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As a rule, I try not to take life too seriously, so it’s always a pleasure to review a product that has the same spunky attitude. Enter the Polaroid Cube. This little cutey doesn’t wrap itself in cotton wool for fear of scratching its expensive anodised aluminium or its whopping great lens. No, the Cube is so spikey, so ready to rumble that I’d feel quite happy juggling with three of them in the air at once. The footage wouldn’t be recommended for those who get motion sickness easily, though…

 

Cheap and Cheerful… But Not Crap

Basically, the Cube is a cheap action (although not THAT cheap) video camera. Throw away any thoughts of putting it up against a GoPro, because it’s a totally different proposition. You only need to see that it’s available in black, red and blue with a retro-rainbow stripe round the sides to know that its style is utterly alien to the cool, somewhat understated Hero series.

Finished in a rubbery texture, this eyeball-sized device (it really is that small) has just the one button, no screen, no navigation and you’ll need a coin – yes, a coin – to open up the back to remove your micro-SD card or plug in a charger.

 

Whoop! There it is…

Some people have compared the Polaroid Cube unfavourably with smartphone cameras… but they’re kinda missing the point. The Cube costs about a fifth of the most expensive mobiles on the market and won’t break if you shout “Boo!” into its aperture. It’s a knockabout, fun thing. Unlike some smartphones.

Everything about it screams child (or¬†gravitationally challenged) friendly, from the cost to the magnetic bottom that’ll let you attach it to all kinds of weird and wonderful steel or iron surfaces. Car? Check. Spoon? You bet. The imagination can run wild. There’s a lot of scope for kids to mess around with the Cube without you worrying that they’ll trash it or keep needing you to buy mounts.

One quick thing – whilst the Polaroid Cube is splash-proof, it’s not waterproof. If that seems like a funny distinction… it just means that there’s no guarantees it’ll survive a trip to bottom of a swimming pool (unless you have bought one of the mounts).

 

Eye of the Beholder

What else to say? The Footage!

You can shoot video with the Cube in 1080p or 720p mode (it is an action video camera afterall), so it’s not top of the range but it certainly remains respectable, and you’ll get 60 frames per second out of it too for any slowmo shots. At 124 degrees, it’s a wide-angle lens for capturing lots of action, but of course there’s no zoom. The Cube can also take 6MP still photos that often turn out surprisingly well, whilst the microphone does a solid job of capturing sound.

If you insist on comparing it a more expensive GoPro, you’ll notice that the Polaroid Cube offers rather more excitable colour levels and that it struggles to deal with rapidly changing light conditions. It isn’t going to give you exquisite results, but if content is more important than finesse, it’ll do a great job. Don’t bother using the magnet to attach the Cube to your bike’s handlebars because the footage will prove extremely bumpy.

 

Ready, Shoot, Action

With no screen, you might be wondering how you’re supposed to know if it’s on. Answer: there’s a small LED that will glow or flash depending on what you’re doing. Bright sunlight can make it difficult to make out, but it’s a minor thing. The camera will also beep when you change through the modes, which should alert you to any furtive attempts by sprogs to record you unaware.

With a 90 minute battery life, there’s plenty of power to last you through playtime. Bear in mind that you’ll have to purchase your own 32GB (that’s the maximum size) micro-SD card to store footage and because there’s no WiFi capability, the only way to view your directorial exploits is to take off the back and stick the card into a computer. Sort of pleasingly retro in its way.

  • At 3.5 x 3.5 x 3.5 cm and just 9g, this action camera is like an odd cube shaped eyeball.
  • Not only pocket-sized, it comes in three colours (black, blue or red) with the notorious Polaroid retro rainbow stripe – handy for spotting at the bottom of your bag.
  • It wouldnt’t be much of an action camera if it didn’t capture 1920 x 1080 Full HD footage.
  • If 1080p doesn’t float your boat, there’s also a 720p (1280×720) video capture mode for less memory zapping format.
  • Both formats make use of the 124 degree wide angle lens (F 2.0, f=3.4mm).
  • You can even capture still images at a rather respectable 6MP in JPEG format.
  • While the magnetic base lets you get creative without having to carry heavy kit – perfect for impromptu video shoots (just make sure it’s charged).
  • Speaking of which, Polaroid Cube has a fairly impressive 90 minute battery life thanks to its lithium battery.
  • No WiFi or internal memory, but there is a 2.0 USB port plus Micro-SD slot (up to 32GB is supported – ‘Class 10’ SD recommended) for all your import / export / connectivity needs – dandy!
  • For those into watersports, the Polaroid Cube is only weatherproof… But! Can become waterproof up to 10 metres with the waterproof case (sold separately).
  • Worried about the lack of an LCD screen, don’t be. The LED Indicator lets you know when you are recording – Green = On, Red = Recording, Orange = Low Battery.
  • And no risk of it turning on in your bag either. To turn it on, you need to hold down the button. The Cube will then beep to let you know it’s good to go.
  • Switching modes is easy too. Once on, tap once for a still image, double tap for video with one tap at the end to stop recording and hold down the button to power off – easy peasy.

 

What’s in the Box…

  • Polaroid Cube Action Video Camera
  • User Guide
  • Micro USB to USB 2.0 Data / Charging¬†Cable

Polaroid Cube Action Video Camera
The Polaroid Cube is, undoubtedly, a limited camera. Thing is, it's been designed to be that way rather than as an all-singing, all-dancing, excessively complicated gizmo. As a consequence it's hard not like it. Great for the gravitationally challenged (AKA children and clumsy people).
Design95%
Usability90%
Image Quality61%
Video Quality80%
Sound Quality85%
82%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)
77%