Contour's line-topping Contour+ HD sports camera would have been one of our favorites, but we hesitated to recommend it because Contour's own less-expensive cameras, the ContourGPS and the ContourRoam, were cheaper, more rugged, and easier to use.
With the debut of the Contour+2, the replacement for the previous flagship model, the camera maker draws from the lessons that it's learned with all of its previous action cameras, giving it a lower price and even picking up a few tricks from the competition.
The Contour+2 uses the same design as every Contour camera, going back to the VholdR ContourHD of 2009. It's a tube shape measuring 3.86 inches by 2.36 inches by 1.34 inches. The business end of the device is home to an ultrawide-angle HD camera with a 170-degree field of view. Just above the six-element glass lens is an LED that projects a red line for leveling the lens with its 270-degree rotating barrel.
On the bottom edge you'll find a discrete microphone input beneath a rubber cap and threaded tripod that Contour first added to its cameras with the launch of the entry-level ContourRoam camera last year.
The unit's back door features a status button, also borrowed from the ContourRoam, that illuminates color-coded status lights for battery level, memory space, and GPS lock. There are also rubber flaps that act as pass-throughs for the HDMI and Mini-USB ports behind the rear door. Open the door and you'll reveal the removable, rechargeable battery, microSD card slot, bi-mode switch, and a format button that wipes the SD card.
On the top of the camera tube is the Instant On-Record switch, borrowed again from the ContourRoam. Slide this switch forward to power on the camera and start capture; slide it back to stop and power down. What's new about this record switch is it has its own lock switch that prevents accidental activation while the Contour+2 bounces around in your backpack. Just ahead of the slider is the simplified Bluetooth activation button, which we'll get back to later, and the aforementioned LED indicators showing battery, card capacity, and GPS status.
On either side of the Contour+2 unit are its rail mounts, which are unchanged and compatible with all previous Contour mounting accessories.
Also in the box with the Contour+2 camera are a 4GB microSD card with SD size adapter, a microphone extension cable and an HDMI cable, an adhesive low-profile surface mount and a rotating mount with two adhesive pads and safety leash, a rubber lens cap, and a Contour vinyl decal.
One of the best new inclusions in the Contour+2 package is a waterproof, clear plastic case. This was previously available as a separate purchase, but it's now included in the box, bringing the Contour+2's ruggedness on par with the likes of the GoPro HD Hero2 and the upcoming Sony Action Cam and Action Cam Wi-Fi. The Contour+2 itself is weather-resistant -- you can use it in the rain or snow without worrying about moisture -- but in the case, it gains the capability to survive being submerged up to 60 meters (196.85 feet). The case also adds an extra level of shock resistance, features pass-through controls for the record switch and status button, and retains the compatibility with rail mounts and tripod mounts.