When you think about action cameras, GoPro is the first brand that comes to mind and that’s because GoPro is the company that has catapulted action cameras into mainstream glory. Sure, great cameras have been around since what seems like forever but GoPro’s portable cameras have made sure that recording your action or sport ventures is now very easy. However, not everyone prefers the pricey GoPro action cameras.
GoPro cameras come in three different models, with the base Hero model starting at around $200, which is pretty steep for an action camera. Also, cyclists and adventure enthusiasts have been complaining about its bulk and problems with its mount accessories. So, we won’t blame you if you have been looking for a more affordable GoPro alternative.
Thanks to GoPro’s popularity, a number of popular as well as new brands have started releasing action cameras, which means there’s no shortage of great action cameras in the market today. So, here are the 10 best GoPro alternatives you can buy:
1. Drift Stealth 2
Drift Innovation has been a name to reckon with when it comes to action cameras since almost a decade, so it’s no surprise that its Ghost S and Stealth 2 are some amazing products. However, we like the Stealth 2 more for its ability to be mounted almost anywhere, thanks to its 300-degree rotating lens and its more affordable price tag. The Stealth 2 is actually “stealth” in design, thanks to its portable size and its 12 MP camera is also particularly impressive with a 7-element lens that captures videos in up to 1080p and slow-mo videos at 720p. Unfortunately, the Stealth 2’s body isn’t waterproof and you’ll require a separate casing for that.
The Stealth 2 also features a 1.3-inch mono graphic LCD display for camera status and modes. You can even use the Drift app to control the camera remotely from your smartphone and the WiFi connect to share media easily. Other features include support for time-lapse videos, car DVR mode and more. Also, the action camera features a big 1500 mAh non-removable battery that makes sure you can record videos for up to 3 hours, which is pretty good when it comes to camera standards. When it comes to memory, the camera does not come with a microSD card out of the box but it supports cards up to 32 GB. The Stealth 2 box contains a Stealth 2 camera, microUSB cable, universal clip, goggle mount, flat & curved adhesive mount and quick guide.
Overall, the Drift Stealth 2 brings a great camera and impresses with its mounting options & rotating lens but the limited frame rates and lack of water resistance without a case might be a deal breaker for some.
Buy: $84.99 (Amazon.com)
2. Contour ROAM3
The Contour ROAM3 packs in everything you expect from an action camera and adds some cool touches, which make it unique and value for money. The positives include its rugged aluminium body, which is water resistant up to 30 ft. without a case and includes a cool 270-degree rotating lens with laser alignment, locking instant on-record switch and more. The 5 MP camera includes single shot & interval photo modes, built-in mic and shoots 1080p video up to 120 fps. The ROAM3 supports microSD cards up to 32 GB and Contour has also been nice to include an 8 GB memory card right in the box.
The built-in non-removable battery too is decent enough and you can expect to shoot videos up to 3.5 hours or more but it does take some time to charge. Unfortunately, the device lacks any display or WiFi/Bluetooth connectivity, so there’s no way you can preview photos or videos wirelessly. However, even with its flaws, ROAM3 still a great action camera for its very affordable price.
Moreover, Contour offers plenty of mounting options including mounts for different activities like surfboarding, biking, skiing and more. The Contour ROAM3 is available in a couple of different variants, a “camera only” variant and a “Starter bundle”. The Starter bundle brings the camera, charging kit and a flex strap mount.
Buy: $89 for Camera only, $133.15 for StarterBundle (Amazon.com)
3. Xiaomi YI
Xiaomi devices have always been known to be premium yet affordable and the YI action camera is no different. The YI action camera is highly affordable and it’s arguably the best camera out there for its price. It packs a 16 MP Sony camera sensor with a 155-degree wide-angle lens, which supports 1080p video recording at up to 120 fps. The camera supports different modes like Time-lapse mode, Timed photo, timed video and more. On the hardware front, the camera does look cute but it lacks a display as well as water resistance and you will have to buy a separate waterproof casing to take underwater stills and videos.
The camera includes a 1,010 mAh removable battery (with an LED to notify you the battery status of the camera) and support for WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 and microSD support up to 64GB (not included in the box). Thanks to the WiFi connectivity (up to 100 metres), you can easily share the pictures and videos from the camera to your computer. Moreover, the camera supports Bluetooth remote control, app and also includes a micro HDMI port that supports live video previews while recording, which is pretty cool.
While we love the camera quality and the performance of YI action camera, the lack of water resistance might be a hindrance for some. Also, Xiaomi hasn’t included any mounts whatsoever out of the box with the camera. However, you can buy various mounts and accessories like the waterproof casing, silicon casing, chest mount, wrist strap, head mount and more. Xiaomi offers the YI action camera in two variants, one with just the camera and a USB cable and the other with an additional selfie stick.
Buy: $76.99 (Amazon.com)
4. SJCAM SJ5000
SJCAM SJ5000 is a very popular and surprisingly feature-rich action camera for its affordable price. At a price even lesser than the base model of GoPro, SJ5000 brings a 2-inch HD display to view all your recordings and still captures. The action camera also impresses with its specs like Novatek and Panasonic’s 14 MP CMOS camera with 170-degree wide-angle lens, 4X zoom and video capture at 1080p. The camera supports multiple photo modes like time-lapse, burst and more.
Moreover, it supports HDMI HD & USB-AV output and WiFi, which allows users to control the camera remotely through an app on Android and iOS. While the SJ500 is certainly very impressive, its battery is pretty modest at a meagre 900 mAh, which is capable of recording only 70 minutes of video. However, the battery is removable, so you can always keep a spare one if you don’t want to run out of battery.
The best thing about the SJCAM SJ5000 is that the action camera comes with more than 10 accessories and mounts out of the box, including the waterproof housing, bicycle stand, tripod adapter, helmet base etc, which is pretty amazing.
Buy: $115.99 (Amazon.com)
5. Sony AS50
Sony has a great portfolio of action cameras and you should find a great GoPro alternative among them but if you are looking for an all around decent action camera, the Sony AS20 action camera is the one. On the specifications front, it features a 11.1 MP Exmor R sensor with Zeiss 170-degree lens and SteadyShot image stabilization. The camera shoots videos in 1080p up to 120 fps and there’s also support for 4K time-lapse videos.
The Sony action camera comes with a monochrome display and an interface that can be controlled via buttons. When it comes to connectivity, there’s a microSD slot, microHDMI port, mic and a microUSB channel. There’s also support for WiFi sharing, which makes files sharing and transfer a lot easier. It’s also Bluetooth equipped, which lets you control the camera via an app on your smartphone. Sony also separately offers a cool watch-style remote control dubbed Live View, which lets you monitor & control the camera from your wrist. Moreover, you can even choose to stream real time video captures through UStream.
On the battery front, it packs in a rechargeable battery that lets you record for up to 150 minutes. The action cam becomes waterproof (up to 60 meters), dustproof and shockproof, thanks to the supplied case. The action camera comes in a base model as well as a model that comes with the Live View wrist remote ($348). The base version includes the camera, tripod mount, waterproof case and manuals.
Buy: $199 (Amazon.com)
6. Polaroid Cube+
Polaroid is a popular action camera maker and we were confused between the Cube+ and XS100i for the list but the Cube+ is more of a GoPro alternative, thanks to its reasonable price, compact design and its wireless features. The XS100i features an 8 MP camera with wide-angle 124-degree lens that lets you record videos in 1440p with support for slow & fast motion capture. The device is also waterproof up to 30 feet without a case, which is pretty impressive.
There’s also microSD support (comes with an 8 GB card), microHDMI & microUSB port and thanks to in-built WiFi support, you can remotely control the camera and watch videos in real time from a smartphone through an app. Moreover, most of the camera controls are handled through the app and there are only two hardware buttons on the Cube+, which lets you capture and turn on/off the Cube+.
The battery on the Cube+ lasts about an hour while recording videos in 1080p, which isn’t particularly impressive. However, it can record even when it’s charging, thanks to its microUSB port. The Cube+ comes with a ton of accessories out of the box including an HDMI cable, USB cable, helmet mount, handlebar mount and more.
Buy: $149.99 (Amazon.com)
7. Garmin Virb Elite
Garmin’s Virb Elite isn’t really an affordable alternative to GoPro but if you are looking for a GoPro alternative with similar features and an even better camera, this should do well. The action camera packs in a 16 MP CMOS camera sensor with support for multiple video resolution modes up to 1080p and a field of view of 146-degrees. The device also features a 1.4-inch chroma display that lets you control various camera modes and preview captured stills & videos.
Other features include digital stabilization, time-lapse support, ANT+ connectivity (to integrate with other Garmin devices) GPS, WiFi, microSD support and more. The Virb Elite also features a massive 2,000 mAh battery that lets you capture 3 hours of video. While the action camera is IPX7 certified, which means it’s water resistant up to 1 meter but you can always get the “Dive case” to extend the water resistance.
While the Garmin Virb is a capable action camera, it lacks some important features like the ability to zoom and real time streaming. The Garmin Virb Elite box packs the action camera, user manuals, Garmin sticker, microUSB cable, mounting brackets, curved sticky mount for helmets and a flap mount for normal activities.
Buy: $199 (Amazon.com)
If you want the most portable action camera, Mobius should be your choice. Mobius action camera is so small that it might even pass as a spy camera (Don’t go by its picture). Thanks to its size, it should come into good use as an add-on to drones and aerial devices. However, the action camera lacks any water resistance credentials and you’ll have to get a separate case to make it waterproof. It also lacks a display or any connectivity options like WiFi or Bluetooth but supports microSD cards although does not pack one out of the box. So, you’ll have to rely on the conventional ways to transfer recorder videos and photos.
On the camera front, it records 1080p videos at 30 fps and 720p videos at 60 fps along with audios at 512 Kbps. Apparently, the camera resolution is pretty low at a mere 3.5 MP, so don’t expect amazing quality out of it. Mobius also includes a cool Time-lapse mode, which automatically takes time-lapsed images.
While it lacks a display, it features an LED light to notify about the various camera modes. Yellow, Red and Blue indicate different camera modes, while Green indicates the camera is charging. For the price, Mobius is a decent enough action camera but for its battery (820 mAh), which lets you records up to 80 minutes of footage and that might be a deal breaker for some. The camera does let you record videos even when it’s being charged through a power bank, so there are options to deal with the low battery capacity.
When it comes to the whole package, the Mobius action camera has no compromises. It comes with a number of mounts like velcro, car windshield mount, bike handlebar mount, helmet mount along with other accessories like attachment sleeve, mini tripod, USB cable and a car adapter.
Buy: $74 (Amazon.com)
9. HTC Re
HTC Re should be a good GoPro alternative, if you are looking for a more portable action camera. The device looks a little weird with its periscope design but it packs in a 16 MP Sony CMOS camera sensor with a 146-degree ultra-wide angle lens, which records videos in 1080p up to 30 fps. It also supports 4x slow-mo videos, time-lapse videos and grip sensor (turns on when gripped). The hardware is rated IP57 for water (up to 1m of submersion) and dust resistance and the rating increases to IPx8, when the cap is put on.
The camera is also well equipped on the connectivity front with the inclusion of WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, 5-pin microUSB, microSD slot (comes with 8 GB card and supports up to 128 GB cards) and a Tripod hole. Thanks to WiFi and BLE connectivity, the action camera can be controlled via the Android and iOS smartphone app.
When it comes to the battery, it features a modest 820 mAh battery, which offers 100 minutes of continuous video recording and 1200 16 MP photos. The HTC Re box comes with the Re action camera, USB cable, lanyard and a quick start guide. While it lacks any mounts or accessories out of the box, you can buy them separately. There are different mounts available like bar mount, suction mount and more. The HTC Re lacks the various camera modes of the GoPro and we have some qualms like the non-removable battery but overall, it’s an easy to use decent camera device.
Buy: $118 (Amazon.com)
10. Rollei Actioncam 420
The Rollei Actioncam 400 is a pretty unique action camera, as unlike other action cameras, it offers a remote control that you can mount on your wrist. So, you can easily control the action camera in real time with your wrist. Sounds pretty cool, right? The action camera features a 12 MP camera and it lets you capture in different video resolutions including 4K, 2K, and Full HD (1080p). It also supports 180-degree turnover shooting along with a time-lapse mode.
The camera features an LCD display to let you control camera options but it also features built-in WiFi (15m range) and there are apps available on Android & iOS to let you control the camera remotely with ease. The device is waterproof up to 40 meters, which is pretty decent but sadly, the wrist band with the device isn’t waterproof. While the battery life is rated at 120 minutes for the 1180 mAh non-removable battery, various reviews suggest that it failed to reach the mark almost always. While the action camera is not water resistant, a waterproof case is supplied, which lets you submerge the action camera up to 40m.
The Rollei Actioncam 420 box comes with the action camera, wrist remote control, waterproof case, basic mount, tripod adapter, flat & curved safety pad and a USB cable. On the whole, the Rollei Actioncam is a good powerful action camera that goes toe to toe with GoPro on most features but the only disappointment is that it records 4K videos at a modest 10 fps.
Buy: $204 (Amazon.co.uk)
Like these GoPro alternatives?
There’s no doubt that GoPro cameras are amazing with very few flaws but it’s understandable if you don’t want to spend north of $200 for an action camera. Well, that’s where these alternatives come into play. The fact is, these action cameras are by no means inferior to the GoPro, so if you do buy one of them, we are pretty sure you won’t be disappointed. So, planning to buy one? Which is your favorite GoPro alternative? Let us know in the comments section below.