I don’t expect a $30 cam to match a $100 camera for quality, but if they advertise 4K they should AT LEAST get something close, not … this … mess …
Summary: If you’ve been following my channel for a while today’s video may give you a sense of Deja Vu because I’ve reviewed this camera before. No, it wasn’t this exact design or accessories included, but the internal hardware in this camera is nearly identical to one of my previous recommended cameras. To prove it, I went ahead and installed C30 firmware onto the camera, and as you can see it’s still turning on and recording. Unfortunately I don’t have a C30 to put it beside and do a proper comparison any more, but once the C30 firmware was installed on the camera the results are identical to what I expected from a SooCoo branded cam. I will discuss installing the SooCoo firmware later in the video, including the risks and the rewards of doing so.
It’s 2017 and that means it’s time for another round of cheap so-called 4K cameras to be released! Allwinner technology has got us covered with their new low end processor, the V3s.
For fake 4K action cams there are three main makers of processors. These are like Intel or AMD for cameras, except they’re not really like Intel or AMD because those two are actually good and some of these are, well, questionable at best. Each processor has a maximum video quality it can produce and none of them have enough power to produce actual 4K footage. They all do it in some weird resolution or frame rate or some sort of software tricks to fake it. From best to worse, in my experience, is Novatek, then Sunplus and Allwinner are kinda tied for a sad last place.
The video you see is from an Allwinner camera based on their new processor, the V3s. This is a lower end version of the common V3 processor, and since it is cheap to make cameras with low end processors I’m expecting to see a lot of cams based on it to be released soon. There are already a few brands that use this configuration including MGcool and the generic F60C.
The older Allwinner V3 was not a great processor by any means, but in most cases the cameras that were released based on it were crippled by software, meaning that with some hacking the V3 cameras were actually capable of producing decent results, up to 1080p60 or 2K30. At least with the V3 you’d be guaranteed the same consistent level of image quality across multiple vendors, even if that image quality wasn’t particularly good on the Sony variant.
Now that the V3S has been released, some cameras are being advertised as containing Allwinner SoCs but now they do not have the V3. Instead they have the S variety and, surprise surprise, it’s almost like the S stands for S***! The V3s only supports image sensors up to 5 Megapixels (despite these cams being advertised as 16 MP), and they have a maximum video resolution of 1080p at 40 FPS (despite being advertised as 4K). This is a case of newer is not better as it is a step backwards in image quality. It’s almost like comparing the slowest Atom processor to a Pentium. The cameras look similar, the user interface looks similar, but the results speak for themselves. And the V3 isn’t great to start with!
My recommendation, if you’re looking at an Allwinner camera, is to stay vigilant and read the specs very carefully so you don’t get ripped off. The V3 is bundled with one of two image sensors: an OV4689, which has the best image quality out of the box despite only being 4MP, or an IMX179 which is 8MP and generally has more mediocre image quality. The V3S on the other hand is being bundled with one of two sensors: a GC2023, which is 2MP, and not even high enough resolution for 1080p let alone 4K, or the OV2720 which is also 2MP but can do 1080p resolution. At the price point of these cameras, it’s worth spending the extra $10 – $20 to get something with far more capable specs instead of cheaping out.
This USB power bank resembles a normal battery bank, but it has a “unique” feature that makes it potentially deadly. The hottest I measured this battery at was about 80°C / 175°F – and lithium ion batteries do not like heat.
Summary: The S1R baton is a flashlight that packs a lot of brightness into a small body.
This is an unbranded head unit that functions with primarily touch input. It comes in a plain box. It runs on a customs Windows CE software that resembles older Windows phones.
This product is sold under several different brand names including Egoway, Zodiac, Runpower etc. For a generic charger it does fine, with about the same charge speed as the original cable. The ends fit together fine. The cable is almost identical to the original, in build quality and design which is both a good and a bad thing. The good part is that it has a USB port built into it so I can charge my phone at the same time as my computer. The bad part is that the parts connecting the cable to the power brick are of poor design. I also notice that it gets much warmer than the original cable. Since the build quality is about the same as the original cable, if you’re looking for something that will last a little bit longer maybe look elsewhere, or go onto Youtube and look for tutorials that describe how to toughen up cables with some heat shrink. It’ll be a decent replacement if you treat it nice, but try and find something a little higher quality if you are the type to throw around your cables a lot.
The other day I made the mistake of attempting to push a SJcam SJ4000 firmware update to my F23 action cam. I had a morbid curiosity, and a little bit of a destructive mindset. Needless to say that the SJ4000 hardware must be different in some way, as its firmware did not work on the camera. I did a ton of hunting and thought I was S.O.L. for finding the original firmware and my camera was ruined. Thankfully I was able to acquire it.
This camera is called the F23 and it is available on Gearbest. It’s a near identical clone of the SJ4000. Despite it being listed as a SooCoo product, it is not. The firmware version here is only for the cameras with the original firmware version N20150723V01. Install at your own risk. I am not responsible for failed firmware updates. Here’s how to update:
- Charge the camera so the battery is full or near full.
- Download the .bin file and place it onto a blank Micro SD (32GB or less).
- Put the Micro SD into the camera with the camera powered off.
- Turn on the camera. The lights will flicker and blink for about 30 seconds.
- The camera will turn on if the update is successful.
- Remove the Micro SD from the camera.
- Put the micro SD back into your computer.
- Delete the .bin file from the micro SD.
Hopefully this helps you solve a bricked F23 action camera! A full review of the cam will be posted within the next few days.