Replay XD 1080 Review


Camera Usage
Depending on what mount is being used, set the preferred tilt angle by sighting down the camera body, and then rotates the camera body until the alignment lines on the lens are horizontal to your field of view. The power and record buttons always point to 12 o’clock.  Since you don’t have an external display device you’ll need to guesstimate the proper lens rotation and tilt, and using the above method seems to result in proper footage.

To turn the camera on, press and hold the front power button (i.e. On/Off) for 2 seconds and release, and the camera will vibrate 3 times and the rearward LED by that button will turn blue. The vibration is pretty distinctive and strong, and you can easily feel it through full faced and XC/AM helmets. To begin recording, press and hold the rear button (i.e. Record) for 2 seconds and then release, and the camera will vibrate three times, and it will begin recording in the chosen resolution and mode, in either videos or photos. To stop recording, press and hold the record button for 4 seconds and then release, and it will vibrate once to announce that the recording has completed. If you hit the record button quickly, it will stop the current recording and start a new one, and it will vibrate 3 times to inform you that it’s clipping and saving a file (they call it “Quick-Clip”). To turn the camera off, hold the power button for 4 seconds and release, and it will vibrate once and shutdown. If the camera is recording, hitting the power button doesn’t accomplish anything, as this prevents accidental loss of footage.

To change the video resolution or photo intervals of the camera, you remove the rear screw cap, and use the FPS and Mode buttons to make alterations, and a set of LEDs will indicate what the results are. Depending on what the last chosen video resolution or photo interval, hitting the Mode button cycles the settings from 1080p, to 960p, 720p and Photo, etc., ad nauseum. If the 720p and Photo modes are highlighted, then the FPS button can be used, altering the 720p between 30fps and 60fps, and the Photo between 3, 5, 15 and 30 seconds.

The back of the screw cap has a list of the menu options (a.k.a., the cheat sheet) that can be initiated from the rear of the camera, but it’s tough to read the small print. The manual for the camera does explain the resolution and mode changes for video and photos, but the colors in the LED diagram are extremely difficult to discern. Fortunately, once you have played with the Mode and FPS buttons and understand the LED color pattern, it’s pretty simple to make the proper changes.

Advanced Settings
Although the camera’s global default mode, features and settings are pretty decent and robust, you may need additional fine tuning for specific requirements. You can alter those global camera settings, which includes video, audio, lighting and other customizable feature settings, by updating a text file that resides on the root directory of the microSD card. You can set the parameters for bit rate quality (high, medium, low), white balance (auto, 2800K – 10000K), sharpness (1-5), metering weighting (spot, center, avg), exposure (-4 to +4), contrast (1-255), and saturation (0 – 127), etc. I always left the bit rate high and sharpness at 4-5, since I didn’t worry about resource issues (battery and memory), and I wanted the highest quality output possible. I left most everything else as factory default, unless I played with the lighting settings, for dealing with the dimmer light conditions or when the ride was going to be predominantly in the deep dark woods.

To alter the settings, you mount the microSD by any method desired, open up the XD1080.txt text file, edit it as required (set the Update Flag to Y), and then close it. To load the new settings into the camera, power it up and then press record button to propagate the settings. I created several microSD cards with different global settings, and I can change the camera operational aspects by swapping the different ones in and out. It’s not the most eloquent method, though it works just fine and its particular useful when you want to switch the camera for low light usage.

The camera comes with the HeimLock adjustable and LowBoy fixed mounts, plus two stick-on flat and curved base SnapTrays. The SnapTrays can be used at various locations, dependent on personal requirements and helmet shape and design, and they’re especially useful for non vented or low vent count helmets, such as ski, full faced, skateboard, BMX and some All Mountain designs. Unfortunately, some sort of vented helmet mount system is not currently available, which would be comprised of a strap and an attached SnapTrays, which is a big bummer for the average mountain biker, who typically wears a vented helmet.

The optional handlebar or seatpost mount works decently once it’s set up properly, and the rugged aluminum system, which uses a separate handlebar and camera clamp, lets you point it just about anywhere, and since it directly attaches to the camera, no SnapTrays is required. The mount comes in several different clamp diameters, so it can cover bars and seatposts from 1/2″ to 2″, although it does require getting a different clamp since they are size specific.

About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on the trail.

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  • BOOCMOS says:

    Great review re operations, but the most important thing to review when reviewing CMOS cameras is how bad the rolling shutter (jello-vision, etc.) problem is — all will unfortunately have this to some degree… I was hoping for info on this, esp. as previous reviews showed that this cam was particularly good at minimizing this horrible effect.

    If you can speak to this in your future comparo that would be great — and also whether the new entries from JVC etc. will be more pro-level and ditch the CMOS entirely (finally).

  • BOOCMOS says:

    Oh, sorry, one more thing: any idea if they will have a chest-mount available?

    While it is odd that there’s no included helmet mount (just cuz it’s so easy!), truth be told, for the most awesome MTB POV video, the helmet is just the worst place for a camera: there’s no frame of reference at all/no idea what’s really going on; less sense of speed; it’s too high, floaty, and cartoony — like a third-person video game type view (great for scenery I guess).

    A chest-mount (GoPro’s only best feature IMHO) really puts you in the action (best with 135 view). Seatpost looking fwd/bck pretty cool too.

    All three viewpoints are even better if you’re following/leading someone at ridiculous speeds ;-)

    • Brian Mullin says:

      BOOCMOS => They currently don’t have a chest mount, but they do have some new mounts coming out shortly, which we should have shortly for testing?

      In regards to JVC, it’s still a CMOS (cost effective and less energy usage): “Digital image stabilization minimizes camera shake, and the camera includes rolling shutter cancellation that corrects the image skewing that can occur with CMOS image sensors. The result is distortion-free images, even during fast-moving scenes.”

      Note, that CMOS technology has come a long way, and many high priced camcorders now use CMOS instead of CCD. Pixel count and image size is quite important, and due to the small size of the sports POV’s, it’s a tough compromise to get it perfect.

      I will try and stuff something together on the Replay (or my camera shootout) in regards to rolling shutter, etc., but like any of the cameras, stay away from 1080p, and the issues aren’t as bad. I didn’t add it to my review this time since

  • Jay says:

    The camera is alright. Their support sucks. Never a response for any help. It has very limited compatability for video editors.

  • Eldon Richardson says:

    Purchased a replad xd 720 and it lasted for about 5 hours and would NOT charge and would not run with power cable plugged in either. Sent back to be repaired, the service department told me there was nothing wrong with the unit and they sent back to me. When I got it back it would charge but would NOT record on battery power only but would record when the power cord was used. Service department told me this was caused by the SD card I was using.. Anyway when this unit was at service department I ordered a replay XD 1080 It records good using the battery or the power cord using the SD card the service department told me was the problem. There is a problem with the 1080 unit also, I can not switch the mike input from internal or external mode. So bottom line is I got two unit with problems and when I filled out the service ticket on the 1080 unit about a week ago I have not heard from them.. I do NOT recommend these unit to anyone, they do not know the meaning of service… DON’T BUY THESE UNITS!!!!!!!! Spend your money on a different camera!!

    • Roadplough says:

      There is mention somewhere on the Replay web site that an SD card needs to be formatted either in-cam or by using the proper SD card formatting software (free).
      Had all sorts of problems before learning that, no faults since.

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