Theo is a tech junkie constantly looking for the next big thing.
Today, we will be taking an in-depth look at the Akaso V50 Pro action camera. This was the top of the line action camera at the time of this writing. As I was finishing up this review, Akaso released an even higher end action camera, the V50 Pro Elite. While my focus has been on the V50 Pro, the Elite model offers native 4K recording at 60 fps and 8x zoom. If this is something you require, then the Elite model will most likely suit your needs better.
Features At a Glance
I highly recommend that you visit Akaso's website to compare the different features offered. If you require the bare minimum, the Brave 4 and Brave 6 action cameras will more than likely get the job done.
If features such as recording in 4K at 60 frames per second, zoom, Wi-Fi, and photo modes are crucial to you, then the V50 Pro and V50 Elite will be your best options. I opted for the V50 Pro as it included all the features I required and then some.
In this list, the adjustable field of view was actually the feature that caught my attention first. I consider this a useful feature when doubling the action cam as a dash cam. During my testing, this is exactly what I did. We will review the video quality later on in this review.
The packaging is quite deceiving. On first glance, I never would've thought that it was possible to include all the accessories that they did. When we take a look at the list of accessories, you just might be surprised to see how extensive they are. As for the packaging itself, the key features are listed right on the box itself.
Over on the back of the box, you'll find the full technical specifications. A couple of things stood out to me. Firstly, you will be required to supply your own micro-SD card. This isn't a big deal, but there is one detail to note. As stated in the user manual, you cannot use a micro-SD card with a capacity over 64 GB. Furthermore, the optimal rating card rating is Class 10 or UHS-III.
The other detail that caught my eye was the battery. I was quite surprised to see that Akaso included, not one, but two batteries. As this action cam was being shipped to me, I thought about acquiring an additional battery as I operated under the assumption that only one battery would be included.
The first pamphlet is the quick reference guide. It doesn't offer much information other than the battery placement in your action cam. The intention of this guide is simply to get you started with powering on this action cam. As long as you match up the contact pins, the battery will slide right in.
The actual manual is somewhat lengthy, so Akaso opted not to include a paper copy of it. Instead, you'll find instructions to gain web access to actual their manual. You can either scan the QR code or enter in the website address manually.
Once you access the manual, I recommend that you download it in PDF format. This way, you have an offline copy for reference. One of the main benefits of having the manual in digital format is that you can use the "Find" functionality to quickly locate the instructions that only pertain to you. This is incredibly useful when you need to look up a specific feature to determine if you should have it enabled or not.
Want even more accessories? Simply share your experience. I personally didn't do this step yet, but it would be nice to receive additional batteries. Of course, you can definitely choose another set of mounts or the micro-SD card. It's really up to you.
Support and Warranty
In terms of product support, I never had the need to contact Akaso. However, Akaso offers 12 months of warranty extension provided that you register your purchase on their website. This process is very simple. Simply fill out your Amazon Order ID and your email address and you're done.
Action Camera Unboxed
This is the first look at the actual action cam. When I took it out of the packaging, it was already mounted with an enclosed hard case. I have quite a few takeaways here.
The hinge was very tight so there's absolutely no way for the action cam to tilt undesirably with brisk motions. When we take a look at the accessories, I will be able to show you the reason behind this.
The back panel is removed via a flap on the top. Given how tight it was to flip this flap open, I'm pretty confident that this ensures a tight seal for the waterproof capabilities. While it may be a little difficult to tell from this photo, there is a rubber seal lined around this back panel. This is how Akaso is able to advertise the waterproof capabilities. While I haven't been able to test this out yet, I do wonder how this seal will hold up over time in salt water. In the list of accessories that I will be showing later, Akaso did not include extra rubber seals. This has been my only concern so far.
Each battery has an embedded pull tab. Do NOT cut this off or else you will not be able to remove the battery from the acton camera.
This appears to be a standard 1,100 mAh battery designed for action cameras. The model number is B028115350001. In case two batteries aren't enough for you, additional batteries can be purchased through third-party vendors with this model number. I did a quick search and found out that these batteries typically go for $15 to $20, making them quite affordable if you require continuous recording.
Aside from your standard warning messages, the battery features a three-pin connection. Before inserting the battery, be sure to confirm the orientation or you may risk damaging the pins inside the action camera.
Now that we have covered the major components of this action cam, here's a rundown of the included accessories.
If you recall my earlier mention of the tightness of the hinge, this is how you achieve it. The mount tool aligns perfectly with the interlocking rod. When using this mount tool, it's crucial to ensure you do not over-tighten the hinge.
Multiple hinge and mount pieces are included. These items will help you orient the action cam in the angle needed. To be perfectly honest, I have no idea how to use any of them properly yet. After mounting the action cam in my car, I just focused on collecting footage to assess the overall video quality. Fortunately, the manual does a good job outlining the required components for the helmet and bike mounting.
Multi-Purpose Base Mounts
With two base plates and two double-sided adhesives, you can essentially mount the action cam on any flat surface. For extra protection, you can loop the action camera through the cord to prevent it from dropping in the event that the base plate becomes loose.
After browsing Akaso's website, I did not see any opportunities to purchase additional double-sided adhesives. Given the shape they are cut in, I think that it might be challenging to make your own adhesives with the same sizing. This is a small concern of mine.
There are certain situations where you'll forgo the the hard case. One of these situations is when you are biking. According to Akaso's manual, you would use this frame mount for cycling related activities. This makes sense because the hard case adds additional weight to your helmet or handle bar. Either way, it will affect your balance and overall comfort. The only concern I have with this setup is the lens. It seems that the lens can be damaged especially on windy days. The safer route is to use the hard case, but sacrifice on the weight and bulk.
For a handle bar setup, you will need to use this mount to secure the action camera in lace. Admittedly, this doesn't look like the most elegant setup. I would've expected to see some kind of clamp or zip tie solution as seen with Quad Lock Case. Personally, I don't think I would be using this mount given how cables are secured on my bike.
If you do not read the manual, you probably wouldn't know what these are for. I sure didn't. Only after reading the manual did I realize that these are helmet straps. After studying the manual, I highly recommend this setup. Out of the three possible setups outlined in the manual, the helmet straps will center the action cam. This not only mimics your field of you, it will also increase stabilization versus mounting the action camera to your handle bar. You don't have to worry about shock and vibration travelling through the fork and impacting the video quality with a helmet setup.
I actually don't know what these are for to be honest. If you search "zip ties" or variations of this term, you will not find any mentions in the manual. The only thing that I can think of is to complement the other biking accessories.
I know Quad Lock Case uses zip ties to secure their mount. If I were to venture a wild guess, I would say it's the same for Akaso. The zip ties will be able to really secure down the action cam if you believe you cannot get a secure enough installation with the clamp.
Last, but not least, you have one of the most important accessories - the micro-fiber cleaning cloth. Do not get this dirty as you will need to clean the lens on the action cam with it. Of course, micro-fiber cloths aren't that expensive. You can source them on Amazon or your local electronics store. I recommend storing the micro-fiber cloth in the Ziploc bag when you're not using it.
My Car Setup
I secured the base plate on the platform for my old Garmin GPS. I really didn't want to risk more patches of adhesive residue when I need to remove everything.
Given that this action cam can go up to 170 degrees field of view, this was the setting I used in my testing. I also had EIS or electronic image stabilization enabled by default. Through my video upload, you can determine how shaky the footage was for yourself. One problem I've been having with the image stabilization is with the base plate. Since there is a foam layer on the double sided adhesive sticker, the action cam will wobble as it "bounces" in its place.
While you definitely don't need to do this, I decided to use the hard case for a bit of extra protection. I consider the hard case the safest way to avoid getting unnecessary dust and debris on the lens. I haven't noticed any sacrifices in the video quality so I don't think this is a big concern with the hard case.
SD Card Specifications
I purchased the 64 GB Samsung EVO Plus MicroSD card. This is classified as a Class 3 micro-SDXC card. This card can write up to 60 MB/s and is quite durable. It was advertised as being shock proof, waterproof, x-ray proof, and magnet proof. Naturally, I didn't test any of these features, but it's a nice piece of mind.
I sorted my recordings into three categories, as listed below.
- Bright Sunny Day Preview
- Cloudy Day Preview
- Daytime Preview
The difference between #1 and #3 is simply the positioning of the sun when I was recording. There was a day when I was driving in the direction of the sun so the action cam caught a good portion of it. I thought this would be an interesting opportunity to see how the action cam performed under direct sunlight.
In terms of the settings, I disabled all "correction" features. I wanted to rely as little as possible on their software for video quality enhancements. Any feature that I couldn't disable, I set it to automatic.
Video Test: Bright Sunny Day Preview
Right off the bat, you'll notice that the action cam picked up the micro-scratches on the hard case. The only way to avoid this, I'd say, is simply to not use the hard case. However, I rather have the micro-scratches on the case than the actual lens.
Video quality under direct sunlight definitely suffered. You'll notice the the significant difference in contrast where the bright patches are very bright and the other areas are quite dark. If you need to record under bright sunlight, you will need to play with the video settings to enhance the video quality in the sunny conditions.
Video Test: Cloudy Day Preview
This test fared quite well in my opinion. However, viewing this video can be quite subjective due to your brightness and contrast settings. As I was driving on this particular day, it definitely was not sunny or bright out. Even though there were threats of rain and storm clouds, all the road signs were legible. The action cam did struggle a bit more when it came to identifying license plates. Nevertheless, I am quite pleased with the low light performance. I'm sure if you enable the low light enhancement in the video settings, the overall video will appear to be slightly brighter.
For the most part, this action cam got the job done. If you are recording on a gloomy day, there should be no issues identifying people and objects. As shown in the video, it will struggle in picking up smaller blocks of text. It's definitely worthwhile to play around with the advanced video settings.
Video Test: Daytime Preview
This test was by far the most straight forward and the Akaso V50 Pro absolutely exceeded my expectations.
The color accuracy was on point. Without any video enhancements, you don't get any unrealistic color saturations. The blueness and greenness of the sky and trees were well represented.
You'll also notice that all the road signs, even the smaller ones, were all legible. Granted the text weren't the sharpest, but you could still read every word the signs said.
The only dislike I had was the sunlight refraction in the hard case. To be honest, I don't think there is anyway around this other than to simply not use the hard case. Given that I opted for the hard case, I guess I was asking for this.
Other than that, I have next to no complaints with the daytime video recording quality. I was quite surprised to see how well the videos turned out given that the Akaso action cam's price is a fraction of that of GoPro's.
You're probably dying to know about the battery life and you're internally screaming, "why don't you just spill it!" Okay then, here it is. I was quite surprised to see how long each battery lasted.
I set the video quality to 1080p at 60 frames per second. Screensaver would also be activated after one minute of no user input. With these settings, I squeezed out 1.5 hours of video recording time on a single battery. I found this to be quite surprising especially when the battery did not drain significantly quicker under direct sunlight. I was very concerned that overheating was an issue, but that never occurred.
Since I used the hard case for the majority of the time, I didn't have a lot of opportunities to test out the microphone. The mic wasn't the greatest as it is positioned on the side of the action cam. Akaso states that you can attach a wired directional mic directly to the action cam. Unfortunately, this mic isn't included. I currently do not plan on purchasing a wired mic since I don't plan on using this action cam for video blogging or vlogging purposes. If you do plan on creating vlogs, I highly recommend that you source a wired mic to improve the overall sound quality. Please note that you would not be able to use the hard case when the wired mic is connected.
As for my final thoughts, the Akaso V50 Pro action camera has been an overall solid performer. Priced at only $119.99 on Amazon, this action cam is quite affordable. There's honestly no need to shell out a few hundred dollars more for a GoPro. You might as well invest the price difference in extra batteries. Video quality was excellent for the most part. It struggled quite a bit in low light situations, but the action cam exceeded my expectations for the most part.
If this is something that you're interested in, I highly recommend that you visit Akaso's website to compare the various action cam models. There may be a cheaper option that meets all of your requirements and then some.