Sports cameras, action cams, and the like are all over. In a world ruled by GoPro, it’s hard to find cameras that come even close to quality. But it looks like Smarson might have done just that. Smarson sent us their Action Sports HD Camera to try out. And I am quite impressed.
When I first got the camera, I definitely hit some road bumps. After attempting to charge it and use it two different times, I only ended up with the camera dying on me after just a couple of seconds of recording. While the camera is USB compatible, it looks like the best way to charge it may be by plugging it into its included wall outlet. I tried charging it with my laptop’s USB port, but it just didn’t cut it.
Once I finally had a full battery, the camera was ready to be put to the test. If you are familiar with using a GoPro camera, you will have no issue using the Smarson Action Cam at all. The housing of the camera is nearly identical to some of the older generations of the GoPro. With the 4 buttons on the camera, you can power it on, cycle through the several video and picture options, as well as navigate through the menus and activate the wi-fi mode; giving you control of the camera from your iPhone or Android device. Unfortunately you cannot playback video to your phone. I thought you could, but we were unable to do it with an iPhone 6 or a Samsung Note 5. Both phones allowed us to download the video, however we could not playback the video on the Note 5. I think that’s because the camera records in a .MOV file format, which may not be compatible. I was able to download and play the video to the iPhone 6 with ease. While the app is a little clunky to navigate, the ability to control the record function of the phone is nice, but the way that it is set up, it’s really the only function it serves.
The quality of the video you get from this camera is pretty good. Of course, like many of these sports cameras, they are best when used outside. These types of cameras flourish when used with natural lighting. Colors will pop when you have plenty of light for these cameras. When used in doors or in darker areas, colors and the overall picture quality can get a little grainy.
Unlike GoPro cameras, Smarson offers a lot of additional features right out of the box. The biggest and most important feature is the built in screen. The mini screen on the back of the camera allows you to navigate menus and serves as your view finder. To help save on battery life, the screen will go into sleep mode after a minute. Even if you are recording video, the screen will go to sleep, but the recording will continue. You also get a lot of accessories. I mean a lot. In addition to coming with the waterproof housing for the camera, you get several different mounts. These can be used to mount your camera to your helmet, your car, your bike, the barrel of your gun, handle bars, traditional tripods, selfie-sticks, the list goes on and on. Other cameras sometimes force you to buy additional mount kits, but Smarson throws it all in with the camera. If there is a mount that is not included, the Smarson camera uses the same connection as GoPro accessories, so you can always attache to GoPro hardware.
While companies like GoPro have moved on to now allowing users to shoot in 4K resolutions, the fact that Smarson has come out with a 1080p quality camera that is only $50 is quite amazing. Factor in the additional mounts and built in screen, you are getting a lot of gear for not a lot of money. If you want to get one for yourself, you can order one from the Smarson Website or on Amazon.