The popularity of photography have boomed an all-time-high in the last couple of years. You can now take photos from anywhere, at any scenarios, at any given time. There had been a lot of new sub-categories in the camera industry that came out the recent years. Drones, Mirrorless cameras, high-end compact cameras, and Action Cameras.
There are a lot of Action Cameras today in the market. And these cameras have one thing in common besides being extra rugged, they have steep prices. Although, some have announced a more economical version of their product, like the GoPro Hero, which is priced at around Php7,200. However, it’s still a bit expensive for some.
Now, CD-R King brings us an Action Camera that can be within everybody’s reach. The company released their very own Action Camcorder, priced at only Php 3,380.00.
How does this camera perform? Let’s figure that out in our full review.
Design and Build Quality
The looks of the Action Camcorder isn’t too far away from the footprints of the GoPros. The device also has a two-tone color, and designed with four edges. There had been a lot of action cameras that came out since the original GoPro, but their manufacturers took a different road in achieving their devices’ unique aesthetics. We got Sony’s Action Cam and HTC’s Re as an example. But with CD-R King’s action cam, it’s believed that GoPro’s design touch on their iconic product have really been the supreme of them all. Mind you though, Xiaomi’s latest product, the Yi Action Camera, also took some design inspirations from the GoPro.
That having said, the device comes on a two-tone color, gray and black. There’s also an all-black version. Although the black segments kinda looks like a material made in rubber, well it’s actually not. The device is made entirely with plastic. Having the edges covered with rubber would have been a great idea as it increases grip and ergonomics during usage. The body also has some distinct textures, the front has some embossed tiny little squares, while the edges has some curved little diamonds.
Taking a tour we got the actual camera lens at the front, with a 5-megapixel sensor and has a 120-degree wide-angle view, LED action indicator, charging Indicator and some branding.
The left side has the microUSB port, Mini HDMI port, microSD card slot (capable of up to 32GB), and a Reset button. The right side only has the built-in microphone.
At the top we got the Power/Menu button and the shutter/recording button. And at the bottom we got a standard thread for any tripod or mounts.
And at the back we got a 1.5″ LCD display, with the menu buttons and controls. Nope, there’s no touch-screen here, but still, it had been pretty useful. Unlike any other action camera who doesn’t sport a viewfinder, you could easily have a look of what you’re shooting for, even without a smartphone on hand. Also, the display can also be used for image preview or video playback.
There are also a horde of accessories included in the package. We got a helmet mount with straps, bike handle bar mount and a mount with a suction cup. We got also a Waterproof case and a microUSB cable.
The camera isn’t waterproof all by itself, that’s why it has to be on its waterproof case before it can be splashed on water. The packaging said it can withstand being submerged for up to 20 meters on water, although I haven’t tried to use it in such deep water, I tried it on a water deep enough to submerge the whole body for quite some time and the case didn’t had a hard time protecting it.
User-Interface and Functions
The device’s actual user-interface is a bit simple, but a little bit confusing at first, especially the buttons’ actions. The power button doubles as the menu and back button, while the shutter button doubles as the OK button. Other buttons including the up, down and Mode buttons are pretty self explanatory.
Pressing the Mode button brings you to the device’s three modes and the Playback Menu:
First is the Video Mode. There are also three record settings, one is a 1080p video recording at 30fps, then a 720p recording at 30fps, and lastly, 60fps recording at 720p for slow-motion shots.
Second is the Car Mode. These mode almost works the same as the first one, only that, recording on this one is divided into segments. The video stops and saves automatically every three minutes.
And for the last mode, we got the Photo mode. Despite having only a 5-megapixel sensor, CD-R King claims that it can take photos at 12-megapixels, with the help of some software interpolation. That’s the reason why the resolution settings has four items: 5MP, 8MP, 10MP and 12MP. The settings menu also allows you to adjust the Quality (Normal, Fine, Super Fine), Metering Modes, White Balance, ISO, Exposure and Driver Mode.
Pressing the Mode button for the fourth time now brings you the playback menu. You have to choose first which from the different modes you want to preview, before you could actually view the media you took from that particular mode respectively.
For the full technical specifications of the CD-R King Action camera, check it here.
Check out some of the snapshots of the actual UI:
Like any other action camera, CDR-King’s very own also support a smartphone app companion. Although, the app isn’t proprietary for the device unlike the ones the GoPro and Sony Action Cam have. The device supports an app called iSmart DV, which is compatible on both Android and iOS devices. The app can be downloaded on their own respective application stores.
Once downloaded, you can fully utilize the camera’s features on the companion app. But before proceeding to the actual app, you have to manually connect your smartphone first on the Action Cam’s wifi network via the device’s Wifi settings. You may activate WIFI connectivity on the action cam by pressing and holding the shutter button.
Once connected, voila! You now have yourself an external viewfinder, battery indicator, shutter/record button, settings, and almost everything else.
The live view performance is also impressive, the refresh rate is buttery smooth, with no visible lags or hiccups. Although, sometimes the visual it shows is not real-time, because even there are some delays, the viewfinder still displays every single frame without skipping any, which causes to some of the frames to be detained.
Image and Video Quality
The device has a 5-megapixel CMOS sensor with a wide-angle lens. The label on the packaging said that It can produce 12-megapixel shots, but it’s only with the help of some software tricks. That having said, the quality it can produce is something to be expected. The final photos are marginally better than a usual 5-megapixel smartphone camera can produce, but still a bit distant to the photos that an actual 8-megapixel sensor can. However, always remember that the number of megapixel doesn’t represent the overall quality of a camera.
Details and colors are a bit mushy and inaccurate. Plus, the contrast is overblown. Over-exposed areas would sometimes have a blue-ish shade. Although it’s still pretty usable and worth sharing online, just don’t expect some excellent quality. If you’re patient and artistic enough, some external touches and few editing tricks can patch things up, which can be done with a PC software, or even just on your favorite smartphone app.
But nevertheless, the 120-degree wide-angle lens made up with it. You can snap or shoot videos with a wide viewing range, perfect for capturing some action and close up shots on a skateboard, bike, or even snap it on your car’s dashboard with the included mount. The wide-angle lens is also seamless in taking group shots.
Check out these sample photos from the device:
You can also expect the same quality with the videos it can produce. Video recording has three resolution choices, the highest is the 1080p FHD recording at 30fps, 720p at also 30fps, and lastly, also at 720p resolution but at 60fps for some slow-motion shots. The device also has a built-in microphone, which can capture a decent amount of sound given that the Action Cam is out of the waterproof casing. You may want to check our full video review to check the recording quality.
Battery performance have been pretty acceptable on this one. You can take almost a hundred stills or even an hour or an hour and a half of video recording before the juice runs out.
There’s a 1000mAh battery that’s powering this device, which is enough to last you for a day of adventure provided that you don’t turn it on all the time.
Let me be straightforward about this. In contrast to the Action Cameras that are already in the market, CD-R King’s Action Camcorder doesn’t offer a mind-blowing photo and video quality. It is because, this camera isn’t made to please and entice those consumers that are already in that particular market.
This device is for people who wanted to try a real rugged and waterproof camera, but doesn’t have the fortune to afford a GoPro, or a Sony Action Cam, and even HTC Re.
The CD-R King Action Cam’s overall performance and features are pretty satisfying for its pricetag. The output it can produce is fairly usable, there’s WIFI capability, a great deal of included accessories and mounts, plus, there’s a built-in LCD screen, a feature that’s missing even on some of the high-end Action Cameras.
If you’re looking for the cheapest GoPro alternative, CDR-King’s Action Camcorder is the one for you.
- Affordable price tag
- Decent photo and video quality
- Good battery life
- WIFI capable
- Flimsy build quality
- Display is prone to scratches
xiaomi yi action camera is way better even without lcd screen.
is there an audio recording function?
Yes, it can record audio. But you can’t plug an external mic.