Xplova X5 (hands on) review: This cycling computer records video when your heart says so

Cycling computers and cameras aren’t new, but I’ve never seen a device with both features onboard before. Acer put an end to this today by launching the world’s first bike computer with a camera built in.

That’s pretty novel, but the Xplova X5 has one more killer feature: the 720p camera is able to automatically record video when your heart rate reaches a certain level. Other key features include IPX7 water resistance and a transflective colour screen, so it’s readable in direct sunlight.

Xplova X5: Camera

The heart-rate trigger only works when you wear a compatible heart-rate monitor, but the benefits are clear. First, you save on storage space, and second, you never have to worry about enabling the camera as it’s always switched on. The Xplova X5 will even stitch your clips together for you at the end of your ride so you can share them over social media. 

This could be useful if you’re working hard to reach the summit of a hill, peddling hard to overtake, or when something dangerous happens on the road. Having video evidence of a crash could be very useful, too.

You can, of course, also turn video recording on manually, and the Xplova X5 even has a feature that allows you to use pre-set GPS co-ordinates to enable recording on well-known scenic routes.

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Xplova X5: Dashboard

So much for the headline features. The Xplova X5 is also a bike computer, and despite the daft name, it looks like a pretty good one at that. As you’d expect, the main dashboard shows current stats such as your heart rate, current speed, cadence, elapsed time and distance.

There’s also a strong navigation element to the Xplova’s talents, including the option for turn-by-turn satnav. However, what’s more exciting is the community side of things. If you, and your chapter of bike mates, fully buy into the Xplova setup, you can see live stats on team performance during a race or a training session.

Sadly, though, this appears to be a feature that is locked into the Xplova products only. Support for third-party platforms open to users of other cycling computers may well have been a better option.

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Xplova X5: User interface

There’s a lot to like about the X5. It’s attractive, lightweight and seems simple to use. Its touchscreen is reasonably responsive (although nowhere near as good as a smartphone), and also includes physical buttons, a feature that’s essential when you’re bouncing around on potholed streets with gloves on. The onscreen map looks dated, though – I’d hope for something more modern-looking in 2016. 

No price has been quoted for Xplova X5 yet, but we do know it’s set to launch in Q3. What do you think of it? Let us know in the comments section below.

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