With all the footage of jumping out of perfectly good planes, shredding down slopes, and even soldiers slapping cameras onto their helmets, it would seem GoPro has a lock on the rugged and small video camera market. However, this is simply not the case. Here, we will take a quick look at 5 GoPro Alternatives, showcasing more budget friendly options (those at or below $150) that don’t skimp on quality.
5. GoPro Alternative: HTC Re
While many GoPro alternatives go for a similar box or “camcorder” design we are more familiar with, the HTC Re decided to go in the opposite direction with a mini-cam that looks more periscope than camera. That being said, this interesting little gadget is nothing to laugh at. With 1080p HD video, a lens to capture 146 degrees of view, and slo-mo capabilities at 720p HD, quality recording is a breeze. While it initially only comes with 8GB storage, one can easily upgrade to 128GB for not a great deal more money. While made for one-handed use, the HTC Re also includes a mount and dock alongside the camera in the package. As as added bonus, video stabilization comes standard for this camera.
4. GoPro Alternative: Xiaomi YiCamera
The makers of the incredibly popular and inexpensive Mi smartphone series, Xiaomi also has a decent camera for the price. With 1080p HD for both standard recording and slow motion filming, and the ability to record up to 64GB of video at any given point, it’s an impressive little device. The drawback? At least for those outside of China, the device has yet to be released, not to say that it can’t be found outside of the borders. Also, those expecting an accessories package alongside the camera will be disappointed; Though there are selfie sticks, cat and dog harnesses and even an air purifier that can be bought for the device, none come standard, nor does a key feature for many would be stunt recorders, video stabilization.
3. GoPro Alternative: Sony HDR-AS20/B
Sony has had a long history with video recording tech, and it’s no shock that they would attempt to enter the GoPro alternative market. This is a more affordable version of their HDR-AS20 which is itself a 4k camera. Given that both standard and slow motion recording are possible at 1080p and 64GB to store video, this certainly isn’t a throw away choice. That being said, this model, while good for a handheld does have some places where significant improvements could be made. Coming with a rugged case that is the only mounting point for tripods, it’s a little confusing as to why the hard-shell wasn’t simply secured on from the get go. Likewise, despite being waterproof for several meters, don’t expect to be able to take stunning footage from your next scuba trip; Fish eye is a major problem with this camera when in the deep blue. That being said, a hiker would find this an excellent camera for catching vista shots, and the case itself can take quite a drop without issue.
2. GoPro Alternative: Polaroid XS100 HD
Rumored to have gone under with the effective death of film, Polariod has come back in a major way with the easy to carry XS100 HD model. With a 170 degree viewing angle, it’s just shy of the same width of view as the GoPro 3 Black, but carries with it similar 1080p quality, and little to no fish eye effect from the lens. Autorotation also comes standard in this camera which is incredibly handy given the tube design. The kit comes with an impressive amount of mounts, and fits nearly every third party mount available. The battery life of the Polaroid XS100 is impressive, nearly twice that of a GoPro. With wifi app, you can use your phone as a monitor of real time recording, and with a bit of trickery can easily have a view from a Polaroid mounted onto a drone for amazing aerial shots.
1. GoPro Alternative: FullTime Outdoors Adventure Camera
Rounding out our list of budget GoPro alternative options is probably the strongest competitor, a 4k beast with something to prove. With a 16 megapixel lens that spans the standard 170 degrees, it can capture a great amount of detail for being such a small package, and also includes a 2 inch LCD display that allows you to view newly captured footage. Footage can also be viewed via the app which can also control the camera to a great degree, and even be used to share video straight from your phone. The included accessories have chargers, a pair of batteries, a tough outer shell that can handle your standard tumbles and a depth of 30 meters in water, and nearly a dozen different mounts. For an additional charge, there’s another 31 piece kit that can be ordered from the same company to make you ready for recording nearly any stunt. Whether you want to capture video skydiving, scuba diving, or a combination of the two (which is not advised), this little camera will be a trusty tool.