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:
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.
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.
This was originally intended to be a review of the Eken H6S, however the camera I received was defective – it was out of focus, and the camera would regularly reset itself, until finally it outright refused to power on. This is the second Eken camera I have owned recently with a focus issue. They used to be a decent mid-range action cam brand, however it looks like they are having some serious quality control issues that need to be resolved. The H6S had the specifications of a good camera – real 4K at 30FPS, stabilization for 2.7K, dual screens and nice quality included accessories, however due to receiving two defective problems in a row Eken will no longer receive my recommendation until they can regain my trust.
I highly recommend you purchase the Firefly 8S instead of this camera.
Check out how bad the focus was before the camera completely failed:
It was a surprise that this camera even worked, let alone the video actually being reasonable. Sure, it’s only 720p and the colours are a bit wonky sometimes and the lens is a bit too close up, but at $8 who cares? If you want something with great video quality or longevity this is not the product for you. No guarantees though. With tech this cheap, quality control can be non-existent.
I had a lot of fun playing with this camera and I certainly got my $8.00 worth.
The MGCool Explorer Pro 2 is anything but pro. The best feature it has is the touch screen and user interface, but unfortunately the video quality and build just can’t keep up to the price. There are several better cameras available for the money, and spending just a little bit more nets a real 4K capable camera (Firefly 8S – $100). My recommendation, if you’re looking for the cheapest cam possible, skip this one and go for the Furibee H9r instead at $40. The MGCool Explorer Pro 2 is just a cheap Furibee F60 with a touch interface.
Thank you to Gearbest for supplying this camera for review.
Full written review with examples is coming soon. For now, if you want to see some video samples, skip to 2:20 in the unboxing video. Thanks!
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.