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HD action camera reviews

We've tested 14 HD action cameras for both stills and video, ranging in price from $159 to $549. Epic.
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01 .Introduction

Action camera

We reveal which models, priced from $159 to $549, deliver the goods when it comes to:

  • the best quality video in daylight, low light and artificial light
  • ease of use
  • the best battery life
  • taking the best still photos

On this page, you'll find:

The popularity of the action camera in the era of the smartphone can be traced to one major feature – durability.

While the smartphone has replaced the compact still camera and dedicated video camera for many, most people would think twice before strapping an $800 smartphone to the bonnet of their car or to their helmet before hurtling down a bike track. 

But even if your recreational activities aren’t extreme, action cameras are also well suited to anyone who simply wants something to take to the beach or throw in a backpack when travelling overseas.

Still not close

No action camera on test delivers better video than the top-performing HD video cameras we’ve tested, or still images that come close to those produced by the best still cameras available today. However, all are built for durability, and when combined with the accessories to mount the camera to almost anything, become a great option for extreme action lovers, as well as occasional weekend warriors.

Last action Hero

The Hero range from GoPro helped popularise the action camera market, delivering affordable, durable video capture to extreme users. The just-released Hero 3+ offers additional features such as 4K resolution video at high frame rates and is covered in the latest update. 

Brands and models tested

  • Contour 2
  • Drift Innovation HD Ghost
  • DXG 5G9V HD ironX
  • Garmin VIRB
  • GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition
  • GoPro Hero3+ Silver Edition
  • Intova SportHD
  • iON AirPro 2
  • JVC GC-XA2
  • Panasonic HX-A100
  • Polaroid XS80
  • Rollei Bullet 5S WiFi
  • Sony HDR-AS30V

Previously tested models

  • GoPro Hero3 Black Edition
  • GoPro Hero3 Silver Edition
  • GoPro Hero3 White Edition
  • Liquid Image Model 727 the EGO
  • Midland XTC300VP4
  • Oregon Scientific ATC Chameleon
  • Polaroid XS100
  • Sony HDR-AS15

How we test

We assess action cameras for:

  • Video quality performance in daylight, low light and artificial light conditions
  • Ease of use
  • Battery life
  • Still photo performance
For more information on pocket camcorders or video cameras go to our electronics section.

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