In a world where thrilling adventures and epic sports moments unfold, there exists a technological marvel that has revolutionized the realm of travel and sport photography—the action camera. With its ability to capture jaw-dropping footage, even in the hands of a complete novice, it has become synonymous with the term itself. And in this landscape, one name reigns supreme—the mighty GoPro.
Yet, as the quest for the perfect action camera continues, a question arises: Is there a contender out there that can rival the GoPro empire? The answer, we believe, lies beyond the realms of brand loyalty. While we hold immense admiration for GoPro, we must acknowledge that they are not the sole protagonist in this narrative.
Recent advancements in image stabilization and quality have opened doors to a multitude of alternatives that demand our attention. These cameras, often overshadowed by the GoPro juggernaut, prove their mettle and present compelling options for those seeking the perfect travel companion. For it is through the lens of performance, value for money, and convenience that we embark on a journey to uncover the best GoPro alternative in the year 2021.
Join us as we delve into the intricacies of these cameras, assessing their capabilities, unraveling their potential, and seeking the gems that challenge the GoPro status quo. It is a quest driven not by blind rivalry, but by the desire to provide you, the adventurer, with an array of choices that meet your unique needs.
So, gather your gear and prepare to traverse the landscapes of action camera excellence. Together, let us unveil the contenders that have risen to the challenge, proving that in this dynamic world of technology, the throne of the action camera kingdom can be claimed by more than just a single ruler.
- When purchasing a camera, high resolution is not the only important feature. There are other features to be considered such as battery life, image stabilization, etc.
- If you want a camera that can accompany you for travel and other adventures, then best be on the lookout for waterproof and rugged built features.
- Even though GoPro is all the rage right now, there are alternatives that can give you value for money.
Our Favorite GoPro Alternative Picks
If you’re looking for a good GoPro alternative, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve scoured the internet and found what we feel are some of the best options out there in 2021. We’ve tried to find options to fit a wide variety of budgets.
We’ve also kept in mind that an action camera doesn’t always need sky-high resolution to do a great job.
1. YI 4K Camera
This 4K-capable action camera is one of our favourite GoPro alternatives. The battery life in particular deserves a mention. No action camera can compete with the battery of a larger DSLR, for example, but the YI 4K does very well within its bracket.
Users can expect up to 120 minutes of 4K footage shot at 30fps. This is pretty impressive considering how lightweight and compact this thing is. We really like the UI on this one too.
The intuitive touchscreen design is refreshingly simple to navigate and the built-in Wi-Fi/ Bluetooth connectivity features let you share your shots almost instantly. We were impressed by the electronic image stabilization on this action camera.
For the most part, videos come out buttery-smooth without much effort required at all. Since the latest firmware update, it’s been possible to control this action cam with your voice for hands-free shooting. This model has an optional waterproof case designed to protect it from the elements while you explore.
This is a fantastic GoPro alternative with some great image stabilization and convenience features to sweeten the deal. For our money, this one is well worth considering.
- Comparatively long battery life
- 4K capable
- Uses a pretty powerful Sony image sensor
- The waterproof case requires an additional purchase which is a shame
2. Campark Act74 (Upgraded Model)
This is a 2021 upgrade to the hugely popular Campark Act74 action camera. The price is one thing that really stands out with this one. You can pick up this GoPro killer for around $50 on Amazon. Don’t let the price throw you off, though. This camera is no slouch.
Enjoy stunning 4K video recording at 30fps and capture your action shots in all their glory with the 20MP optical sensor. Your footage should stay nice and steady thanks to Campark’s electronic image stabilization that works tirelessly while you explore.
The included remote control with this model is a nice touch; it makes hands-free shooting much easier and is pretty easy to use too. Another huge plus that sets this option apart from other GoPro alternatives is the included external microphone that improves audio performance considerably.
This action camera stays waterproof at up to 131ft, making it an excellent candidate if you’re looking for a camera that can dive with you into the seas. The 60-90 minute battery life on this Campark is acceptable but not groundbreaking.
What did catch out attention, however, was the fact that this unit comes with two batteries and a charging cable as standard. We believe that bringing extra juice with you is the only way to make action cams viable for longer trips, so this is great to see.
- Waterproof up to 131ft
- Gorgeous 4K video recording
- Included remote control and external microphone
- The included user manual is a little skimpy
3. Akaso V50 Pro
This option is a little more expensive than some of the action cameras we’ve mentioned thus far but it comes with plenty to sink your teeth into. The Akaso V50 Pro is a versatile action cam with remarkable optical performance and a killer feature set.
One thing we love about the Akaso V50 Pro is the ability to adjust the viewing angle when shooting. This gives you a fair bit of extra flexibility when capturing your adventures. Your options when tweaking your view are super wide, wide, medium and narrow.
This range should be more than enough to get your subject(s) into shot. A 6-axis gyroscope and industry-standard image stabilization work in tandem to keep your videos as smooth as possible.
One thing you often see with non-GoPro action cameras is that the brands throw in extras to make their products seem more appealing. This is certainly true with the Akaso V50 Pro. This camera comes with an extra battery thrown in for good measure along with a remote control bracelet and bonus accessory kit.
If you’re looking for value for money, this option is right up your street. Among the other positives about the Akaso V50 Pro are the built-in wifi, waterproof case design and companion app for easy content sharing.
- Flexible viewing angle for more user control
- Extra battery included
- Great optical performance
- The low-light performance isn’t great
4. Akaso EK7000
Another option from Akaso, this GoPro challenger doesn’t come with quite the power level of some other cameras, but it’s also considerably cheaper. This is perhaps the best GoPro alternative on this list if you’re looking for a reliable helmet or security cam.
If you decide to use the Akaso EK7000 for your outdoor exploits, you’ll be able to take advantage of its waterproof design that stays safe up to 131ft deep. You should also find it relatively easy to navigate; Akaso prides themselves on producing cameras with intuitive, touchscreen-focused UIs.
The image stabilization on this GoPro challenger isn’t state of the art, but it’s no slouch either. Expect your snowboarding or biking footage to be stable and clear throughout. As for video quality, the Akaso EK7000 produces lovely footage at either 4K/25fps, 2.7K/30fps or 1080P/60fps.
Considering the the sub-$70 asking price, this is a surprising level of performance in our opinion. The built-in WiFi features on this model work very well and make it simple to share your footage with the world.
If you don’t need a GoPro alternative that can shoot 60fps 4K video, the lower price of this one might make it worth your while.
- Makes a great helmet cam
- Very affordable
- The WiFi features work well
- The battery gauge on the UI isn’t super accurate
5. Garmin Virb Ultra 30
The Virb Ultra 30 is perhaps the best GoPro alternative on this list in terms of raw power. It’s designed with aviation in mind but also works fantastically in place of a normal GoPro.
This thing is packed full of firepower for capturing your adventures in ultra-high definition. Video quality like this comes at a price but if you can afford it, it’s worth the investment.
A number of technical considerations that come with this 4K action camera can breathe new life into your videos. It’s possible to document your position, altitude, speed and much more while you film. This information can then be added to your shots to give insight into your flights and bike rides.
This camera produces footage with stunning video quality and crisp detail. Videos can be shot at 4K/30fps and the image stabilization is supported by a 3-axis gyroscope for accurate corrections on the fly.
If you’re flying with Bluetooth-enabled headsets, the Ultra 30 can record your audio and add it to your footage in post. While the battery life on this option isn’t great, it packs a hefty punch when compared to other GoPro competitors.
- Live position and audio recording
- Brilliant 4K video quality
- Built-in WiFi
- The battery life isn’t great
6. TomTom Bandit 4K Action Cam
If battery life is important to you, and it should be, then this 4K GoPro competitor is worth considering. The TomTom Bandit can shoot up to 3 hours of video continuously without needing a cable.
This makes it a great option for longer trips where you’re likely to be away from a power source for extended periods of time. Throw in an extra battery or two and you’re looking at a GoPro alternative that could last you all day!
As with the camera above, the Bandit can record details of your position and speed live and add this data to your footage. This can bring an exciting new layer of immersion to your videos. An important thing to note is that this camera doesn’t come with a waterproof housing.
If you’re using it for bike rides, you’ll be absolutely fine. If you’re boating down rapids, look elsewhere. The action camera market is increasingly saturated. Competitors are finding more and more ways to stand out from the rest.
In the case of TomTom, they’ve opted to include media server functionality with their camera. This lets users edit their footage via a companion smartphone app without having to download it first. Pretty impressive if you ask us.
- Innovative features like media server functionality
- 3h battery for extended filming
- Record live data of your position when filming
- Not the cheapest option out there
7. Dragon Touch 4K Action Camera
At less than half the price of most GoPro cameras, the Dragon Touch action cam is one of our favorites. Both still images and videos from this camera look great and can be captured using up to a 4x zoom for close-up shots.
The waterproof housing provided by the included case keeps your camera safe while you film. The waterproofing on this model is good up to 100ft which should be more than enough for most use cases. The free companion app for the Dragon Touch 4K makes it trivial to share your footage with other people.
If you’re filming a sport where you have both your hands full, the included wrist remote control will come in handy. It can be used to trigger both still images and video recording at the press of a button. What we love about this action cam is its versatile features.
The Dragon Touch 4K has a wide variety of shooting modes that allow it to adapt to virtually any scenario you throw at it. These options include driving mode, image rotation, time-lapse, loop recording, slow motion and ‘dramashot’ for a welcome boost to versatility.
- Decent image resolution at less than half the price of a GoPro
- Tons of shooting modes for versatile shooting
- Included wrist remote
- Unfortunately this one isn’t Mac compatible
8. Akaso Brave
You may have noticed how prevalent the Akaso name is throughout this review. These guys are one to look out for when buying a GoPro alternative. At the time of writing, this camera is the #1 bestseller on Amazon in the “Underwater Camera” category. We think this title is well deserved.
There’s a lot to love about the Akaso Brave. The adjustable viewing angle, bonus accessories and stunning image resolution make this an excellent addition to any adventurer’s toolkit.
Akaso are willing to include an extra battery, a remote control wrist band and a slew of other mini accessories with this camera, making this option excellent value for money in our opinion. Sharing your images is one of the best parts of taking them in the first place.
The built-in WiFi and HDMI connectivity features of the Akaso Brave makes this sharing even sweeter. Overall, this is a fantastic action camera that’s considerably cheaper than your average GoPro.
- #1 bestseller on Amazon
- Tons of bonus accessories
- A great GoPro alternative
- The battery life could be better
How to Spot a Good Action Camera
When finding a new action cam for your gear, it’s important to know what to look out for. There’s no point investing in a camera that’s just going to let you down. This section will outline what makes a GoPro alternative worth buying.
Ignore this one if you just need a GoPro alternative to use as a webcam or something similar. Otherwise, it’s important to make sure your action camera can stand up to the elements. Check for good waterproofing and, ideally, a body that’s built to last.
Some GoPro competitors are incredibly cheap, but they’re not very durable. Keep an eye out for the build quality of any product you consider.
It goes without saying that any GoPro alternative you choose should deliver the image quality you need. Don’t just look for the number of megapixels; it’s also important to check the frame rate and video resolution your chosen action camera offers.
Some manufacturers rely on the fact that many consumers aren’t privy to fps or video resolution. Keep a keen eye to avoid disappointment.
The image stabilization built into the best GoPro alternatives keeps footage far less shaky and blurry. As this type of camera is typically used in environments with a lot of movement, features like this are a must. Most cameras use electronic image stabilization, which can actually work better for video footage than its optical counterpart.
This will depend on your use case, but an action camera with good Wi-Fi functionality can make it much easier to share your shots with others. Considering that most people pick up a GoPro alternative for holidays and social sporting events, being able to quickly share content is often a priority.
Unfortunately, even the best GoPro alternatives don’t have an all-day battery life. The same is true of official GoPro cameras. That said, it’s important to make sure you get something with at least a little life.
Around 1-2 hours of battery life is to be expected. Anything lower than 45 minutes is far from optimal.
As we come to the end of our exploration, it’s important to clarify our intentions. We hold no intentions of diminishing the brilliance of GoPro cameras; they are indeed remarkable devices that have left an indelible mark on the world of photography. However, we embark on this journey of discovery to shed light on a different perspective—one that considers the budget-conscious adventurer.
In a world filled with fierce competition, it is essential to recognize that alternatives exist, offering enticing cameras at significantly lower prices. These contenders may not bear the GoPro name, but they possess their own unique charms and capabilities that should not be overlooked.
So, as you stand at the crossroads of choosing the perfect camera for your adventures, let us remind you that options abound. Consider the multitude of brands vying for your attention, promising exceptional quality without breaking the bank.
Whichever path you choose, whether it leads you to the realms of GoPro or one of its challengers, we wish you endless joy in your filming endeavors. May every frame be filled with excitement, every scene be brimming with wonder, and every memory be immortalized through the lens of your chosen camera.
Remember, it is in the act of capturing life’s incredible moments that we weave the tapestry of our personal stories. So, go forth, embrace the possibilities, and let your camera be the faithful companion that brings your adventures to life. Happy filming!