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.
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.
There are a few places that Xiaomi can improve for its next iteration: for example, the camera is virtually unusable in low light due to its lack of optical stabilization. Also, the secondary zoom camera lens does not work in low light; the camera app defaults to the main camera with digital zoom (likely so that it is not as blurry from camera shake). The design could also be refined: thinner bezels, less regulatory text on the back of the phone and no backlight bleed from the hardware capacitive buttons would be welcome changes. Overall this is a decent phone from a company who has experience making solid budget devices.
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.
The SJCam SJ360+ has a decent design with a form factor that doesn’t require a mobile phone – but that’s about all it has going for it. Unfortunately SJCam chose internal hardware that is only capable of low quality 360 videos, and the result is an output that looks similar to a early 2000s cellphone. In anything but the best light, aggressive noise reduction kicks in and removes any detail. Still photos suffer similarly.
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.
he 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.
The Veckle Mini Dashcam intrigued me since it offered dual 1080p streams at a budget price (under $150 USD). Previously, dual true 1080p was only available on cameras $300+. I made a video in the past about how dual lens dash cams were not necessarily worthwhile – but the Mini 0906 may have changed my opinion. Watch the video to find out more! Full written review coming soon.
The SJ7 Star comes with a whole host of accessories, all of decent quality. Accessories between action cams are fairly standard so we’re going to fast forward through this section: note that the important basics are included, sticky mounts, handlebar mounts, and right-angle adapters.
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.