Hitting the Mountain Bike Trails With the Mophie OutRide

Tech Test Lab Review

Product: Mophie OutRide for iPhone 4/4s
Price: $149.95
Rating: Recommend*

The Mophie OutRide was designed with one thing in mind: outdoor action. The hard case OutRide converts the iPhone into a 170 degree wide-angle action sports camera, complete with secure mounting kit for both dry and water based sports. Unfortunately, my mountain biking and snowboard days are over and I didn't have an iPhone 4/4s to test the unit out, so I turned to some a friend with younger knees and a love of bombing downhills to get his hands-on impressions about recording while riding with the Mophie OutRide...

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Out of the box impressions:
I'm a huge believer that the product packaging should be a natural extension of the product itself. In my opinion, Mophie does a great job in this area, everything from the outside layer to the organization of the accessories and mounting options within was superb.

The case housing the iPhone is also well constructed: a durable exterior with an open/close latch which takes a bit of force to open; the tough to open case isn't necessarily bad considering the intended use, since the waterproof rubber lining ensures tight tolerances. Mophie claims a 16ft test with the watersports back installed (I did a full water submerge for about 30 seconds successfully without damaging the iPhone).

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Riding with the Mophie Outride: I put the OutRide through its paces on 3 separate trail rides. Out of the box, I immediately noticed how easy it was to setup; it took no more than 5 minutes to mount the hardware designed specific for handlebar mounting. Once installed, I was off to go, no additional instructions required.

One of my biggest gripes in the past dealing with other action cams such as the GoPro and Contour is the lack of a viewport. When using these hugely popular action-oriented cams, I never had a good sense of which angle I was recording upon initial setup. This was never an issue with the OutRide as the front of your iPhone is fully exposed. Combined with the 170 degree fisheye lens you can get some pretty interesting angles and perspectives while recording your video.

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One notable feature is the single button operation on the case, giving easy access to the volume control and allowing iPhone users to take photos or start recording a video without fumbling with controls. This subtle feature is a huge relief when you're out and in the moment, you hit the button to start / stop, with no need to take off the gloves and use the touch screen or take the phone out of the case.

Out on the ride, the mount and case was solid; I tested over a variety of terrain ranging from mellow to fairly technical at varying speeds as well, I never had a single slip-up, everything was as I had initially setup. My only gripe with the setup is the bulkiness, its noticeable when mounted on top of the handlebar (i kept it mounted under, hence the view of the tires), every rider has a preference, most riders I know do not prefer gadgets / units to obstruct the view of their tires.

Footage Results:
The OutRide actually turns your phone into the most expensive action cam on the market if you take into account the monthly data fee. The key is that it transforms your beloved iPhone into the most expensive action cam, since your iPhone wasn't designed to be an action cam like a GoPro or Contour some of the shortcomings start to show up in the footage.

The 4s shoots beautiful 1080p HD quality videos, as evidenced by my footage (be sure to switch to 720/1080 playback resolution); fairly mellow trails show up just fine through the OutRide. However, once you start to hit the more technical sections at higher speeds, everything becomes a bit hazy, literally. I can almost compare it to an old school television set losing reception. And this is where the comparison to say a GoPro or a Contour is unfair, as those devices were designed for these types of activities. Unfortunately the only thing holding back the OutRide is the Apple designed hardware/software housed inside, something which Mophie has no real control over. Still I was very satisfied at the overall result, footages came out beautifully for the most part, the 4s did a very good job in varying lighting conditions and at fairly high speeds.

Another thing to note is the audio recording is muffled; this largely has to do with the cases fully sealed enclosure around the speakers of the phone. The majority, if not all of my raw footage, produced nothing but a collection of whirls and random ticking noises from my rides. A small trade-off considering the majority of people editing the final footage tend to overlay music where needed.

Pros: Excellent craftsmanship and build quality; easily accessible action volume button to start / stop recording or photo-taking; extensive range of mounting options with confidence inspiring build quality; crisp clear 170 degree fish eye lens;nice community app for sharing adventures

Cons: Does not record sound well; the extra 1 pound weight can feel bulky.

Our Ratings:
Strong Recommend
Recommend*
Weak Recommend
Don't Recommend

Thanks to Charles Kim Jr!

(Images and review: Charles Kim Jr.)

Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. This specific product was provided by reviewer for testing and review purposes.

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