Best GoPro Alternative in 2020

Best GoPro Alternative
Best GoPro Alternative

There’s no hiding the fact that GoPro is currently the market leader. All of the other action cameras are designed to look and function the same as the main competitor. Attach them to your helmet, take it in the deep sea, and you can even place them on a bird. If you’re up for the challenge. You will be thoroughly pleased to know that you don’t have to be a professional to know how to use them.

Why is GoPro so popular? This is because they are made for anyone and everyone. You don’t have to be a film director to create incredible movies. You just have to be an adrenaline-junkie and be ready to start the camera at any time. Furthermore, if you’re looking to purchase one for the family vacation, you should know that it’s so simple to operate that your youngest one will find it easy to understand the buttons.

On the other hand, you have to remember that if you’re looking to spend more money, you will be offered more features. This includes Wi-Fi and GPS. All very useful when you want to share your photos as soon as you capture them.

Who should buy one?

Action cameras are, as the name suggests, designed for people who live active lifestyles and want to capture their experiences, whether they be underwater, on top of a mountain, or in a cave somewhere. If any of this sounds like your ideal weekend, an action camera is exactly what you’ll need to make a digital copy of your memories. But while that’s the main demographic, we’ve seen a lot of pretty amazing video as a result of people strapping these tiny cameras to their babies, dogs, airplanes, racecars, motorcycles, or even eagles.

Also, like we brought up earlier, action cameras are meant for extreme sports and video recording, so if you’re mainly concerned about taking impressive shallow underwater stills you’d be better served with a waterproof camera. Basically, if video isn’t a priority and whatever activity you’re looking to record allows you to use your hands, then the Hero4 Silver won’t be for you.

Other sport cameras from other makers are usually a combination of lesser performance, size, mounting options, or all three.

How we picked and tested

Since we picked the GoPro Hero3+ Black edition as our favorite action camera in late 2013, nothing that came after seriously challenged its position as the overall best pick for most people—until GoPro announced the Hero4 in late 2014. The Hero4 series presented a clear enough change over its predecessors that we were able to weigh the differences between the generations without getting deep into action-packed testing.

But we’re expecting a new crop of action cameras to debut at CES in early 2020, and once we have those on hand, we’ll dive back into our intense testing regime to really pick apart what makes for the best action camera possible.

For previous iterations of this article, writer and tester Brent Rose built a rig that could accommodate all of the cameras at once, thus ensuring they would all be pointed in the right direction and shooting the same thing at (approximately) the same angle. He strapped this rig to the nose of a 9-foot longboard and paddled out and then to a bike helmet for trail rides. We also tested it in low-light and night situations.

Again, image quality was at the forefront of what we looked for, followed closely by audio quality, ease of use, features, and ruggedness (not necessarily in that order). We then evaluated the video on a professionally calibrated monitor as well as several others and analyzed audio through several sets of speakers and headphones ranging from high-end to low-end.

Top 9 Best GoPro Alternative in 2020

Pretty much any company with access to a lens, a sensor, and a waterproof housing is making action cameras these days. Thanks to the immense popularity of the GoPro (not to mention its incredibly successful IPO), everyone wants in on the camera game. But with so many different options, it can be extremely difficult to weed through them all.

1. Sony HDRAS300

YI Action Camera

Features:

  • Throw and Go
  • 8D Flips
  • Bounce Mode
  • Mobile Scratch Programming
  • Move-Based Control
  • Programming Simulator

Sony’s FDRX3000 has gotten really close to GoPro this year in terms of video performance. Images are generally very sharp (sometimes slightly more, and sometimes slightly less than the GoPro), and colors are extremely vivid. It shoots in resolutions and speeds up to 1080p 60 fps and 720p 120 fps, but it can’t do higher resolutions (such as 2.7K or 1440p) like the Hero4, nor does it have Super Mode.

It does have the capability of shooting at a 50Mbps bitrate, however in Brent’s testing at Gizmodo, he did not see a significant improvement in image quality, compared to the standard mode. You also need a higher-end, tougher-to-find SDXC micro SD card in order for that mode to work, and it chews through the battery awfully fast.

What the HDRAS300 really has going for it is audio quality. Its mic simply stomps the rest of the field, even the very good GoPro models. It’s louder and clearer, and produces an audio track that makes your video much more immersive. Battery life is better than the GoPro’s, too, topping out at a very impressive 2 hours and 40 minutes at 1080p 30 fps (versus the Hero’s 2 hours and 9 minutes).

Also, and not insignificantly, it’s roughly a few hundred bucks cheaper than a GoPro. However, if you want a kit that includes the wrist-mounted, screen-equipped Live View Remote control, you’ll have to get that separately. .

That said, there are some significant problems. For starters, Sony’s aquatic housing is only waterproof to 16 feet, which is, frankly, terrible, especially compared to the Hero4’s 131 feet. Not only that, water droplets stick to the waterproof housing’s lens cover like glue, which can obstruct your shot. Worse, the surf mount is unusable. The slightest amount of pressure (pushing through a wave) will pop it off your board.

Other mounts (such as the head strap) are problematic as well. They just aren’t very trustworthy compared to GoPro’s. The recording lights and sounds on the Sony aren’t nearly prominent enough to let you know when the camera is recording or not, especially in bright and/or loud environments. The record button is also rather tough to push, especially when in the “waterproof” housing. There’s also significant lens distortion (fisheye effect) that is very noticeable when the camera pans or tilts. We also had a ton of card errors during our testing in June, which rendered the camera incapable of shooting at very inopportune times.

Those problems aside, we still think this is a very good camera. The footage looks great most of the time and it sounds even better. For $140 less than the Hero4 Silver (unless you go for the bundle with the Live View Remote), it’s a good deal, provided you really care to use your camera in the water. You might also consider the YI Action Camera, which we talk about more in the Competition section below. Its image quality is just behind the Sony’s, and in many ways it’s easier to use.

Care and maintenance

There really isn’t a whole lot you have to do to take care of your GoPro. If you have a case for it, that’s great, but honestly we’ve never used one. We typically keep the camera in its waterproof housing, then stuff it into a sock (to prevent the housing from getting scratched) before dropping it in a backpack and running out the door. If we go surfing with it or get it exposed to saltwater, we simply rinse it off under a tap once home.

The one thing you do have to be careful of is that the rubber gasket on the waterproof housing stays clean. Just a couple grains of sand is enough to keep it from being a perfect seal, and that’s when leakage can happen. This isn’t usually a problem as long as you’re just a little bit careful.

We typically try to recharge the camera as soon as we get home from using it, that way it’s always ready to grab and run out the door. Also, extra batteries are only $20. Doubling your shooting time for twenty bucks is a no-brainer, in my book. A lot of guys we know travel with four or five batteries for longer expeditions. We typically just charge one in the camera and then swap it out, but GoPro also makes a Dual Battery Charger which charges two at once, outside of the camera. If you’re doing some hardcore shooting, that money will be well spent.

2. YI Action Camera

YI Action Camera

Features:

  • Throw and Go
  • 8D Flips
  • Bounce Mode
  • Mobile Scratch Programming
  • Move-Based Control
  • Programming Simulator

This professional quality camera can capture 4K/30fps, 2.7K/60fps, 1080P/120fps, and 720P/240fps videos. Furthermore, the 2.2-inch LCD touchscreen will allow you to control this tiny yet efficient model. You will thoroughly like the fact that the battery life will last up to 120 minutes at a resolution of 4K/30fps .

In addition to this, the Wi-Fi capabilities reach a rating of 2.4G. This means that you can download videos and photos from the camera to your smartphone without any interruptions. Control it from your smartphone when the camera is up to 33ft away.

Pros
  • Designed with 9 shooting modes
  • Created with a lithium battery
  • Corning Gorilla Glass keeps your screen protected
  • Stay connected with built-in 4.1 Bluetooth
Cons
  • Some are not happy with the casing

3. JVC GC-XA1 Adixxion

AKASO Brave 4

Features:

  • Throw and Go
  • 8D Flips
  • Bounce Mode
  • Mobile Scratch Programming
  • Move-Based Control
  • Programming Simulator

The JVC Adixxion GC-XA1 is a terrific little camera. Not only can it shoot at 1080p/60 fps and 720p/120 fps like the GoPro, but it’s waterproof to 16.4 feet without a case. It has a 1.5-inch color screen for framing and reviewing your shots, built-in Wi-Fi, and a full-sized SD card slot, which is arguably more convenient.

In most tests, image quality was just behind the GoPro in terms of sharpness. It also earns extra points for being extremely easy to use (much more so than the GoPro, in fact). It’s also got a versatile array of mounting options–more so because of the not one but two tripod mounts, one on the side and one of the bottom.

As I noted in the Gizmodo battle, though, “The Adixxion struggles with dynamic range, and has a tendency to blow out, losing detail in the highlights. It seems to try to lower the contrast to compensate, but that just makes things look washed-out.” Don’t take that to mean that it looks bad. Far from it. It just doesn’t look as good as the GoPro. For the price, though, you could do a lot worse.

Pros
  • Take photos and videos in ultra HD
  • Suitable for outdoor sports
  • Each battery can last up to 90 minutes
  • Instantly share on social media
Cons
  • No tech support provided

4. Sony HDRAS20

AKASO Brave 4

Features:

  • Throw and Go
  • 8D Flips
  • Bounce Mode
  • Mobile Scratch Programming
  • Move-Based Control
  • Programming Simulator

The AS20, announced by Sony in August, has a street price of around $130 and is basically the same camera as the AS30V, except Sony has removed GPS functionality—very likely to better distinguish the high-end AS100V and the budget end of their lineup.

However, we didn’t recommend the AS30V, so we don’t recommend the AS20, especially now that it’s further hobbled by a lack of GPS. If you can’t afford the GoPro, spend $250 and get the JVC Adixxion 2.

5. AKASO Brave 4

AKASO Brave 4

Features:

  • Throw and Go
  • 8D Flips
  • Bounce Mode
  • Mobile Scratch Programming
  • Move-Based Control
  • Programming Simulator

This model features 4K/24fps, 2K/30fps, and 1080P/60fps video resolution. In addition to this, you can choose the view angle according to your needs. Choose from 70-degrees to 170-degrees. Furthermore, the smart gyroscope will ensure anti-shaking and provide superior image stabilization.

This model also comes with its own App. You can share and edit the videos through it. Additionally, the HDMI Port will allow you to connect it with your TV. Thus, you will be able to view photos and play back videos straight on the big screen.

Pros
  • Take photos and videos in ultra HD
  • Suitable for outdoor sports
  • Each battery can last up to 90 minutes
  • Instantly share on social media
Cons
  • No tech support provided

6. AKASO EK7000

AKASO EK7000

Features:

  • Throw and Go
  • 8D Flips
  • Bounce Mode
  • Mobile Scratch Programming
  • Move-Based Control
  • Programming Simulator

This 4K ultra HD action camera is everything you need if you’re an adrenaline-junkie. Capture 4K/25fps and 2.7K/30fps video. As well as, 12MP photos at up to 30 frames per second. With the wrist remote, you will be able to control the camera settings, framing shots, and video recording.

Just like the other high-quality models, you will find that it lasts 90 minutes. Additionally, you will also enjoy the fact that it comes with 2 rechargeable 1050mAh batteries. With the built-in Wi-Fi and HDMI, you can edit and share with ease.

Pros
  • It comes with its own App
  • Wi-Fi ranges up to 10 meters
  • It can resist in extreme temperatures
  • Record life-like videos
Cons
  • Some are not happy with the casing

7. Crosstour Action Camera

Crosstour Action Camera

Features:

  • Throw and Go
  • 8D Flips
  • Bounce Mode
  • Mobile Scratch Programming
  • Move-Based Control
  • Programming Simulator

If you’re looking through the GoPro Black Friday deals, you should know that this model functions just as good. It can capture videos in full HD. Furthermore, the 170-degree wide angle lens will allow you to shoot wider scenes. Perfect for outdoor sports or scenery. If you put on the case, you can dive into water up to 98 ft.

Thus, it’s perfect for deep-sea adventures such as swimming, diving, and surfing. By connecting through the built-in Wi-Fi, you can operate the camera directly through the App. As well as, you can download and delete files.

Pros
  • 2-inch screen
  • You can use it as a dash cam
  • Capture 1080P pictures and videos
  • Designed with a stabilizer feature
Cons
  • Customer service could be better

8. Dragon Touch

Dragon Touch

Features:

  • Throw and Go
  • 8D Flips
  • Bounce Mode
  • Mobile Scratch Programming
  • Move-Based Control
  • Programming Simulator

If you want a camera where you can zoom, you should know that this model will offer you exactly that as it has been designed with a capability of 4x. You can capture 4K/30fps, 2.7K/30fps, and 1080P/60fps. As well as, the photo resolution can reach an impressive 16MP.

Furthermore, the wireless wrist remote control will allow you to change between the settings and provide you with a hands-free operation. You can dive up to 33ft. Just like GoPro. As well as, you will find the display screen very convenient as it measures 2-inches.

Pros
  • With the case, you can dive up to 100ft
  • Accessories are included at no extra price
  • You will receive 2 rechargeable batteries
  • Each battery will last 90 minutes
Cons
  • It requires Windows to function

9. Victure Action Camera

Victure Action Camera

Features:

  • Throw and Go
  • 8D Flips
  • Bounce Mode
  • Mobile Scratch Programming
  • Move-Based Control
  • Programming Simulator

This camera can record 4K videos and 20MP resolution photos. The adjustable wide viewing angle of 170-degrees will ensure that you never miss any detail.

Furthermore, the built-in Wi-Fi and HDMI feature will allow you to transfer photos and videos to your phone and TV. Therefore, you will find it easy to edit what you’ve captured and to share it with your loved ones. You will be pleased to know that you can record in time-lapse, continuous shooting, timer shot, ISO sensitivity, 4x zoom, drive mode, and night mode.

Pros
  • Waterproof up to 40 meters
  • The two 1050mAh batteries are capable of recording up to 240 minutes
  • The largest MicroSD card can hold up to 64GB
  • Numerous accessories included
Cons
  • Some have found a problem with the battery casing