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.
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
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.
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
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
The Thieye T5 Edge and the T5e are significantly different cameras. My goal with this video is to help you decide which would work best for you.
Let’s start with the unboxing. It’s been a while since I unboxed the T5E but I remember it coming with two batteries and less accessories whereas the Edge comes with a few more clips but only one battery.
In terms of build quality, the cases of these two cameras are almost identical save for the orange markings on the Edge. From the back, the sides, and the bottom these two cams are identical and they even take the same waterproof case and batteries. The biggest difference between these two cameras comes when you turn them on. First off, the screen on the Edge is noticably dimmer than the E. They both have good viewing angles though.
The user interface of the Edge is way better than the E. To show you what I mean I’m going to count the number of clicks that it takes to change the video resolution from 4K to 1080p. (timer this) On the edge, you hit the up arrow to enter the video settings menu, then hit the down arrow, record button, down two more times, record, then menu to return for a total of 7 clicks. On the E, it takes 19 clicks to do this same simple task. You have to cycle through the modes, through the playback, then scroll past 10 different video resolutions, most of which an average user is not going to ever need. And it gets worse when you want to change other camera settings because the menu is one long list. The edge, on the other hand, has its menus cleanly broken into different sections for video settings, photo settings and camera settings so it is far easier and takes less clicks to find what you’re looking for. The options that the Edge has are more basic, and that means it is missing several customization options: the edge does not have settings for sharpness, ISO, mic volume, or field of view, all of which the E has buried in its long list.
Both cameras have real 4K at 30 FPS but there is one key difference: the Edge has stabilization at 4K while the E does not. The E excells in 1080p 60 and 1080p 120, where it has far more detail. If you want higher resolution and don’t care about frame rate, the Edge is the cam for you but plan on using 1080p60 primarily you’ll probably be better off with the E. Since we’ve got the Edge on the left, lets talk about where it is best first: high resolution modes. Mounted on my bike handle bars these cameras have to deal with a lot of bumps and shaking, and side by side like this it’s hard to see the difference, so let’s look at one clip at a time.
The Edge in 4K has a decent amount of detail although perhaps slightly less than the E. I find that it also has some slight compression artifacts in smooth gradients like the sky and the clouds. Let’s take a closer look at each camera, and slow it down a little. At half speed you can see that the footage looks pretty damn good but if you’re on a big 4K screen you might see some compression noise in the form of blocks or a slight lack of smoothness in the gradients. Some of that is Youtube and some of that is the camera. The E also has a bit of noise up close but again it’s no big deal. Let’s compare that to the E.
The E footage has very slightly more detail. It’s such a slight difference that you may need to freeze and zoom into 100% to see it, but take a close look up on the trees in the distance. On the Edge it’s just a bit more smudgy.
The difference in actual resolution is kind of a moot point because unless the E is mounted on a tripod or placed on a stable surface like a table the video from it is less useful than the Edge, thanks to the stabilization. Check out the difference between stabilized and unstabilized footage and you’ll see what I mean. Also, I noticed while filming this, that the Edge stays way cooler than the E. The E gets hot at 4K resolution!
1080p 60 and High Frame Rate Modes
Let’s flip things around now and look at 1080p video, where the E is the clear winner. The difference in the amount of detail the two cameras resolve is startling, with the E being far sharper. It’s almost as if the Edge is actually shooting video in 720P, and then upscaling to 1080p.
As per usual we’ll start with the Edge up close. The video isn’t terrible, far from the worst 1080p 60 I’ve ever seen. It is a true 60 frames per second, so it can slow down to half speed and still be reasonably smooth; but still check out the grass and the pathway compared to the E. It too is a true 60 frames per second but it also resolves real 1080p. The E also has several slow-mo modes that the Edge does not: 2.7K 60, 1080p 120 and 720p 240. Quite frankly, if the Edge had stabilized 2.7K 60FPS it would be the perfect camera, but I can dream. Having the option, even if it does not have stabilization, is nice because it can be used on a gimbal or flat surface or with a proper stabilizer where with the Edge you’re stuck.
The point of this section was to say that if you want slow motion or you plan to use 1080p60, maybe stick with the E, but if you want higher resolution then the Edge is the better choice due to stabilization.
Speaking of higher resolution, on the Edge, both 4K and 2.7K are 60 Megabits per seconds so I prefer the 2.7K mode. I think this is the best mode on the camera, so lets step down to 2.7K for the rest of this comparison. I’ll be using the 1080p60 on the E so you don’t have to suffer without stabilization.
We’ll take a close up look at the Edge first of all. The Edge does a decent job with stabilization and although it’s not as powerful as some high end cameras it is quite good for the price. It maintains a good amount of detail without loss of resolution. The video stays flat with stabilization distortion being well corrected and there’s little wobble.
And now lets see the E. Remember that the E is in 1080p 60 because this is the highest resolution it offers stabilization in. The stabilization is pretty good too. Which one do you think does better? Let me know in the comments.
Colour and Exposure
It’s hard to say which colours are more accurate; I think that the Edge consistently pushes a bit towards warmer yellows, which you can see on the concrete compared to the E. At this point it’s basically preference. I find that the Edge is a bit more vibrant than the E, as well it is definitely warmer in many situations. The Edge is the clear winner though in terms of dynamic range. There were several times where I felt the Edge looked overall better, especially when there was a lot of contrast in the scene like during bright daylight. Check out the cloud in the top right. The Edge has detail throughout the cloud whereas on the E it’s a big bright splotch.
Low Light and Night
Low-light is kind of a toss up between the two cameras. In some situations the Edge is a bit brighter, but as it gets darker and darker both cameras get more smudgy due to noise reduction. In a dark situation the stabilization on both cameras are ineffective. The Edge can get brighter than the E, but at the expense of detail. For most people either camera will be good enough but my personal preference sways slightly towards the Edge.
Audio quality between the two cameras can only be compared with some samples. The Edge just got a new firmware update that promises improved audio quality and I have to say, I really notice the difference between the new firmware and the old one but it’s still not as clear as the E. The Edge has a bit of a problem where it sounds echoy and hollow, as well sometimes it peaks and clips the sound with a harsh crackle. The new firmware improved this a little. Check it out:
Well, this will be based on your preference again; If you prefer the brighter and more dynamic colours of the Edge and can put up with the slightly smudgy details it is better, but if you prefer the sharpness and way that the E resolves detail
I tried my best to make this video not confusing but it was quite difficult since the two cams are named basically the same thing. It looks like for most situations I like the Edge more though, which was a massive surprise. The only things I really think the E are better at is audio and high frame rate modes.
It seems like the hunt for the perfect budget 4K camera is still on. I’d be happiest with a mash-up of these two camera to be honest. It seems like, when buying one of these cameras, you need to take into account what each camera is best at and figure out what you want to prioritize. A lot of cameras out there that say 4K are junk but these two seem to be on the higher end. They’re still not perfect but each iteration is getting closer.
The ThiEYE T5 Edge is very slightly better than the V50 in almost every way (lens, stabilization, user interface), but it’s not enough to justify the 30% higher price on Amazon. The V50 has a more rounded accessory package too. If you can get a deal from an overseas seller the Edge is a marginally better cam, otherwise stick with whatever is cheaper on Amazon.
The T5 Edge is currently only 10 GBP more on Amazon UK (and that’s worth it imho but 30+ difference isn’t)
Author’s note: I forgot to note when I showed a cropped 4K and 2.7K sample, so if you’re wondering why the quality of those two shots are so poor, now you know. They’re cropped in!
The ThiEYE T5 Edge is one of the newest cams in ThiEYE’s lineup, and it is one of the first cheap cameras to feature real 4K and electronic stabilization at 4K 30FPS. Initial tests look promising – but this camera has a big legacy to live up to. The original T5e was one of our favorite cameras last year, so it’s going to be a tough fight. Subscribe to us on Youtube to find out when the showdown video is released later this month.
At $110, this is one of the least expensive real 4K cams available on Amazon. At the time of posting I think it’s one of the better deals for someone who wants more resolution than 1080p but doesn’t want to break the bank. This is my initial test and review, more testing and a full breakdown of video quality (including comparisons to other cams) will be released in the next few weeks.
The video quality isn’t as clean as something like the SJ7 Star or Firefly 8S and definitely not as good as GoPro Hero6 or Sony FDR-X3000 – it’s quite close though. But overall for the video quality you get versus price, this is a good deal for a cam available on Amazon Prime. Of course, spending this much from an overseas seller will net you a much better camera but that requires import and shipping time.
Included in this video is some drone footage, some biking footage and some driving footage.
Please don’t trust Amazon reviews on this cam, because Akaso has been known in the past to give free copies of the cam for 5-star reviews. Watch video samples and decide for yourself.
I think the V50 is definitely worth getting over the Akaso EK7000 and the Akaso Brave 4 since those are both fake 4K and there are cheaper cams with the same hardware as those two available on Amazon.
If all you need is 1080p, get the SooCoo C30 instead because it’s cheaper, has stabilization, bigger batteries and a real 12MP sensor (fake 4K though).
The Ele Rexso K is based on a Hi3559 Processor and 16MP Panasonic MN34210 sensor. The camera performs best in its native 4K 30FPS resolution, with 1080p and 2K modes not being as sharp as competitors. Audio is quiet. Video is pretty good at night with lots of detail, however there is a decent amount of noise introduced. The user interface can be somewhat confusing but it is straightforward enough once you figure it out.
At $84.99 (when reviewed) this cam is the cheapest real 4K cam I’ve tested to date and it performs quite well at 4K given its price. However there are better cameras with sharper 1080p60, and better stabilization.
I recommend that you check out the Firefly 8S instead if you plan to be shooting mostly in 1080p.
A little while ago I made a review of the Xiaomi Mi A1 and I had a lot of good things to say about the phone as well as a couple fairly minor criticisms. I suggest watching that if you’re considering this phone. But one thing I didn’t go into detail about was the camera, and since that’s sort of my area of expertise I wanted to do an extended video on it. First of all, I want to say that this is a $200 smartphone so I don’t expect perfection; and in daylight the phone is a perfectly competent shooter with a wide dynamic range (detail in shadows and highlights), accurate color and straightforward user interface. But at night that story changes and if you, like many phone camera users, find yourself shooting the majority of your pictures indoors or in non-ideal lighting, you may want to consider something else. Many older flagship models, such as the LG V20, have far superior cameras to this phone and only cost a few dollars more.
Ease of use
Lets start the camera app itself. The camera app is actually one of my favorites that I’ve used to date because of its simplicity. The main interface has basic options only: flash, HDR, portrait blur mode and several filters. Under the options button, there are other choices and the advanced manual mode. If you prefer manual mode, there is no way to have the camera default to it, but it does have a full range of options including shutter speed down to 1/15 second (no long exposure), ISO, white balance and focus.
Tapping anywhere in the frame will lock focus and sliding up or down changes brightness, if you don’t like what the camera has determined for you.
Taking photos in normal mode is fast, with minimal shutter lag. Turning on HDR however introduces up to one second of lag as you can see when I wave my hand through the frame here. There is no automatic HDR mode so it’s up to you to turn it on for the situation.
To record video requires two presses, since the video mode is separate from photo. Click the video button, wait a moment for it to load then hit record to start. There are far fewer options and modes with video, and there is no way to take video with the secondary zoom lens.
Still Photos – Main Camera
Daylight is where this camera excells and the difference between this phones camera and other mid and high end smartphones is quite small. The vast majority of people will be very happy with how this phone shoots in the day. The A1 produces nice colours and it has a fairly broad dynamic range. Photos are vibrant, if occasionally on the blue side. By default there is a lot of contrast and photos are over sharpened. Thankfully there is an easy way to tweak both of these settings to your personal preference. If I were to generalize I would say that the vast majorit of photos I take with this phone turn out good, with only a few turning out excellent.
Anything other than broad daylight and this camera starts to fall apart fast. Unfortunately, due to the lack of optical stabilization, it is significantly harder to take clear, non-blurry photos with this camera than it is with other smartphones that have stabilization. This was one of those things that I did not think about until it was gone, and now that I am missing it, I really miss it. Photos start to get grainier as the light goes out, and indoors or night shots lack detail and look noisy – that is, when they’re clear. This was the first time in years I found myself taking multiple photos and praying one would turn out where I could read text on signs, or if I was taking photos of labels to send to friends it was guaranteed I would need to shoot two or three to get them clear enough to read. My LG G4, which was cheaper than this phone, has way better low light performance.
Surprisingly though, flash photos look really good so long as you’re within about 2 meters of your subject since that’s all the flash can illuminate reliably. The flash is more of a pinkish tone than other phones (which tend to be more white). In my opinion this results in natural skin tones, whereas the whitish LEDs of other phones I have tested next to this one end up a little bit green. As with most phones, the flash is positioned so close to the lens that there is a lot of red eye, and there is no way to easily remove it with the phones built in Google Photos app.
Still Photos – 2X Main Camera
Daylight is the zoom lenses forte, seeing as it too does not have optical stabilization. Photos shot in broad daylight or overcast look decent, with good colour overall and minimal noise. I wonder why Xiaomi used a different sensor than the main camera, as the main camera has more detail and a better colour and noise profile overall but again I think that this is something the majorit of people won’t be concerned with as it does provide a little resolution bump over using digital zoom.
Low light (doesn’t work!)
The only way to use the secondary camera in low light is in manual mode. If the A1 determines it is not bright enough out (as in, not broad daylight), it will default to using digital zoom instead of the secondary camera. I found myself often wondering if the photos in overcast looked poor because the camera was shooting with its secondary sensor that is not as good as the primary one, of if they looked poor because it was shooting with the primary sensor and using digital zoom instead. This can be rather frustrating – and it kind of defeats the purpose of having the secondary lens. Why not just have a single, better quality camera instead of two mid range sensors? I guess to be trendy? Nonetheless, if you force the camera to use the secondary lens in low light you will see why it tries to default to the wide lens with digital zoom: photos are very noisy and lack most detail.
Because the portrait mode uses the secondary camera, Xiaomi handily warns you that it may be too dark if you are indoors or it is night time. Portrait mode works decent in daylight, cutting out most background details although occasionally it does accidentally blur some hair. In anything other than daylight, since it uses the lower quality secondary sensor, it is subject to the same limitations mentioned above. That is to say, people look weirdly noisy while the background is artifically blurred and it makes for unappealing photos overall. But yeah, as long as there’s enough light, great!
Still photos – Selfie Camera
In the day, the selfie camera takes competent photos. The focus is tweaked to fairly far away from the camera so to get the best photo I found I really had to stretch out my arm. Once I did that though, there was an adequate amount of detail on my face and the camera did a good job handling tough situations like bright backlighting.
Indoors it’s not too bad either as long as there’s a decent amount of light, and at night it’s not the worst selfie cam I’ve ever seen. Its primarily best for daylight shooting though.
Video – Main camera
Basic resolution tests show that this camera is capable of shooting real 4K at 30 FPS and real 1080p at 30 FPS. Slow motion has a lower frame rate. While video has a decent amount of detail, it tends to be extremely contrasty and overall darker than I would like. There’s no way to adjust the contrast of the video, like there is for the photos, so you’re stuck with what Xiaomi has decided is good for you. To be fair, it’s far from the worst smartphone video I’ve ever seen as it does offer true 4K. I just wish that there was an option to tweak the contrast like there is for photos as it feels like this camera is capable of doing way better than it currently is.
To show you what I mean, here is a still photo processed by the camera with no colour editing. And then here is a video in the same situation. The dark parts of the video are much darker and the bright parts are much brighter and the colour is different. If the video camera did what the photo camera did I would definitely be giving it more points.
The camera maintains a decent amount of detail in low light by lowering the shutter speed well beyond the required 1/30 of a second for video. This results in moving objects getting blurry and the video looking like it is skipping occasionally. But honestly it’s not that bad because there’s minimal noise and as long as you’re holding the camera dead still you can make out details.
Lack of electronic stabilization
Even though the cameras do not have Optical Stabilization, Mi could have included electronic stabilization but unfortunately that did not happen. It makes walking and talking with this camera quite difficult. Most of these tests I had the camera resting on an object or on a tripod or using a handheld stabilizer because I didn’t think you all would want to watch ten minutes of me shaking the camera. Again, this is something I didn’t realize I’d miss until it was gone. I thought it was a give-in for smartphone cameras.
The biggest issue, with video though, is the garbled background noise. I actually waited until the Android 8.0 update on this phone to see if they fixed the issue, but it is still there for me. Any sound processed by this camera seems to be subject to a strong noise reduction, which results in car noise sounding like someone is shaking a bucket of nuts and bolts. Watch the video to hear it for yourself.
There are two autofocus modes with video: continuous autofocus and tap to focus. I highly recommend leaving the camera on tap to focus as the CAF mode tends to be fairly sensitive and jump between focus points. The autofocus is not smooth.
Video – Selfie camera
Video with the selfie camera is similar to photos with the selfie camera.
The camera overall is competent in daylight but in mixed lighting results are much poorer. Unfortunately bad lighting is from my experience, 75% of what cell phone photos are taken in. So yeah, the Mi A1 is a competent phone with a decent camera for a mid-range device, but is it really worth your money? If you’re the kind of person who uses the camera a little and the rest of the phone features more, it is a compelling device, but for the avid photographer, look elsewhere.
The Blueskysea B1w dashcam is based on a Sony sensor at a budget price. While the camera firmware needs some tweaking since it’s on a first firmware revision, this camera has a lot going for it for the price: 1080p at 30 FPS in h.264, a Sony sensor, and a compact form factor. It is also based on a capacitor which usually means higher reliability in hot and cold weather.
Note: The video samples are based on an older firmware version and may not represent how the video currently looks.
The Ele Rexso Explorer Dual is a interpolated 4K action cam based on the Novatek NT96660 processor and an unknown image sensor (likely the Omnivision OV4689, since some spec sheets say “IMX179” but the IMX179 has not been combined with the NT96660 before. This is just a guess, however, so please don’t take it as truth). Externally the camera is near identical to the Firefly 7S, but the video results are quite different. I love this wine-red color it comes in too.
The camera shows promising early results for a Novatek camera. It doesn’t suffer from the blue white balance that many cheaper NT96660 cams do. Additionally, it has real 1080p60 and stabilization. Although the stabilization isn’t as strong as some competitors, it does beat out the SooCoo C30. My copy of the camera processes video slightly soft so I am going to check if it needs to be refocused before doing the final review, or if it’s just the way the camera processes video.