GoPro makes some of our favorite action cameras available today, including the GoPro Hero5, and has set the standard for what to look for when it comes to these handheld rugged devices. Buying GoPro cameras will set you back quite a bit, but it’s thankfully not the only name in town anymore – a number of manufacturers have entered this burgeoning market with their own high-quality, low-cost action cams.
If you’re ready to jump on the action cam bandwagon but don’t want to shell out hundreds for something like the high-end GoPro Hero5 Black edition, the GoPro Hero 4, the GoPro Hero 3, or the GoPro Karma, then we’ve picked out some excellent and affordable GoPro alternatives – including some 4K models – that won’t break the bank.
The Best Deal
HDCool HC8000 4K action camera — $60
Camera technology is only getting smaller and more affordable, and you no longer have to pay through the nose for 4K video recording capability. Case in point is the box-shaped HDCool HC8000 4K high-resolution action cam. Its specs aren’t quite as impressive as the GoPro Hero lineup’s, but the HDCool is still no slouch. This little unit records 4K video at 30 fps or 1080p footage at 60 fps, and it also boasts a 16MP image sensor for photographs with a 4K stills resolution. Its 170-degree wide-angle lens ensures that this camera doesn’t miss anything, and the device comes with a number of different mounts and a waterproof housing that works at depths of up to 120 feet, along with some other accessories. It also comes with two 1,050mAh batteries, each of which provides up to 90 minutes of life.
Competing GoPro alternatives normally come in at around $100 to $130, but you can snag the HDCool HC8000 for just $60.
Yi Discovery 4K action camera — $52
Kicking off the rest of our GoPro alternative deals is this excellent Yi 4K action camera. Yi is a strong GoPro rival, and the company recently beat out GoPro for a contract for Google’s ongoing VR project. Similar to the Hero or Hero 5, this action cam is capable of recording 4K video at a 20 frames per second frame rate or 1080p at 60 fps for true HD video quality and image stabilization. A 150-degree wide-angle lens captures all the action, while the 2-inch full-color touchscreen shows you everything as it happens. Wi-Fi connectivity makes it simple to sync the unit with your mobile device so you can manage your footage with the Yi Action app.
The Yi 4K camera is currently available on Amazon for $52 with a limited-time $8 coupon (redeemable on the product page). You can also score the waterproof case for $20 (50 percent off) when you purchase this Yi 4K action camera.
Vtech Kidizoom action camera — $28
If you’ve got a young adventurer or aspiring action photographer in your life, then check out the kid-friendly (not to mention wallet-friendly) Kidizoom from Vtech. This easy-to-use action cam captures both video and still photos, and is loaded with preprogrammed filters and editing effects. The Kidizoom comes with a rugged case that’s waterproof at up to 6 feet – perfect for taking to the pool or the beach – along with both a bike mount and an adhesive flat mount, though it won’t handle low light well.
It may not be the Hero 5 Black, GoPro Hero 3, or Hero 5 session, but with a price tag of $28 ($22 off), it’s a great cheap action camera for any aspiring adventurer.
Intova Dub action camera — $35
The Intova Dub is purpose-built for adventures that take you out on the lake, ocean, or just into the swimming pool, thanks to a housing that is waterproof at depths of up to 200 feet. Better still, this housing floats, so if you drop the cam in the water, it’ll be safe and easy to retrieve. The Dub shoots Full HD video at 1080p resolution with its 108-degree lens and features a 1.5-inch LCD screen. The internal battery lasts for up to two hours before needing to recharge, and the camera’s threaded mounting hole is compatible with standard aftermarket mounts and attachments.
The Intova Dub normally goes for around $100 from most retailers, but at just $35 from B&H after a nice $65 discount, this action cam a capable and incredibly budget-friendly GoPro alternative if you’re looking for a rugged, waterproof, and floatable action cam for boating and other watersports.
Nexgadget 1080p action camera — $40
If you’re seeking a really affordable GoPro alternative, Nexgadget is a great entry-level option. Although you’re not likely to find a 4K unit at this price, the Nexgadget still boasts impressive camera features with its 1080p video recording capability, 170-degree ultra wide-angle lens, and vibrant 2-inch LCD display. The Nexgadget action cam also utilizes an impressive 14-megapixel sensor for shooting still and time-lapse photos. Included with the device is a durable waterproof case, which makes the Nexgadget perfect for all of your underwater adventures at depths of up to 100 feet.
At just $40 on Amazon, the Nexgadget 1080p cam is the perfect choice for those who want to dip their feet into the world of decent action cameras without spending an arm and a leg.
Sony HDR-AS50 1080p action camcorder — $168
Sony has also gotten into the action cam game in recent years, and its lineup of wearable video recorders offers a unique and not-too-expensive alternative to traditional designs. The HDR-AS50 action camcorder is purpose-built for mounting to a variety of outdoor equipment, from helmets to bikes. Unlike other action cameras that feature a built-in touch display, this Sony model comes with a live-view remote that straps to your wrist, giving you a head-up display and control hub so you don’t have to fiddle with the camera wherever its mounted. The HDR-AS50 also shoots crisp 1080p videos at 60fps or 720p videos at 120fps, and utilizes a 12MP sensor for still photography.
A discount of $30 brings the Sony HDR-AS50 1080p action cam down to $168 on B&H.
Ion Cool-iCam S3000 action camcorder — $26
A cheaper alternative to the Sony action camcorder is the Cool-iCam S3000 from Ion, which features a similar form factor that’s ideal for mounting to bikes, vehicles, watercraft, and more. The Cool-iCam can shoot 720p HD video at 30 frames per second and can take 5MP still photos. The camera is waterproof at depths of up to 10 feet without the need for a separate case and has a battery life of up to two hours.
It comes with a handy bike mount as well, and at this price, it’s a great choice for a bicycling action camera for kids and teens. The Ion Cool-iCam S3000 action camcorder is one of the cheapest GoPro alternatives of its kind, coming in at a low $26 from Amazon.
Polaroid Cube action camera — $54
Polaroid may be best-known for its classic instant-print photo cameras, but the company has managed to keep up with the times by offering its own lineup of affordable GoPro alternatives that bear the iconic rainbow-striped Polaroid design. The Polaroid Cube 1080p action cam is as attractive as it is affordable, with a 124-degree wide-angle lens and a tough, splash-resistant rubberized housing.
The Polaroid Cube is compatible with a wide array of mounts, but it also features built-in magnets for easy attachment to metal surfaces. Normally $100 to $120, the black Polaroid Cube action cam comes in at $54 from Amazon.
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