Polaroid's tiny HD action cam is style and substance

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Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

Polaroid has unveiled three new action cameras at CES, including an adorable 35-millimetre mountable cube that embodies the spirit of the brand's retro styling.

(Credit: Lexy Savvides/CNET)

Polaroid's Socialmatic instant-printing camera may not be quite market-ready yet, but that doesn't mean the company doesn't have anything else up its sleeve: it seems to be making a more serious bid for the action-cam market, with three new models on show on the CES floor.

Of the three models, the most eye-catching is the C³, a tiny, 35-millimetre cube that comes in three colours sporting the Polaroid rainbow. But it's more than just a cutesy face: packed inside is a five-megapixel CMOS sensor with a 120-degree lens that can record video in high-definition 1280x720p, as well as standard definition 640x480p. Still images can be snapped in 1.3, 3.0 and 5.0 megapixels — not the best, to be sure, but not shabby for its form factor — and has 2MB of on-board memory, expandable via 32GB micro SD.

(Credit: Polaroid)

On the market now for US$179.99 is the XS100i, an upgrade to last year's XS100. It's added Wi-Fi to the camera with iOS and Android apps, so that you can adjust settings using your smartphone, watch video in real time and share videos instantly. The ultra-wide lens offers 170 degrees of coverage, and it can shoot video in 1080p, 960p and 720p. A 16-megapixel sensor allows still images to be taken in three, five and 16 megapixels, and the camera is waterproof to 10 metres and shockproof. It's 32MB of on-board memory is expandable via 32GB micro SD.

The XS1000i is a step up again. Not available yet, it adds to the XS100i with anti-shake technology and a gyro sensor for image stabilisation. Action footage can be filmed at 1080p and 960p at 30 frames per second, and 720p at 60 frames per second, and different modes allow users to capture still shots and action footage simultaneously.

"Polaroid is all about capturing fun, in the moment images and video from the user's unique point of view and that is what this fast growing sports action camera category does the best," Polaroid President and CEO Scott W Hardy said. "With these cameras, whether it may be biking, skiing, snowboarding or surfing, we want to provide users the ability to capture and share their finest moments and moves with the best possible coverage, at vantage points like no other."

Pricing and availability for the C³ and XS1000i are yet to be announced.

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