Eken Alfawise V50 Pro Review with Tons of Samples

 

Summary

The Eken Alfawise V50 pro is surprisingly not based on the iCatch V50 processor – instead it is based on an Ambarella A12. At the current price of review ($65 USD) the performance is acceptable however there are several tradeoffs, including a lack of image stabilization. If you can afford the extra, I would highly recommend purchasing the Firefly 8SE or the ThiEYE T5 Edge instead.

Where to Buy

Buy this camera at Gearbest.

Build Quality

Build quality of this camera is average, while the included accessories are above average. The camera itself is made out of plastic and has a slightly hollow feeling to it. Regardless, the buttons are nice and clicky and the user interface is responsive. The screen is bright and easy see in daylight. Eken did not include a tripod mount built into this camera. Instead, if you want to mount it on a tripod, you’ll have to use the included adapter.

Video Quality

The 4K on this camera is soft, likely due to the lens being poor quality. If you purchase this camera, expect to use it primarily in 1080p 60. 4K resolution does appear to be real 4K, although it is on the lower end of real 4K as far as image details goes. The softness is especially apparent at the edges of the frame where objects get a bit of a halo or duplication of straight lines.

That was quite disappointing because this camera renders very decent colour and brightness. In scenes with motion, the lack of detail is less noticeable. In 1080p60 mode this camera is more or less adequate so long as the camera is being held steady.

The biggest downside of this camera is apparent once you start using it for action-y things. It does not have image stabilization. This is pretty much a requirement for action cameras, in my opinion, and I struggle to recommend any camera without image stabilization these days. Cameras with IS are easier to film with and get good shots. There’s also significant lens distortion and no distortion correction setting.

Audio quality from the camera is above average. It’s loud, voices are clear, only occasionally peaking if I spoke while too close to the camera. There’s no way to adjust the mic volume or gain though.

 

A 1080p 60FPS freeze frame.

A 4K freeze-frame.

  

Still Photo Quality

Still photos are where the soft lens starts to become a problem. Despite these images being 12 MP, the still photos lack detail. Generally on cheaper cameras this is because the manufacturer lies about specifications and uses a low resolution sensor. However, this does not appear to be the case with the Eken. This camera allegedly uses a Sony IMX258 sensor (13 MP, 4K). Although companies are occasionally dishonest about the exact sensor they use, this is less common than merely exaggerating resolution. I suspect the poor results are a combination of bad optimization and a blurry lens. The images are fine when zoomed out or viewed on a larger screen, however, zooming in and cropping makes the images much less useful.

Click image for full resolution

Eken V50 at 100% crop (13MP, click for full res)

Samsung S9 Front Facing Camera (8MP, click for full res). This 8MP camera has more detail than the Eken 12MP.

  

A 100% crop from the V50 Pro

Other Notes

This camera scores bonus points because of its ease of use. There are not too many settings that would overwhelm a non-technical user. The time-lapse mode is especially easy to use and the menus are simplistic to navigate.

Conclusion

If you can spend more money on a better camera I highly recommend doing that instead. Considering the price, the Eken V50 pro is an OK camera but there’s significantly better available for not much more money. For example the SooCoo C30 is around the same price and available domestically in the USA. Despite some minor issues with colour and slightly worse audio quality, the C30 is a better choice than this Eken because it has image stabilization. In order to get better quality real 4K, the next step up is the ThiEYE T5 Edge, and then the Firefly 8SE (which is worth it if you can spend $120).

 


Blue Yeti vs. $5 LAV Mic

Summary

The Blue Yeti is one of the better mics for beginner Youtubers. In this video, I put it head to head with my old setup, a $5 LAV mic I purchased off of Amazon several years back. Surprisingly the difference in audio quality under a perfect setup isn’t that great. The LAV mic is significantly quieter until it is boosted in post (the volume has been corrected for this video), and there’s a lot more background hiss. The Blue Yeti is far better at picking up voices that are more distant from it. But overall the difference is not as great as I expected under ideal conditions. That being said I do still highly recommend the Blue Yeti for starter Vloggers as it is solidly built and has good audio quality but this proves that it’s not the end-all solution and there are less expensive ways to get started.

Links to Buy

Amazon USA || Amazon Canada || Amazon UK



Firefly 8SE Review – A Budget Action Cam Done Right

Summary

The Firefly 8SE is a real 4K action camera from Firefly based on a Sony 12MP sensor. It is largely similar to last years Firefly 8S, but includes a few minor updates such as a touch screen and better audio. These improvements make it easy to recommend this camera over others at the same price point. It also includes a mic in the box, as an added bonus.

The next step up from this camera would be one that offers 4K @ 60FPS but the price difference is so high that it may not be worth the upgrade for the casual user. This camera is a good balance of price and performance.

Important Specs

Maximum real video resolution: 4K @ 30 FPS

Maximum video resolution with stabilization: 1080p @ 60 FPS

Highest framerate slow-mo: 720p @ 240 FPS

Still image resolution: 12 MP

4K bitrate: 65 Mb/s

1080p 60 bitrate: 32 Mb/s

Other Footage and Samples

Where to Buy

Gearbest (try coupon code: Firefly8SE). There’s also a 90-degree FOV version of this camera, if you want one with less distortion.

Note: Gearbest sent a sample of this camera to us for unbiased review. All thoughts and opinions are our own, after real use of this camera.


DDpai Mix3 Review – A 1080p Dashcam with Great Video, But…

Buy it here.


Summary

The DDPai Mix3 is a 1080p dashcam based on a Sony sensor that promises excellent night video – and for the most part it delivers. This camera has noticeably better license plate legibility than many other 1080p dashcams in its price class. The built-in storage seems like an odd decision, but may make it easier for a user who does not want to buy extra memory. It also has quite a large battery.

Video Quality

During the day, video quality ranges from good to excellent. In sunny weather, there’s a lot of detail and brightness is accurate. It’s possible to read most oncoming license plates in the adjacent lanes even at fast speeds. The video looks great, albeit once and a while there’s just a little bit of visible compression noise in areas of high details (such as being surrounded by lots of tree branches). Even in those moments it’s still possible to read plates for the most part, but it would be nice to see a slightly higher bitrate. Overcast weather has the same characteristics: excellent video quality overall, with accurate colour and lots of detail.

At night, video quality is still very good and among some of the top cams I’ve tested. In the city, the video is slightly darker than other cameras but that makes details a bit clearer. It’s easier to read street names and see the makes and models of cars. License plates are not readable for oncoming traffic, which is normal. Plates are often readable on cars ahead of the camera travelling in the same direction. In the pitch black, illuminated by only headlights, this camera does a respectable job, with decently bright and detailed video.

Audio quality from the camera is a bit muffled but it’s possible to understand voices talking while the car is in motion. It wouldn’t be usable for high fidelity requirements like travel vlogging, but it should be audible in a pinch. At least the road noise is muffled too so voices are not drowned out by engine noise.

Android App

The Android app is straightforward enough. It is a little bit clunky to use, though it gets the job done. In the Android app, there’s options to preview the video, take snapshots, and see footage that was already recorded by the camera. You can also adjust camera settings on the fly, although there is not many of them. There’s settings for video resolution (1080p30 or 720p30), mic on/off, parking mode and date stamp. It’s functional, but not the most pretty.

The biggest issue with the app is permission requirements: at the time of writing, the Android app requires the permission to view/manage phone calls. I don’t think that’s necessary for a dashcam app, and is kind of invasive. DDPai has been in contact to say that the iPhone app doesn’t require that permission. They’re also apparently working on updating the app so that it does not require that permission. I’ll update this review once they do fix that.

Other Features

One of the odd features of this camera is the built in storage. I can understand the reason behind it: this way users do not need to worry about buying extra memory cards. The problem is that there’s no way to plug in an SD card if you choose. Memory is one of the most common points of failure on a dashcam, so it would have been nice to have the option of an external card. Despite DDpai’s assurance that the memory in this camera is MLC (high quality and long lasting), if the memory does corrupt then the camera will have to be thrown out and a new one purchased. That might result in a lot of warranty claims for DDpai. The other thing to keep in mind is that the storage is internal so in order to get video off of this camera it is required to use the app over Wi-Fi or to take the camera out of the car and plug it into the computer. It’s not possible to remove the memory and plug it directly into a phone, tablet or computer. You’ll also need a spare micro USB cable since there’s only the long one included in the box.

The camera also has a nice feature: a timer to turn it off while in parking mode. It can be set to 1 hour, 6 hours, 24 hours or disabled. Setting it to a time ensures that it will not drain the cars battery when parked for a week. As someone with a car that has the lighter port always active, that’s a great feature and one I took advantage of while testing the cam. My car battery never died despite leaving the cam plugged in.

The camera also seems to have a relatively massive battery for a dashcam. With most cameras I have tested that use a battery, I can only record between 30 seconds and five minutes with the camera on its internal battery. With the Mix3 I filmed almost the entire review on the internal battery. I found that I could easily record between 30 and 60 minutes with the internal battery. That’s HUGE for a dashcam. A big battery means the camera can function in parking mode without power for longer. However, the problem with a big battery is that they do not do well in heat or cold. This could be an issue for someone living in a hot climate like Texas or Australia. I would not recommend leaving this camera in direct sunlight, and having to take it out of the car kind of defeats the purpose of having parking mode anyways.

Conclusion

From a sheer video quality perspective, this camera hits a home run. License plates are legible in most lighting situations, colour is accurate and video is detailed. The camera is not without its quirks, though, such as the big battery and internal memory. Some users may find those features useful while power users may want something that has a different feature set than this camera: a capacitor, 1080p60, and even some basics like a license plate number stamp.

Where to buy

Amazon USA – $99.99

Disclaimer: DDpai sent a copy of this camera for review. This review is our own genuine opinions based off of actual use.


8bitdo Zero Mini Gamepad Review

Summary

The 8bitdo Zero is a tiny gamepad meant to replace on-screen buttons for phone games, that also works well for emulation. The build quality is pretty solid and the shoulder buttons have a nice click. Just keep in mind that this thing is TINY! It might not be the best device for someone with bigger hands. Also, it is missing some buttons compared to an Xbox controller, so don’t expect to play AAA titles on the go with it.

It is reasonably comfortable as long as your hands are not too big, the build is decent and the buttons work well, so it’s got my recommendation.

Please watch the video for more information.

Links

8Bitdo Zero on Amazon USA

8Bitdo Zero on Amazon Canada

8Bitdo Zero on Amazon UK

International (Cheaper) Link


Keeken HL01 and N56 Dual Dashcam Review

 

Summary

The Keeken N56 + HL01 is a dual dashcam kit that features two real 1080p video streams, an OV4689 sensor for the front and a Sony IMX sensor for the rear. This kit is pretty close to a replacement for the Viofo A119 front facing and the A119S rear facing, at a significantly lower cost. There are a few little issues with the video quality but overall it has been solid and reliable in my time using it.

Features
  • Dual 1080p + 1080p video streams
  • 1440p 30FPS or 1080p 60FPS (when using only the front facing camera)
  • Mic can be turned on or off
  • OV4689 front, Sony IMX rear sensor
  • Capacitor for better performance in varying weather conditions

Upsides:

  • True dual 1080p on a budget
  • Easy to set up and install
  • Great audio quality
  • Excellent rear facing camera

Downsides: 

  • Video is a bit too blue
  • Occasionally highlights are blown out
Links

Samsung Galaxy S9 Camera Review + Versus a 3 Year Old Flagship

Summary

This is a review of the Samsung Galaxy S9 camera (not S9+) after using it for a month. If you just want to see the comparison to the old LG, skip to: 5:06

Is it really worth upgrading? Well, if you’re using a smartphone from the last 1 – 3 years and you’re still happy with it, I don’t see why you would. Many of the hyped features are things the average user won’t really notice or care about in day to day use. The camera is WAY better in low light but the old phone still holds solid for day time. The S9 has one of the best screens on the market and a fantastic camera, so I would recommend buying it if you need a new phone or if the camera is a big deal to you (or get the S9+ if you want the bigger screen, I personally don’t think the dual camera is worth the upgrade alone).

The camera is great, though. I won’t lie. I just don’t think it’s worth upgrading if you’re happy with your current device. There’s a lot of hype around these devices and sometimes it’s justified, but other times it’s a bit blown out of proportion.

Upsides:

  • True 12MP photos with a good amount of detail
  • Dual aperture for better low light shots and sharper daylight shots
  • Noise kept well in check in low light
  • Video quality is very good, especially stabilized 4K
  • Video stabilization is very effective

Downsides:

  • User interface is a bit clunky, especially in pro mode
  • Sometimes in low light the camera shutter speed is too slow making it difficult to shoot clear photos
  • HDR mode is inconsistent
Links

 


Lenovo Yoga 720 15.6″ 2017 4K 2-in-1 with GTX Graphics Review

 

What I like:

  • Sharp display with accurate colours and deep blacks
  • Excellent typing experience
  • Solid build quality
  • Stays cool during operation
  • Decent trackpad
  • Tight hinges
  • Smooth pen experience

What I don’t like:

  • Some PWM on display if backlight is dimmed
  • Port selection could be better
  • Potential screen issues with this model

Specs as reviewed:

  • i7-7700HQ 7th Gen Processor
  • 16GB DDR4 Ram
  • 1TB Samsung SSD
  • 4K IPS Display (BOE)
  • GTX1050 2GB
  • Touch screen with pen (separate purchase)

Conclusion: Since Lenovo is likely going to update this model for 2018, there are some solid bargains on this laptop if you don’t mind 7th gen hardware. It’s quite a capable device for work on the go, plus the flip screen and decent sounding speakers are great for media consumption. It doesn’t get too hot nor too loud  while doing heavy tasks. There are some caveats that come with the price though: the potential screen issues and limited ports. Apart from that, this laptop seems to be great for day to day use, light gaming and media consumption.

Where to buy:

Amazon USA

Lenovo Canada Direct (buy it via Ebates, to get some cash back).


FeiyuTech WG-2 Wearable Gimbal Review

 

The Feiyutech WG-2 is one of the more inexpensive wearable gimbals and features a water resistant construction. Its stabilization quality may not be as high as more expensive devices but it does a good job when paired with cameras that have their own built in stabilization (such as the Hero 6 or the Firefly 8S). I recommend comparing sample videos from this camera with its competitor, the Zhiyun Rider M, which is a little bit more expensive but from the samples I have seen it tends to have better overall quality when it comes to micro-stuttering.

Buy this gimbal here.

Check out a decent, cheap smartphone gimbal here.


MGCool Explorer 3 Unboxing and First Review

Note: any compression you’re seeing in the sky is a result of the video being rendered by me, not the camera. There isn’t that much compression noise in the sky normally.

This is an unboxing and initial review of the MGCool Explorer 3. It’s a nice looking camera and that’s what originally drew my attention. I’m a bit disappointed that this cam is missing the 2K resolution that the T5 Edge has, because otherwise I like the way it looks a lot and the menus are easy to navigate. The 2K res and the 4K res on the T5 Edge have the same bitrate which means less compression artifacting on the lower res. I don’t expect this cam will be updated though. MGCool has not had a good history of updating their cameras. Nonetheless it’s definitely worth a consideration and this is likely MGCool’s best camera to date, but if the Edge is cheaper check that out instead.

I got the cam from Gearbest. Check out the links below to buy it for yourself:

Buy T5 Edge: Click here.
Buy this cam: Click here.
Buy Firefly 8S: Click here.