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SJ4000 is a great GoPro alternative if you’re looking for an Affordable Action Camera

While the GoPro is one of the most popular brands for action camera, if you’re looking for an affordable action camera, the SJ4000 is a pretty good alternative. At a sub-$100 price point, the SJ4000 Sports HD DV camera offers top of the line features and a box full of accessories.

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Design

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The SJ400 is an ultra-compact camera, and weighs less than a pound. You can attach the camera to a car mount to record your road trips, clip on the bike or helmet mount to track your rides, or use a tripod or monopod to use it in a variety of ways. While the package includes the helmet mount, bike mount, and a few other accessories, a car bracket is not included. The mount fasteners wobble a bit, but they might work for you. If not, the generic mounts available in the market work for the SJ4000 as well.

The camera comes bundled with an IP68 waterproof case (claimed to be up to 30m waterproof) that allows you to take the camera underwater or leave it mounted on your bike as you ride in rains. A great thing about the waterproof case is that the lens cover is made of glass since the plastic lenses usually produce trashy videos.

The camera features a 1.5-inch LCD which is tiny, but works well. Also, a microSD card is not included, so you’d need to put one in before you can use the camera. The camera allows microSD card up to 32GB.

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It packs in a micro HDMI port which works perfectly to project to an external display to view/share what you’ve captured instantly. The port is not the best, and with my iffy HDMI cable, the connection was lost at certain positions, but like with most non-perfect accessories, I got used to instinctively position the cable to get it to work right. Of course, I’ll mention, that there’s no such issue with the micro USB port. There’s no mic-in, and that’s a tad bit disappointing if you are looking to use the camera indoors as well, although that’s not something the camera’s for.

Camera

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The mini action camera captures videos in full 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second. The latter is just a claim, and it’s actually double frames of 30fps.

The camera offers 170 degrees of wide-angle lens and records at 12 megapixels. Surprisingly, the camera produces very sharp pictures and the colors are vivid as well. On a gloomy day or at dusk though, the camera has a tendency to underexpose, and the colors tend to be a little darker. I quite liked that the video transfers from shade to sun light and vice versa very quickly without any considerable glare or blinding effect. There’s also 4X digital zoom although in conditions which are not brightly lit, there’s noticeable graininess in the captured video. The camera also offers smile and face recognition as well as a motion detection trigger.

The camera offers multiple video formats – 1080p, 720p, and WVGA – as well as multiple photo modes – Single shot and Snapper. The photos, available in JPG format, are available in a variety of resolutions up to 12MP.

Summary

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The 900mAh rechargable lithium battery needs significant improvement than a maximum of three hours I managed. It’s not bad as compared to the others in the market, but if it’s your first action camera, you’d be shocked. One of the missing features as compared to the top GoPro ones is the Wi-Fi capability. That’s a nice to have feature, but I wouldn’t want to pay extra dough for it.

The SJ4000 Sports HD DV doesn’t shoot the best footage one can get and sometimes video has a slight grain or texture to it, but for an HD action camera, it’s pretty impressive. It’s extremely light and portable, and comes bundled with almost all the attachments you’ll need.

At $94.56, you won’t regret picking one up for yourself or to gift a sports enthusiast friend. You can buy it from GearBest, and use the coupon code ‘GBSJ4CN’ to get an exclusive discount.

Published by

Abhishek Baxi

Abhishek Baxi is an independent technology columnist for several international publications and a digital consultant. He speaks incessantly on Twitter (@baxiabhishek) and dons the role of Editor-in-Chief here at Techie Buzz.