Gear Spotlight: Liquid Image Torque Series 1080p Goggle Cam

By Bradley Iger

March 26, 2014

What Is It?
Along with the EGO action cam we reviewed earlier this month, another standout in Liquid Image's lineup of action cams is the Torque series goggle cameras. To the uninitiated, the Torque cam looks just like any other pair of motocross goggles, but closer inspection will reveal the 1080p camera embedded just above the user's eyeline, allowing the camera to capture everything the user sees in full HD resolution. 
Things We Like
The most immediate and obvious advantage the Torque has over something like a mounted GoPro cam or Liquid Image EGO camera is that the POV perspective is built directly into the design. There's no need to mount the camera using some sort of convoluted system of mounts or straps that's inevitably too high, too low, or off center from the driver/rider's perspecrtive - the Torque inherently provides a true POV experience.
To boot, the Torque's visual fidelity is well above average, with sharp focus and a vivid color palette that make its footage standout among action cams. Liquid Image also thought to build into the Torque both physical and software-based wind cancellation technologies which result in audio quality near the top of the range for built-in action cam microphones.

The Torque offers 4 modes: 1080p at 30 frames per second , 720p at 60 frames per second, still photo mode and continuous photo mode. For video footage, we liked having the option between the sharper 1080p and the more fluid looking 720p modes, as each serves a specific purpose depending on the situation you're using the camera in. The photo modes are nice to have in a pinch, though we'd still probably opt for a dedicated still photo camera for photography duty if given the option.
Built to emulate motocross goggles as closely as possible, the Torque cam is also lightweight, durable, and has great weight balance, with the battery stowed away to one side of the strap and the controls, USB and HDMI ports, LCD display, and microSD card slot all housed together on the opposite side. As a whole package, the Torque goggles do not feel fragile, and the important stuff is well secured to prevent damage.
Things We Don't Like
We use these goggles to film the POV test drive videos on the Winding Road YouTube channel, so it's a safe assumption that we like the Torque. But the more seat time we have with these goggles, the more we notice its eccentricities. For instance, if you switch between 1080p and 720p mode, you'll notice that the 1080p mode is zoomed in noticeably more than 720p. It's not dramatic, but if you're shooting footage with the goal of emulating a first person perspective as closely as possible, you'll find that 720p does a better job of providing it, as any close-up elements of the footage that you want to include will be cropped out more in 1080p than in 720p because of that slightly zoomed in view.
Another small item of contention that relates to the point of view is the camera's vertical adjustability. While the camera's mounting bracket features 30 degrees of vertical adjustment, that adjustment is only upward from its default position. So if you're on the taller side (like your author) and you need to aim the camera further down to compensate for it, your only option is to wear the goggles as low on your face as possible. For that reason, we would have really liked to have seen an option to adjust the camera's perspective 30 degrees downward as well.
Also, while the $100 premium for the inclusion of the WIFI feature found on the 369 goggles may seem unnecessary, we would deem that feature crucial to getting the best results from these goggles. Beyond giving you the ability to check your footage and adjust perspective using your smartphone or tablet with Liquid Image's free app, the app also includes the ability to manually adjust exposure settings and check how they affect your footage before setting off to film. On the non-WIFI goggles, you simply cannot adjust your exposure settings - it's all done automatically by the camera's internal software. This can sometimes cause over or under exposure issues if you're in a dark area (like a car) and trying to film something that's bright (like the view outside the windshield). Having the ability to adjust the exposure manually solves this, but it can only be accomplished on the WIFI-enabled 369 model Torque goggles.
Bottom Line
If shooting the most true-to-life POV video possible is your primary goal, the Liquid Image Torque series goggles are pretty tough to beat. They're not without imperfection, but in terms of video and audio fidelity, perspective and feature set, they're certainly capable of delivering great results.
For our money, the 369's extra WIFI features, including the aforementioned manual exposure control, is definitely worth the price premium. Either way, both the 368 and 369 model Liquid Image Torque 1080p goggles offer the ability to capture the action in a way few other cameras are capable of.

Liquid Image Torque 1080p Goggle Cam
1080p@30fps HD video, 720p@60fps HD video, 12MP photo mode, continuous photo mode, WIFI (369 model only), iOS and Android apps, lithium battery
Mini USB, mini HDMI, microSD
What's Included
1 Torque Series Video/Camera Goggle, 1 Clear MX Lens, Replaceable Face Foam (installed in goggle), Micro Fiber Bag, 1150 mAh Rechargeable Battery, USB Cable, Tear Sheets, Tear Sheet Strap Clip, Nose Guard, 4GB Micro SD card, User Manual, Hex Wrench, Accessory Sheet, and Warranty Card