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Last updated: 10 January 2017

Action cameras take a real beating, so it's important to find one that can keep up with you. That's where our comprehensive lab testing comes in – we'll help you find the best performers on the market. Not sure what you need? Try our HD action cameras buying guide, and get the lowdown on how we test action cameras

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Action cameras continue to improve in video quality and support for wireless connectivity. Add in the ease of smartphone assistance, and they're now a user-friendly proposition, even if your skills are in the 'beginner' category. 

You'll no doubt want one that shoots high-quality footage of your thrills (and spills), and one that's great value for money. That's why we've lab tested 18 models to answer the burning question: is it still all about GoPro?

Our expert reviews and lab tests will help you find the best action cameras for:

  • daylight 
  • low light 
  • artificial light 
  • still photos
  • maximum recording time.
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List of brands we tested in this review.


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Recommended retail, as of January 2017

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Ultra HD

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The GoPro Hero 4 Black and Silver editions can record at 4K resolution, as can the Panasonic HX-A1 and Sony FDR-X1000V. While the TomTom Bandit and AEE S71 technically captures 4K video it will only do so at 15 frames per second.


Device control via smartphone app

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Lets you start, stop and pause a recording and may also allow you to stream the video live online.

Audio microphone

HDMI output

Microphone input

Case required to use mounts

GPS support

Removable battery


Maximum recording time (min)

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Using the camcorder at the highest resolution possible, we measure how long in minutes the camera records before the battery loses its charge.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 50 and 300

Total weight (g)

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The total weight, with battery and any other components required for the action camera to operate.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 45 and 190

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Included in this review

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  • Overall score
  • Recommended
  • Daylight video quality score
  • Artificial light video quality score
  • Low-light video quality score
  • Still photo score
  • Preview monitor
  • Good points
  • Bad points
  • Price
  • Brand
  • Model
  • Status
  • Maximum recording time (min)
  • Tripod mount on camera
  • Removable battery
  • Self timer
  • Remote control included
  • HDMI output
  • Slow motion recording mode
  • Wireless link
  • Device control via smartphone app
  • GPS support
  • Wireless video monitoring on smartphone
  • Microphone input
  • Case required to use mounts
  • Recording time at the highest resolution per gigabyte (min)
  • Ultra HD
  • Audio microphone
  • Removable memory type
  • Water resistance with case (metres)
  • Water resistance without case (metres)
  • Still photo resolution (Mp)
  • Battery capacity (mAh)
  • Total weight (g)
  • Weight in case (g)
  • Dimensions (cm, W x H x D)
  • Contact
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