Although a junior member of the APEMAN range, the £60.99 newly updated model A79 nevertheless range shows just how much action cameras have developed over the past year or so.
The camera kit arrived packaged in an attractive upmarket box which again shows that increased care given now to the presentation of budget products. A full range of accessories and mounts are included, too many to list here but they are all shown in my video. The only notable omission is that of an SD card, which means the camera cannot be used straight from the box. This is a pity as they are cheap enough these days and would not add greatly to the cost. The printed User Guide is better those usually found, is a decent size, well printed, in good English and easy to read but not as detailed as I would wish.
Physically the 5 x 3 x 2 cm camera is well designed and easy to use although not quite so refined as models higher up the range. All the buttons are recessed and the battery cover is secure but I struggled for some time to remove (and replace) it. The LCD screen is bright and easy to read but is not touch-sensitive. On the side is the unprotected panel housing the micro-SD card, micro-HDMI, and USB and microphone ports. On the other are the Up/Wifi and Down buttons. On the front is the Power/Mode button and the top the OK/Shutter release. The camera also comes with a lavalier style clip-on microphone and a very useful but simple wristwatch-style remote control.
The camera has four basic modes of operation accessed by short pressing the power button on the camera top: Video, Photo, Playback, Settings. It has HDMI video out and so can be connected directly to your TV, although a separate micro-HDMI cable will be needed for this. It can also be connected directly to a PC or video display to view files and function as a webcam. It can also be used as a simple car dashcam since it supports loop recording but lacks the important G-Sensor to detect impacts.
Gone are the days when budget action cameras gave you grainy, low-resolution video with colour casts and artefacts. Video quality is certainly amongst the best I have encountered for an action cam in this price range, and a definite step up from the cheaper no-name GoPro clones of the past. Unlike with so many others, here there is no substantive daylight colour cast. The 170° wide-angle lens is great but with the barrel distortion common to all of this type. Image stabilisation is also available and although not perfect does make a noticeable difference without image quality suffering unduly, unlike with too many budget rivals/. The camera does good quality 4K@30fps ( 3840×2160) as well as several other rather more useful modes including 1080@60fps. Slow-motion is available at 120fps@720p. 16MB Still images were good and free from colour fringing or casts but a little flat but I was easily able to boost this on my PC. Remember that the sample footage in my unboxing video will have been heavily compressed during posting and not reflect the true quality. I would say the image quality and features are comparable to those from a mid to high-end phone.
The camera is claimed to be waterproof to 40M and I have no reason to doubt it. It should certainly be fine for all normal swimming and diving use.
The camera has a settings mode accessed using the rear screen and this is by far the best I have tried so far with multiple and easy to read options large and bright enough to be used outdoors. The camera comes with two 1050mAh batteries (smaller in capacity than those higher up the Apeman range) but no separate charger so you cannot charge the second battery when the camera is in use.
Like many more upmarket action cameras, it has wifi built in which means the camera generates a mini wifi network of its own which allows an attached phone have basic control of the camera and view live-streamed video. To use it you need to download the “Live DV” app from Apple or Android. I did encounter some stuttering when streaming video but that may be due to the limitations of the phone I tested it with. I find the wristband remote to be more useful as the large buttons are easy to find when engaged in sports and allow recording to be made when in action in a way impossible with app remote control. Also, although I had a few problems using the supplied microphone with default values, which I found muffled and rather too quiet, the standard 3.5mm port allows a choice of third-party mics to be used. Audio issues can be usually corrected by the PC when the video is being edited.
This is one of the best action cameras I have used in this price range. Image quality is excellent, there is a wide range of modes and options available and it has genuinely useable Electronic Image Stabilisation, Field of View choice, 4K and slow motion. A good range of mounts is included but no carry case, or battery Charger. Compared to more expensive cameras from Apeman this one has a slightly reduced feature set and video resolution but nothing to prevent the user from getting excellent results. The inclusion of an external microphone and wrist-mounted remote control for me is an advantage over the other models. At this budget price, the APEMAN A79 is a very worthwhile buy.
Good video quality with EIS
170° Angle of view
Wide range of accessories included
Two batteries included
No SD card included
No carry case
No Touch Screen
No External Battery Charger
Audio Could Be Better
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