$299 | www.gopro.com | four stars
The GoPro is a near-perfect pocket-sized video camera that shoots surprisingly great 1080p high def, and takes nifty wide-angle photos at a respectable 5 megapixels. The camera itself runs on a rechargeable battery (just plug it into your computer) and lasts about a day. The video is great, and so is the sound quality.
A number of accessories accompany the camera, including a case that allows the GoPro to be mounted to a helmet (or wherever). The camera also comes with a waterproof casing that I am anxious to take deep-water soloing. The camera spits out mp4s, which I had some trouble importing into Final Cut, but worked well with iMovie.
I took the GoPro skiing and climbing and shot some cool POV footage of what it's like to be me falling off the crag warm-up or wrecking on the local bunny slopes. I found the footage shot from the perspective of my helmet (or chest harness) to be jittery, embarrassing and without much personality. I decided that the video would be improved by making a boom that stuck out from my body and put the film's star -- Me, wonderful Me! -- into the frame. With a little bit of ingenuity, and the cache of accessories that come with this really fun toy, this was no problem.