By Andrew Liszewski
Just because I’m a gadget blogger and have an affinity towards all things high-tech, doesn’t necessarily mean I think everything needs to be upgraded. I still happily use a manual toothbrush, the fan in my bedroom still has blades, and I find it hard to believe that a $180 bike-mounted camera system could outperform a simple mirror.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this Owl 360 setup doesn’t work as advertised. It consists of a small CMOS camera you mount below your bike seat — pointing backwards of course — which feeds a live video signal to a 3.5-inch LCD display mounted to your handlebars. A 3.7V lithium polymer battery provides about 5 hours of use on a single charge (probably less when it’s cold outside) and also powers a ring of ten LEDs around the camera lens, making the rider more visible at night. Since the LCD display would probably be stolen faster than it takes for you to lock your bike up, it easily detaches from the handlebar via a hotshoe mount, allowing you to leave the cabling in place.
But, again, while certainly ‘high-tech’, I can’t see how this would outperform a simple rear-view mirror, which doesn’t need to be charged I might add. Perhaps if the camera had a generous wide-angle lens so you could take in everything behind you it would be worthy of consideration, but that certainly doesn’t seem to be the case here.