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Appeared on: Friday, May 13, 2005
Octave Multipod


1. Introduction

back in February 2005, announced the Multipod 5in1, a device that combines both portable storage and photographic/video recording features along with webcam and voice recorder. Octave, kindly offered us a sample unit for testing. For us, such small device with so many features seemed at very least intriguing as well as interesting ...

- What is the Multipod?

As we said, the Multipod is a digital camera, web camera, video camera, audio recorder and 128MB portable storage device. It does all of this in a three-quarter ounce shell case that's the size of a disposable cigarette lighter.

According to Octave the product main features are:

Below you can see the product specifications, as posted on the Multipod web site

Video

Pictures

Audio Recording

Lens

Battery


2. Retail package

For our review, Octave provided us with a retail package which includes the Multipod 5 in1 itself, a Flexible USB cable for connecting to the PC and when using it as a webcam, a storage pouch, a software CD and lastly, a necklace cable.

The device is very small in dimensions and includes an optical viewer for taking pictures and videos, two buttons at the back (Mode/Snap), an LCD and a LED (amber/yellow/green/black) displays. When you remove the cap, the USB1/2.0 connection is revealed. On the front, we have the lens with focal length of 4.5mm.

Below are the LCM display's various indicators, corresponding to the various modes


3. Using the device - Page 1

The user has to to install the web camera drivers and application, if they wish to use the Multipod Video recording functions (either as Web Camera or convert the captured videos to ASF format).

The internal Lithium-Polymer battery charges when the user attaches the device to a computer USB port. Octave suggests to charge for a minimum of 2.5 hours before using for the first time.

Lets now see how to operate each mode:

The above screenshot shows more or less how the Movie Clip capture mode works. You can view a sample recorded video here (4.2MB). The recording quality is acceptable, if you consider the device's size and the limited focal length/aperture.

The recorded videos are in STJ format, you have to install the eDVR Create software in order to convert them to a playable (ASF) format.

After installing the software, it auto registers the .STJ extension so you only have to double click on the file and the covert wizard loads and prompts you where to store the produced ASF file.


4. Using the device - Page 2

Setting it to Hi quality, we took several pictures, mostly with good daylight and again the image quality was average to acceptable. You can view several samples (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). The device produces very bad pictures during night time or with limited light, so this is something you have to consider.

The Audio recording mode produces .WAV files (sample), with good quality, considering the low sampling rate.

When you connect the Multipod 5 in 1 to the computer USB port, it is automatically recognized by the system (for Win98 you will have to install the included drivers).

Once connected, we can browse the contents of the Multipod, view stored pictures, videos and audio clips, and of course with drag & drop, add files or store them onto the device to transferor to another PC.


5. Using the device - Page 3

Using HD Tach RW, we were able to measure the device's performance in both reading/writing.

Unfortunately, the Multipod 5 in1 doesn't seem to use the USB2.0 full bandwidth since it reached only 0.5MB/sec reading and 0.4MB/sec writing. The Random Access time is also high (355.4ms), with very low CPU utilization. However, we also don't know of any device on the market that does use the USB2 standard for memory disks. ?????

For using the device as a Web Cam, you have first to install the included drivers...

Lastly, the setting to Hi/Lo and formatting the memory drive...


6. Conclusion

Octave's Multipod 5in1 device is a digital camera, web camera, video camera, audio recorder and 128MB portable storage device. The device's design is very simple and its very small dimensions make it ideal for all those who want to have a portable storage device with some neat features included. The retail package includes all the needed accessories, the USB cable, the drivers and a carrying pouch for safe transportation.

The device does work according to the specifications and can capture video, pictures and audio with of course the limitations for such small device. Under daylight, we found the captured video and pictures to be of acceptable quality, while under low light and during night, the device produces many artifacts. There is no special day/night mode, neither marco modes, which means this device is not exactly for professionals.

A very neat feature of the device is the included rechargeable battery that charges from the USB cable, so you don't have to look for replaceable AAA batteries. The price for the device ( MSRP) US$149.99, is rather high especially for a user who only needs a portable storage device, since at such price you can find 512Mb or even higher memory drives. If you need a portable storage device with some extra features, like video, photo and audio recording, then you have limited choices available and Octave's Multipod 5in1 would be a good solution for you.

- The Good

- The Bad

- Like To Be Fixed

Retail Package
Design/Build Quality
Performance
Value For Money


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