The Noise Play 2 is shaking up the status quo

There is a phenomenon that happens when a manufacturer gains a monopoly over a certain category in the gadget market — every product in the category is automatically associated with that manufacturer, whether or not they produced it. An example is how, to the untrained eye, every MP3 player was an iPod and every tablet an iPad. We’re seeing a similar phenomenon in action cameras as well. If you have one in your shooting setup, most people are likely to point and ask which GoPro it is.

However, unlike MP3 players and tablets, the action camera market still has some life in it, although for anyone looking for a budget GoPro alternative, relying on unknown Chinese makers was usually the go-to option.

This is where Noise is trying to disrupt things. The manufacturer, known for making affordable smartwatches, has graduated to action cameras, and their second-generation offering, the Play 2, comes packed to the gills with features, backed up by a solid price tag.

What am I looking at?

The Noise Play 2 is shaking up the status quo

The Noise Play 2 is a compact action camera that sports a 16MP f2.8 aperture sensor. The device is about the expected size for an action camera, though rather dense, most likely due to the removable 1,200mAh battery it sports. The camera comes in all-black and is made of textured plastic, with a power button on the front and a record button on the top right hand side. It also has two LED lights on the front and near its 2-inch touchscreen to help identify which mode it is in, and whether recording is in progress, which can come in handy if you are on the move and want to check the status. These LEDs can be switched off in the settings, if required. The side of the camera houses microSD and microHDMI slots, along with a miniUSB port for charging and data transfer. These ports are exposed and the camera itself is not water-resistant, although Noise sells a waterproof housing for the Play 2 separately, which we highly recommend getting, as the last thing you need is for water and dust to do a number on those exposed ports.

Coming to the sensor, it can shoot upto 4K at 24 fps, 1080p at 60 fps and up to 240 fps if you are willing to settle for VGA resolution. The Play 2 also gets built-in WiFi to allow for remote control and video export through the Play 2 app. Now, for some reason, said app has abysmal ratings on the Google Play store, but in our experience it worked exactly as advertised, allowing us to see a live view, toggle resolution and shoot on the fly. Importing videos to smartphone storage was also a breeze. The one gripe we did have was with the memory card slot, which requires some fiddling to get the card to seat properly, which is not ideal for a quick card change on the go.

How does it shoot?

The Noise Play 2 is shaking up the status quo

For a budget camera, the Play 2 shoots really good video. We tried it out in a variety of situations, and on a couple of short motorcycle rides, and the camera reproduced really crisp video for the most part. Image stabilisation is solid, even when mounted to a helmet or directly on to a handlebar, though we did find ourselves sacrificing the extra resolution for the buttery smoothness of 60 fps in 1080p mode, while on the go. For everything else, 4K works well. The wide angle lens captures a fair amount of the surroundings, and the camera also has a Wide Dynamic Range mode, which was able to keep up as we rode through Bengaluru’s shady lanes, handling sudden patches of sunlight and shadow, without losing much detail.

The Play 2 also has a handy slow-mo and timelapse mode, with further granular tweaks available to get the kind of feel the user wants. Both of these performed up to expectations, with no visible tearing or artifacts cropping up. The camera does begin to warm up slightly when recording over five minutes at a stretch, and we found that when riding with it in the housing, this caused some fogging within the housing, causing the video to soften out over time. Also, while the Play 2 has an in-built mic, sound quality leaves something to be desired.

The Noise Play 2 is shaking up the status quo

Anything else?

Yes, that price tag. The Play 2 is priced at a very affordable ₹9,999, and you can get it bundled with the housing and a memory card for ₹11,699. We recommend buying the basic accessory bundle with the camera however, which gives you the housing and a set of basic bases and mounts and adhesives for ₹12,299, offering fantastic value for money. For more serious video people, there’s also a 30-in-1 accessory set with even more bells and whistles sold for ₹2,199.

Should I get it?

If you are new at vlogging and video production and need an action camera in your setup for a budget price, the Play 2 is a hard proposition to beat. It offers an exciting array of features and reliable performance at a price that is hard to pass up.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 9:38:17 PM |

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