or tablet can be used to align the camera.

But, don't forget that if your phone or camera is mounted on the handlebar, you may not be able to see the correct alignment with your head pointed forwards on the bike.

ReplayXD Prime X Settings
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Using the ReplayXD Prime X

The ReplayXD Prime X -- and indeed, the entire ReplayXD system -- is one of the easiest action camera systems there is.

There are two large red buttons on top: the on/off button that also serves to turn WiFi on and off and the button towards the rear of the camera tube to start and stop video and photo recording.

In fact, we don't miss not having the live view and most of the important settings can be easily changed using the three buttons on the rear of the camera under the screw-on cap.

Also, ReplayXD cameras have a haptic feedback system that provides different sequences of vibration corresponding to camera settings. For example, when the camera is turned on, three short vibrating pulses are heard and felt.

When the record button is pushed, the camera vibrates three times. These pulses can be felt and even heard through most motorcycle helmets, providing good feedback about the camera's status.

Long press the front on/off button to turn the camera on and you'll feel (and hear) the three vibrating pulses.

Four tiny LED indicator lights just to the rear of the power button also tell the user about status and the state of the battery charge.

The camera starts quickly and a press of the rear button starts recording in whatever format has been chosen via the buttons under the rear cap. The camera comes with the 1080p/60fps setting engaged but these are easily changed.

The choices for camera settings are printed inside the rear cap.

Don't lose the cap and it's too bad ReplayXD doesn't use a tether to keep the cap from falling while you're messing with the settings.

The three settings buttons correspond to the mode settings (screen/recording resolution); field of view (choose one of the three available virtual lens widths) and frames per second.

Each of these has a vertical row of colored LEDs; match the colors to your choices as described under the cap by pressing the corresponding buttons along the bottom (see photo above).

Some of the more advanced settings can only be changed using the app or in a text file that's loaded when the camera starts.

Editing the text file configuration can be confusing and requires a computer, so the app is the way to go, if you can keep it running long enough.

ReplayXD Prime X Size
ReplayXD Prime X Video Quality

The ReplayXD Prime X has outstanding video quality that is among the best you'll find in a sub-$400.00 action camera.

The 1080p/60fps video has a noticeably smooth look with near-perfect exposure, white balance and color rendition. In fact, video quality in any setting is all outstanding.

The Prime X camera has the second highest average bitrate of any of the action cameras we've reviewed recently and this apparently makes a difference in the amount of data captured and the quality of the playback.

Average Bitrates At 60FPS (Sena Prism 30FPS)
Polaroid Cube Sena Prism SJCAM SJ4000* ReplayXD Prime X Ricoh WG-M1
8,123 11,310 16,025 24,721 25,561
(* Review in process)

The ReplayXD Prime X video quality appears slightly better than the Ricoh WG-M1 (review) and is equal to the BlackVue Sport 500 (review) and perhaps even the GoPro Hero 3 (review).. Yet the Prime X has a more usable form factor than the GoPro or BlackVue sport.

Note that our videos are post-processed with Adobe Premiere Elements (PE 11 is now only $49.99) and the Vimeo Pro and YouTube compressors do their best to tear apart the quality.

Be sure to select the highest quality playback in the YouTube player that you can view on your computer; up to 1080p is available (but difficult to play on many computers due to the amount of data transferred).

Here's a raw example from the camera (.zip file), 11 seconds of .mp4 video (33mb) taken at 1080p/60fps.

ReplayXD Prime X Photo Sample 1
SSample photo from the ReplayXD Prime X, resized to 700px only.
Mounting Options

The smaller, low-profile tube shape of the ReplayXD Prime X can make for easier mounting on a helmet, especially compared to bulky box shapes like the GoPro and others.

The Prime X camera is solid and the aluminum tube body fits in one of the mounting rings provided in the kit, which slide into a stick-on tray that can be attached to a helmet on the top or side.

The ReplayXD tube form factor has always been one of our favorites for motorcycle use and the haptic feedback really helps to know when the camera is on or off or whether recording has started.

This is important when the camera is mounted on a helmet and can't be directly viewed by the rider.

ReplayXD Prime X Photo Sample 2
Sample photo from the ReplayXD Prime X, resized to 700px wide only.
WiFi Connection

The ReplayXD Prime X has a WiFi capability. As noted, we had some problems getting it to connect to an Android smartphone and tablet.

After a connection is successfully established, the user must connect with the app to get the live view and change camera settings.

This is where most of the problems lie; we just cannot get the app to run for any more than a few seconds at a time, as you can see in our video.

So the concept is good but very few action cameras so far have this implemented correctly.

We're sure it will happen; apparently the technology is still in its infancy as far as action cameras are concerned. But the ReplayXD system doesn't seem ready for distribution in our opinion.

wBW Video: ReplayXD Prime X Camera and App Overview
wBW Video: ReplayXD Prime X On-the-Road Samples
NOTE: YouTube and Vimeo compression significantly degrades the quality of the video from the original and it does not like fast moving video like motorcycle riding. Select 720p or 1080p quality under the "gear" icon in the YouTube video for higher quality YouTube video.
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Conclusion

We've been fans of the ReplayXD action cameras since the beginning and the Prime X takes outstanding quality video for this type of camera. It's also one of the easiest action cameras to use and to work with on a motorcycle.

Our initial quality problem is troubling however and the way it was handled by ReplayXD didn't help. The fact that we can't get the app to work consistently doesn't help also.

If it weren't for these problems, we'd give the Prime X a resounding "buy" recommendation.

Perhaps it was just a one-off issue regarding the camera lockup but we've tried the app with several smartphones and a tablet with the same results.

We're interested in hearing from other Prime X owners about any issues they've experienced.

BUY YOUR
ReplayXD Video Cameras

Motorcycle Video Cameras
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More webBikeWorld:
Video Action Camera Reviews
Intercom and Radio Reviews

wBW Review: ReplayXD Prime X Action Camera
Manufacturer: ReplayXD
List Price (2015): $299.99
Colors: Black
Made In: Unknown (Not listed)
Sizes: N/A
Review Date: February 2015
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From "H.S." (May 2015): "I am on my 3rd month of using the Prime X camera. I have it wired into my daily driver.

I used the app to set it up but that was the last time I needed the app. I set it to record when I have the car on (Auto Power Start/Stop) and overwrite old files on the SD card.

I must say in terms of image quality its head and shoulders above my last dash cam. I am looking forward to the next camera from these guys. The quality of replay has always impressed me."


From "K.M." (February 2015): "Hi, I just received my ReplayXD Prime X yesterday and was a bit reluctant about linking it to my Android Galaxy Note 2 after reading your review.

But after unpacking and doing the firmware update 1st then having a play about with the Prime X to get familiar with the controls, I downloaded the ReplayXD app to my phone and low and behold it all seems to be working fine.

You can get a real time view (which will be good for setting up the camera on the bike) and download and watch video you have taken. All in all (though it's early days) I am very pleased with this camera.

Will report any problems I come across.

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