The Drift Ghost X is a lesser-known camera with impressive battery life and decent picture quality.
It’s a great low-cost option for riders looking to add the safety and security of a camera to their setup.
They’ve become popular enough that we thought we’d do a quick review, letting you know what this camera is all about.
Bottom Line Up Front?
The cheapest of Drift Innovation’s models, the Ghost X is a budget-priced camera. They’ve kept the cost down by limiting resolution to 1080 at 30 frames per second.
This probably won’t suit budding directors who want to edit stunning captures of their rides. But the build quality is solid, it mounts well on a helmet or your bike, and the image quality is good enough to be useful in the event of an accident.
Really, Only 1080?
As we said, this is marketed as an “action camera”. But most riders will be interested in a camera of these specifications for security more than epic picture quality.
These days, people who edit footage for a hobby or social media typically want something with 4k capabilities. Thankfully, we’ve covered 4K options here for anyone interested in a higher-spec camera – read our guide to the best motorbike helmet camera.
Drift Ghost X Technical Breakdown
- Camera dimensions: 43 x 82 x 31.40 mm
- Video Resolutions: 1080p 30/25 fps, 720p 60/50/30/25 fps, WVGA 60/50/30/25 fps
- Sensor: Omnivision OV4689 4MP
- Field of View: 140, 115, 90 degrees
- Photo Resolution: 12 Megapixels
- Storage: Internal (2GB Flash, 1GB DDR), External (128GB Micro SD card – Not included)
At 43 x 82 x 31.4 mm, the Ghost is a compact, lightweight camera. This size and weight make it easy to mount on your helmet or motorcycle.
It has a rubbery, water-resistant cover and large, tactile buttons. A waterproof case is sold separately, and from the accounts of other riders, you’ll need it if you want to use this camera in the rain.
The maximum resolution supported here is 1080 at 30 frames per second. This will give you a clear image with enough information to be useful in the event of an accident.
With the Drift Ghost X, this is true across a wide variety of lighting conditions. The camera does allow you to switch modes for a higher frame rate at the expense of some resolution. At 720p, for example, the camera can capture 60 frames per second.
The Omnivision OV4689 4MP sensor is a mid-level, 4-megapixel camera chip. This sensor captures in native 16:9 format and is comparable to a 5MP CMOS sensor.
It’s nothing especially fancy. But it captures stable, clear images. This sensor is known for capturing good quality, low-light images. This can be important if relying on camera footage to resolve a night-time accident.
Field Of View
The field of view can be set to either 140, 115, or 90 degrees. Most riders will leave it set to 140 degrees as this provides the widest field of view and is most likely to capture an accident. We recommend leaving your forward-facing camera set to the widest field of view possible for safety.
Included are 2GB of internal flash memory, and optional SD cards of up to 128GB are supported. We checked with several brands and had no problem getting the camera to recognise any of the major ones. Remember, the Drift Ghost X ships without an SD card installed.
What’s in the Box?
Besides your camera, you’ll also find a quick start guide, accessories and mounting hardware, stickers. The kit also features an external microphone adapter. This could be useful to people who want to use their camera for off-the-bike projects. The adapter is in the form of a mini USB to 3.5mm female jack.
A USB charging cable and some adhesive pads for attaching the camera are included. One sticky pad is flat, and the other has a curved surface, more suitable for mounting on a helmet. What looks like a small SIM removal tool is also present. This is used to reset the device to factory settings.
The Ghost X is palm-sized, matt black, and lightweight. You can mount the unit in any way that feels right and then twist it, so the lens is correctly aligned.
The rubber buttons are large and deep enough to operate with gloved hands – important for UK riders. The rubber casing feels quality and helps protect the device from minor bumps and knocks.
It’s not waterproof, however. Using this device in the rain without the optional waterproof cover won’t end well. For year-round use, you’ll need to make that extra investment.
The 5-hour battery life offered here is already impressive. But if you want to extend that life out even further, an 8-hour battery is available from Drift as an optional extra.
The battery on the standard model is impressive, though, living up to its claims in our tests. Most commuters don’t need more than a couple of hours to cover filming their ride to and from work. The Ghost X might have enough capacity for several days worth of commuting.
The daylight video we captured in 1080p at 30fps looked clear. Martin Scorsese might reject the footage for use in a film, but you can make out important details like license plate numbers when required.
That said, the colours are vivid, and it’s by no means an overly compressed, ugly image. It’s just not as pretty as those offered by the more expensive competition.
One small area of criticism is how long the sensor takes to adapt to changes in lighting conditions – particularly when moving from a bright area into a darker one. Sometimes, the image appears overexposed for a moment before returning to normal. Not a big deal or a deal-breaker. But we thought we’d mention it.
This is pretty impressive and helped us understand why this has become such a popular budget camera.
A dedicated Low Light mode makes the camera more sensitive to the conditions created by street lights and other night-time artificial light sources. This helps keep the image crisper and clearer in low light without over-exposing the image.
You might not get the most accurate reproduction of colour ever from this thing. But we suspect that’s less important to many of you than the footage being useful for safety and security.
Your camera can be controlled and adjusted using the small display. But this is fiddly and not especially intuitive. An app is included and can be downloaded for Android or IOS.
Managing the settings from this app is significantly easier than with the built-in display, and it allows you to change all the settings, resolutions, frame rates, and bit rates through a well-designed interface.
We like this camera as a solution for commuters. It’s a no-frills offering, sure. But it does all the things we need to make commuting feel a little safer.
The Drift Ghost X won’t win any cinematography awards. But it will capture clear images in a range of lighting conditions that can help protect you from the worst of other people’s driving.