A couple times a year there are big holidays in China which mean massive sales from Chinese sellers. Later this week is 11.11, also known as singles day, which is basically China’s equivalent of Black Friday sales. It is the biggest sale day of the year so this will likely be the cheapest prices on import tech until 2018 and Chinese New Year.
In honor of the sale I decided to make a quick video with a few tips for buying from overseas sellers. Hopefully this will help you get a great deal when buying from overseas and not get ripped off.
1) Do your research:
The most important thing is to do your research about any product you buy. For example, with action cams I recommend only buying cameras if they are a well-known brand name, or explicitly state what sensor and processor is in them because otherwise you’ll get the cheapest possible. It is important to do your research because if you get a bad product and want a refund, chances are the seller will require you to return the product to them, and shipping costs back to China often exceed the cost of the item in the first place.
Since returning items is often out of the question, it is imperative to know exactly what you’re buying and why you’re buying it beforehand.
2) Buy from a reliable source:
Aliexpress has pretty solid buyer protection and you can use PayPal on both Gearbest and eBay. I have found from personal experience that you’re most likely to get a fake product from eBay and from 3rd party overseas sellers on Amazon. AliExpress has a strict policy against selling fakes so they are more rare. I don’t recommend buying from eBay unless you are very confident in the seller.
3) Buy with buyer protection:
The problem with buying cheap tech is that quality control isn’t always as good, and there’s always the possibility of getting a product that doesn’t function properly. So look for sellers with a good policy on this. I’ve dealt with Quality Control issues after buying things on AliExpress a few times and almost every time the issue was resolved in my favor. I’ve also dealt with Gearbest’s Dead on Arrival policy before with success. Although it might take a little pressure sometimes, don’t be afraid to push for customer service. When in doubt, buy with Paypal, which has a good claim system for buyers.
4) Warranty may not apply:
If you buy a product from an overseas seller and it is not a well-known brand name, the chances of getting warranty support if the item dies after a few months are slim. You may be required to send it to China for repair. A quadcopter I bought had the camera die for example, and I sent a few e-mails to the brand name’s “support” and never heard back. Even on Amazon, there are so many trash 3rd party products. This is why I recommend buying products from 1st party brands like SJCam, Gitup, Viofo, Eken. Any brand that has a moderately active social media presence will usually have more responsive customer service and warranty.
5) Be careful of scams:
It is a good idea to act like everyone is out to scam you – if the price is too good to be true, chances are you’re going to get an inferior item. Some sellers like to increase prices in the weeks before sales to make it seem like the items are a huge discount. Be wary of fake products from unreliable sellers.
6) Be ready for long shipping times and customs fees:
Depending on your country, shipping can take forever, and there can be customs fees upon import. If you ship any of the faster carriers, like DHL, you will almost certainly be charged customs fees if the value of the item exceeds the minimum threshold for your country. In Canada, that threshold is $20 Canadian, and shipping carriers will charge a minimum $25 fee, which can make a cheap item suddenly more expensive and not worthwhile. Usually, if you choose standard and slow shipping it avoids customs fees.
7) Do not trust reviews:
Overseas sellers are not bound by the code of ethics and advertising laws that domestic sellers have to abide by, and many of them prune negative reviews on their site to make their products seem better than they are. Reviews from independent 3rd parties are usually more reliable, but this isn’t always the case. Due diligence is necessary to separate the shills from the legitimate reviews.
Now, if that didn’t scare you off, you can save a ton of money buying stuff from overseas. Just make sure you do your homework first and buy from a reliable source. Hopefully this helps you have a positive shopping experience and save a bit of money on 11.11.
If you are uncomfortable with buying from overseas sellers, black friday sales are almost here. Check it out on Amazon:
To me this camera is kind of the spiritual successor to the SJ5000x Elite. It’s got a nicer build, smaller body, and a touch screen while maintaining the resolutions of the SJ5000x. It’s kind of hard to think about who exactly SJCam is targeting with this one though since it’s outside of the super budget category but not real 4K. At least SJCam doesn’t lie about its resolution though.
With a good build quality and great gyro, once the bugs are worked out this will probably bee one of the better cameras available. Many Chinese companies release their products in a “beta” state and iron out issues as users bring them up… The SJ6 Air reminds me of the Mijia camera, where it feels like it has not yet reached its full potential.
I look forward to the update. Full review coming soon.
All of these cameras are so close and the differences in how they process video are so minimal, that what you should look for while watching is which camera processes exposure more appealingly to you, which camera has the most appealing audio to you and which cameras user interface will work best for you. No matter which you buy you’ll end up with a camera that has decent video quality.
Click here to learn how to update the Mijia to English menus.
Initial impressions of this camera are very positive, and this camera is fast becoming one of my favorite real 4K cameras I’ve tested to date. The reason I prefer it over competitors such as the SJ7 Star or the ThiEYE T5e, is because it loudly beeps when buttons are pressed, compared to the other cameras, which only have soft beeping that is difficult to hear in the waterproof case. I often use these cameras on my helmet and having a clear audible confirmation that the camera is recording is a huge plus. The video quality is similar to the other cams. The user interface is highly customized and simplified and the stabilization is slightly better than similarly priced competitors. More information about this camera will be released soon with the full review.
The SPCA 6350 / OV4689 Processor and sensor combo does a decent job faking 4K. Some Youtubers even claim (incorrectly) that it’s better than GoPro 4K! You might not be able to tell the difference on a smaller screen… But it is only 1/2 the resolution of real 4K, and since it uses MJPG instead of H.264 for 4K mode, there is a lot of compression artifacts. It is also only 25FPS instead of 30, making it jittery at times. Some shots even got corrupted. This was filmed with an H9R clone (same cam as Akaso EK7000, but unbranded). It is also found in Eken H9 and a bunch of other cams around $50 – 60 on Amazon/Gearbest/AliExpress/etc.
So many cams are based on the NT96660 processor, which results in fake 4K. The results are often less than stellar. The camera I used is the MGCool Explorer 1S (because it has pretty sharp video for Novatek). This is versus the ThiEYE T5e (real 4K). In order to get real 4K you need at least 8MP sensor, and many of these cams are advertised as 12, 14 or 16 but really have more like 4MP. This comparison shows a cam with a real 12 MP sensor. I’ll do another Novatek one with a 4MP cam later.
I saw this on AliExpress as I was buying a mic adapter. And, well, yeah. It does actually turn on. But I can’t really get it to recharge unless it’s plugged into a computer. If anyone who knows circuit boards better than me can take a look at the circuit board pic (starting at 9:10) and has some feedback I’d appreciate a comment!
I’m trying a different approach to doing video audio, and it is working alright so far.
Eken has released a large (confusingly named) lineup of new real 4K cameras based on the Ambarella platform. The results look promising so far – the 4K isn’t as tack sharp as some IMX117 cams but it’s a hellofa lot better than the H8R was.
I got the H8 Pro but if you’re interested in this lineup of cameras I would probably recommend the H8 Plus for most users because I highly value stabilization and it has the better sensor. I have not tested that camera yet though.
Note: In the video I accidentally said that the IMX117 is higher resolution. This is not correct. I meant to say that it is a higher performance sensor.
What do you actually get when you buy a projector out a random van in the parking lot of a Canadian Tire? Well, watch the video to find out!
What is the white van scam? Well, people in the back of a van drive up and say “we have a high quality product that we have got to get rid of. The list price is $$$$$! You can have it for only $$!” People get tricked into buying cheap no name products that (usually) work but don’t work all that well. Usually for the price you paid you can get a better quality product at a retail store.
This kind of projector is pretty garbage. I found it amusing how the deeper we got into the box, the lower the resolution the projector advertised. Some of the features were surprising though. It has Android built in with 1GB of storage, 386MB of Ram and an 854×480 resolution. The brightness is advertised as 7200 lumens but I believe it is closer to 1,000.
Want a projector? I use an Epson HC2040, but they have a decent cheap 720p one that I have seen for as low as $299 on sale (refurb):