News that GoPro have announced a new camera able to film 4K footage and still be dunked underwater without breaking a sweat is exciting news indeed, but at the eye watering price of £360 it makes us question whether the GoPro 4 is indeed the way to go.

The market has become increasingly inundated with cameras from numerous companies but the ultimate question is, which one can take the biggest beating and the best pictures? Is GoPro really the way to go?

10: Liquid Image Ego

Sitting alongside some of the cheaper action cameras (the Cube and the Cool iCam), the Liquid Image Ego doesn’t really stand out a great deal. It’s only water resistant (the waterproof housing is a pricey add on) but it is pretty tough, has WiFi and is easy to use. But crucially, its footage is only average and the price is way in excess of what you’d expect for what it delivers.

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9: Polaroid Cube

For the price, the cube is an absolute bargain. You’re unlikely to find anything which can deliver as good value a performance anywhere else. Of course, its picture quality isn’t as good as other cameras and it doesn’t have any whizz bang features but if you want a camera to attach to awkward places with its handy (and very strong) magnet and which looks pretty stylish then this is the only real choice for you.

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8: ION Cool iCam

Ion’s Cool iCam– the company’s newest model – is aimed at being children friendly and in that respect it certainly delivers exactly what you’d expect. It’s very easy to use (a simple on off switch serves as a start recording and stop recording button too) and it’s cool enough for kids to actually want to have a go with it. Where it does suffer though is in its video quality. It’s true that youngsters probably aren’t as fussy about that but in an age where children are used to filming video on mobile phones for fun, surely a camera has to deliver much better quality? Of course, you can’t strap a phone to your bike or throw it around with ease but it doesn’t make it any less disappointing. For just £60 though, you can’t really expect 4K footage.

 

7: JVC GC-XA1 ADIXXION

The Addixxion is probably the best looking of the action cameras available. It looks rugged, cool and has a screen to check your footage as you film. I wouldn’t be too confident with durability though, the test model we used had some issues with playback and although it was just a faulty model it doesn’t bode well for a camera that is meant to withstand bumps and knocks. Having said that, the footage was some of the best captured in low light and it even has a handy clock built into the video to tell you when you filmed; useful if you need to arrange footage in sequence.

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6:DRIFT HD GHOST

Although it’s easily one of the best-looking action cameras available, the Drift HD Ghost is surprisingly disappointing. Its waterproof case and pivoting camera lense are fantastic but unfortunately they are backed up by average footage; particularly when filming in the dark. The camera can certainly deliver on many fronts; its mounting system is clever, the casing feels tough and ready to go and the design makes it pleasing to look at. But despite delivering Full HD, the image distorts even in slight changes of light, it’d be a fantastic choice if you could use it only in the daytime.

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5: MUVI K-Series K2

The Muvi K Series really looks the part. Not only does it look like some sort of underwater sub used by James Bond, it also comes in a gadget filled case to rival the agent’s briefcase. It’s hard for it to not feel like Christmas when you open it for the first time. The footage from the Muvi looks great, its crisp high definition easily handles light and dark and filming with multiple frame rate options allows it to tackle a diverse range of situations. The only flaw in its gorgeous design is that when recording, a blue LED lights up on the front which can be a tad distracting if you’re filming in the dark but on the other hand, at least you know for sure it’s on.

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4: Polaroid XS100i

The X100i is a really well thought out action camera. Not only is it waterproof to 15m straight out of the box (most come with ugly looking cases to be waterproof to that depth) but it is also incredibly easy to use. The switch turns the camera on and starts recording without any other fuss, taking pictures is dead easy and the footage it films looks great. It even handles footage in the dark fairly well because it captures two separate files each time you record (one which is higher quality for motion and another for low light). There may not be many ways you can change the settings (some, like the GoPro, have loads of adjustable settings) but most users won’t be too fussed by that. The X100i is undeniably great, especially those who just want to strap it on and go; it may not be best for filmmakers but adrenaline junkies will fall head over heels for it.

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3: iON Air Pro 3

The final cylindrical action camera in the list is easily the best one; the footage is decidedly head and shoulders above the Air Pro 3’s competitors. The Full HD sensor manages to capture crystal clear pictures even at great speed and in low-light. Although its easy to use on off switch is perfect for most uses, it’s worth noting that you should keep it clean, the joins can easily become stiff on this kind of switch. Having said that, it’s only a small downside to an otherwise excellent camera. It’s waterproof, easy and quick to use (once you’ve updated to the latest firmware) and captures great footage. I can’t imagine what else you’d want from an action camera.

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2: Sony HDR AS100vr

Sony’s second Action Cam model is a truly impressive model. It looks great (although the waterproof casing is as reliably ugly as expected), it delivers fantastic quality footage and has a whole host of mounting options, which make it as diverse as you’d hope from an action camera. The waterproof case isn’t as good as some (5m) but even out of the body the camera is splash proof so there’s no need to get worried about a bit of rain. The real selling point though, is the fantastic picture quality. After all, a camera isn’t much good if it can withstand water but not film in good quality, with the AS100, you can always guarantee gorgeous HD footage.

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1: Go Pro HERO4- BLACK EDITION – ADVENTURE

The camera synonymous with the phrase action cameras is actually an ugly little machine but we shouldn’t judge on looks alone, the GoPro Hero 4 Black Edition is an undeniably accomplished camera. It delivers cracking footage in 4K (that’s four times more detail than Full HD!) and can capture slow motion, various frame rates and be attached to an incredible range of mounts (even, for some reason, a doggie mount). There’s a reason for why the GoPro has become so popular, it’s because it delivers fantastic results time and time again. It may be a pricey option but if you want to do your adventures justice it’s still undeniably the best way to go.

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About the author

Harry Parkhill

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I am the Editor for the Evans Review. I have previous experience working as a writer and editor for dozens of publications, including The Daily Telegraph, MSN, the Editorial section of (now defunct) LOVEFiLM, Kettle Mag and Journalism-Now Politically right of centre.