Like every other traveler, I always wanted a GoPro… but I could never justify spending that much money on one. While I am fairly active person who enjoys hikes and rock climbing, I felt that while having a GoPro would be super cool, I would only sometimes use it in the capacity it’s meant to be used.
For me, a GoPro isn’t a “must-have” and that’s why its price tag is a tad too steep for me. But what if I could get a similar action camera at a fraction of the cost?
The onslaught of GoPro alternatives in the market has made action cameras more attractive and accessible to the casual user, like me.
Here, I take a closer look at what’s been described as one of the best value-for-money action cameras, the Akaso V50 Elite.
At A Glance: Is the Akaso V50 Elite for You?
- Key Specs: 4K/60FPS video | 20 MP images | 2.36” x 1.57” x 1.18” | 78g
- Comes with accessories such as waterproof case, two batteries, and various mounts.
- Easy to use, with intuitive touchscreen and buttons.
- Ideal for those looking for a good GoPro alternative, casual users, or those new to action cameras.
- Great value for money.
- Perfect way to get into action cameras and what they can do!
Akaso is a company that’s committed to offering high quality action cameras, but without the steep price tag. In a market still dominated by the GoPro brand, Akaso is slowly building up a reputation as a solid competitor.
Akaso’s action cameras come in three different ranges, aimed at different types of users. For entry-level users, Akaso has their EK7000 cameras. Brave is their mid-range camera, and the V50 is their pro-level action camera. With a starting price point of $59.99 USD for their EK7000 cameras, Akaso certainly lives up to their mission of being affordable!
Intrigued by their value proposition, I took the Akaso V50 Elite, the best in Akaso’s current generation of action cameras, on a test run to see if it’s worthy of being a solid GoPro alternative.
Akaso V50 Elite Action Camera Review
Dimensions: 2.36” x 1.57” x 1.18” | Weight: 78g | Video Resolution: 4K/60FPS | Image Resolution: 20MP, with 8x digital zoom | Waterproof: With Case, up to 131ft/40m | Internal mic | WiFi: Yes | Bluetooth: No
I have to say that unboxing this camera was itself a bit of an adventure! The camera is visible, thanks to the plastic casing at the top of the package. There’s even a handy “quick start” sticker on the camera to help you get going as soon as possible.
The adventure was trying to figure out how to unclip it from the box afterwards. I tugged, I tried pushing the plastic holds on the base, I tilted it this way and that to find anything that I had missed. No luck.
It took me a good five minutes, but some experimenting led to me pinching the base of the mount. This allowed me to slide the base of the mount backwards and, voila — the camera was finally free! A small sticker with instructions on how to do this would’ve helped immensely.
The bottom half of the package holds a wealth of treasures.
Here’s what’s included in the box:
- Waterproof case
- Remote control, with a wristband
- Battery charger and USB cable
- Two 1050mAh batteries
- Various mounts, including a bicycle and helmet mounts, as well as bandages and tethers
- Lens cloth
- Quick Reference Guide
Notably, a microSD card is not included so don’t forget to buy one separately! Action cameras tend to work best with microSD cards that have high read and write speeds, so it’s a good idea to invest in a good one from the get-go. Here’s one that I recommend.
Now, let’s get into the specs of this baby.
Look and Feel
Like smartphones, action cameras have settled into a standard size and style.
The Akaso V50 Elite doesn’t deviate much from the norm. Its dimensions are 2.36” x 1.57” x 1.18” and it weighs a light 78 grams (lighter than a GoPro!). Without the waterproof case, it fits very comfortably in my hand.
The touchscreen fills up its back, and the lens slightly protrudes out in the front. Also on the front is the on/off button. The top holds the shutter. You get buttons to manage the 8x digital zoom on the right side and on the left, there’s the microSD slot as well as a USB and HDMI port.
While most action cameras are black, the V50 Elite is a softer grey color with some texture. It felt good in my hands.
What about the waterproof case? I found it easy to put on and take off, and there are buttons so that you can access the main functions of the camera. I did have to press the buttons firmly to get a response but otherwise didn’t have any issues. However, the case does add some bulk to the camera.
Overall, I really like the look and feel of this action camera.
Using the Akaso V50 Elite
I found this Akaso camera pretty easy to use! The buttons on the camera are quite intuitive, so I didn’t have issues figuring them out. The same is true for the touchscreen. It was simple to navigate the various menus and see what options are available.
You can also download the Akaso DV app which you can use to control the camera remotely and also to transfer the files to your phone (perfect for easy uploading to social media!). While the app is useful, it could do with some improvements — but more on that later.
If your phone is not handy, you can also use the remote control to take photos and videos. What I love most about the remote is how it’s so easy to toggle between photo and video. On the touchscreen, you have to tap two buttons to switch modes but you can do it at the tap of just one button with the remote!
Oh, and did I mention voice control? If you’re in the middle of something adventurous and don’t have a hand free, you can simply shout “Action Start Video” or “Action Photo” to activate the Akaso V50 Elite.
Technical Specs and Performance
Let’s go into the meat of how this action camera performs!
Obviously, the big draw of the Akaso V50 Elite is the 4K/60FPS video. You also get a whole range of video resolution options: 4K/30FPS, 2.7K/60FPS, 2.7K/30FPS, 1080p/120FPS and 720p/240FPS video.
Even though the 4K/60FPS doesn’t have image stabilization, the video is crisp and clear and pretty impressive. That said, this format does take up more space and you may find the camera heating up a bit (especially if it’s in the waterproof case) or the video freezing while recording.
My personal favorite is the 4K/30FPS which gets you a great video resolution, decent stabilization, and lots of details and vibrant colors.
The internal mic on the camera is good (despite there being no mic setting) and easily picks up your voice if you’re speaking. There’s also a wind reduction function, although this can compromise the audio quality if you enable it. However, when the camera is in the waterproof case, there’s pretty much no audio pick-up due to the casing.
Related: Check out our complete guide to the best travel gear
As for images, the Akaso V50 Elite can capture 20MP images. In good lighting, the images are quite detailed, with good color and contrast. There are also different photo modes you can play with, and the more experienced may want to fiddle with ISO and exposure or even choose to shoot in RAW format.
Other notable features are the 8x digital zoom (which you can use during video, although this will be without stabilization) and the adjustable field of view.
As for battery life, when I used it on-and-off for a day, taking both video and photos, it lasted about two or three hours. But with a second battery included in the package, having a dead battery wasn’t really an issue for me.
For all my fellow solo travelers, this camera has a tripod thread at the bottom which allows you to mount it on a small tripod — perfect for setting up those solo shots! You can then use the app or remote to take photos and videos. There’s also a self-timer, if you need it.
What I Love About the Akaso V50 Elite
At a relatively low price point of $139.99 USD, I was seriously impressed with how power-packed this action camera is. The video and image quality were high and perfectly suited for the average user, like me.
I was also pleasantly surprised by how many functions and settings the Akaso V50 Elite offers. There’s a lot to play around with, whether it be resolution, functions like filters and time-lapses, or other advanced settings.
Another thing I love is what you get in the package. Having two batteries is a lifesaver and means that you’ll never have to worry about a dead battery while in the middle of your adventures! The charger is also a dual-battery charger so you can get those two babies juiced up simultaneously. Convenient!
The accessories like the waterproof case and the various mounts are a great starter kit for those who want to take the camera into the field immediately.
Basically, the Akaso V50 Elite offers great value for money. What’s more, you can use the discount code “adventure” to get 20% off your purchase via their website (valid until 31 December 2020)!
What I Don’t Love About This Akaso Action Camera
What left me disappointed with the Akaso V50 Elite is some parts of the user experience.
Firstly, I think their Quick Reference Guide can be improved to give users a better summary of the functions of the camera. Yes, you do get the option to scan a QR code to download the full manual (but how many of us actually do it?). I think a more robust paper guide would help orient new users more quickly.
Secondly, the touchscreen. I think the range of functions is great and the menu layout is quite intuitive, but the OS felt a bit sluggish at times. Scrolling through the menus can be made more smooth and the response time can be improved for better user experience.
Lastly, the Akaso DV app. If the app can be improved, I think the overall experience of using an Akaso action camera would improve immensely! Currently, the app is prone to lagging and crashing in the middle of an action. There were a few instances when the camera wouldn’t immediately sync with the app and needed multiple tries. There’s also the minor inconvenience of having to scroll through the various camera models to connect to your own.
If you’re primarily going to use your action camera for water adventures, do note that this camera is not natively waterproof (unlike some other action cams out there). You’ll need the waterproof case which will keep it safe for up to 131 feet/40 meters.
That said, for me, these niggling bits of the user experience don’t take away from the good quality of the camera itself.
Overall Thoughts on Akaso V50 Elite Action Camera
For the casual user or someone dipping into the waters of action cameras, the Akaso V50 Elite is a solid buy. With specs like 4K/60FPS and 20MP images, you can get high quality action footage and photos at a fraction of the cost of a GoPro. You’ll definitely get a taste of how awesome an action camera can be!
While certain areas of user-friendliness can be improved for a better experience, this camera is easy to use, with an intuitive touchscreen interface as well as buttons. And if that’s not enough, you get a whole host of accessories such as a waterproof case, two batteries, and various mounts.
If you have no need for a premium product or professional quality action footage, the Akaso V50 Elite is a great budget-friendly action camera that you should consider.
The Akaso V50 Elite is a great budget-friendly action camera for casual users or those getting into action cameras. With 4K/60FPS video and 20MP images, you'll definitely get high quality action footage on your adventures!
Disclaimer: The Akaso V50 Elite was sent to us to try out but as always, our opinion is solely ours. We will always be 100% honest with all our reviews.