Best budget action and sports camera: our top picks in UK market

Are you thinking about filming your own action videos? Chances are you don’t have thousands of dollars to drop on equipment at the moment, so you’re looking for some budget action cameras.

Contrary to popular belief, budget action cameras work great. And when compared to more expensive models, such as GoPro, the video quality is about the same. In this article, we’ll be reviewing some of our favourite budget action and sports cameras. Whether you want to make videos for a personal hobby or for business, these cameras are worth looking into.

It’s also worth noting we chose these cameras not only for budget buyers but also because they have about the same features as you would find on brand name action cameras. Of course, these are lesser-known brands, mostly from China, but the features rival the major camera brands, for a fraction of the price.

Budget cameras and lower price range

Our selection of the best action camera available in the UK market!

1. APEMAN Action Camera 4k

2. Crosstour Action Camera 4K

3. AKASO EK7000 4K Sport Action Camera

4. COOAU 4K 20MP Wi-Fi

5. Campark ACT74 Action Camera 4K

1 - APEMAN Action Camera 4k

APEMAN Action Camera 4k
Key Selling Point: Value for Money

Our first choice is APEMAN action camera. Usually, when you think of a camera that has 4K resolution, Wi-Fi, and Waterproof, you’ll assume it’s going to cost a pretty penny. Amazingly, the Apeman action camera is one of the cheapest action cameras out there. A few notable specifications are 4K shooting mode at 30 frames a second, 170-degree wide lens, Wi-Fi for remote control, and waterproof to 30 meters. 

What I love about this camera is its value for money. If the features and video quality wasn’t enough, the box also includes 20 or so accessories. When I first came across this camera I thought it was a bit too cheap-looking and figured it wouldn’t be worth it. But I decided to try it out, and I honestly can’t tell the difference between the video quality of this budget action camera and the latest GoPro. Worth looking into. 

2 - Crosstour Action Camera 4K

Crosstour Action Camera 4K
Key Selling Point: Has Mini-HDMI Port

The Crosstour Action camera is another great choice, with similar features to the camera mentioned above. The following are some of its most important features; 4K resolution, IP 69 resistant, remote control, and various accessories. One notable feature is it comes with an HDMI port, so you can plug it into your computer, and even use it as a webcam. 

I also liked how this camera includes a bunch of accessories and attachments for almost every activity, such as scuba-diving, cycling, climbing, and everything in between. 

Overall, a very nice budget action camera, with features and video quality that rivals the top action sports camera brands. One downside is that it doesn’t include a battery charger. It does come with rechargeable batteries, but no wall-charger. 

3 - AKASO EK7000 4K Sport Action Camera

AKASO EK7000 4K Sport Action Camera
Key Selling Point: Wrist Strap with Remote Control

Here we have another 4K capable, wireless, action camera. Now, this is one of the most popular budget models, and for good reason! First of all, it can shoot 4K resolution at 25 frames a second, and waterproof up to 30 meters. It has the standard features most of the above cameras have, except this one includes a cool wrist-strap for the remote control. 

The remote control has two buttons, one for pictures, and one for videos. Personally, I like the remote control with the wrist-strap, it makes it very easy to take pictures and videos of yourself. One downside is the picture resolution is 12 MP, while most other budget action cameras have at least 16 MP. 

Nevertheless, for the price, it’s very hard to beat. The good news is it does include a battery charger.

4 - COOAU 4K 20MP Wi-Fi

Key Selling Point: Port for External Microphone

Here we have another budget action camera, although I would rank this one in the mid-budget range. Great for people who are looking for a decent mid-range camera, but not the absolute cheapest option. Nevertheless, the extra price is put to work with some improved specifications. For example, the camera can take 20 MP pictures. It’s also got the usual action camera features, 4K video resolution, Wi-Fi, and remote control. 

What’s cool about this specific model is it has a port for an external microphone, a great feature for streamers or Vloggers. On top of that, the video mode uses an image stabilization technology called Smart EIS which can create some very nice smooth videos. Now, another improved feature is the waterproof depth. For most budget cameras, the standard is waterproof to 30 meters, but with this one, the limit is increased to 40 meters. As I said, the extra price went right into improving features.

5 - Campark ACT74 Action Camera 4K

Campark ACT74 Action Camera 4K
Key Selling Point: Compatible with GoPro Accessories

Now, this little camera is one of the most budget-friendly choices out there. And for the price, it’s definitely worth looking into. There are a lot of features packed into this tiny camera! For starters, it’s got Wi-fi, 4K shooting mode, and an adjustable wide-angle lens. The maximum from rate at 4K is 30 frames a second, and at 1080P you can film at 60 frames a second. 

One notable feature about this camera is it’s compatible with GoPro accessories, so if you have any extra accessories lying around, now is your chance to use them. The package also includes a few accessories to start with. 

I also like how the camera is not too heavy, and it even floats when in water, so you don’t need to worry about it sinking to the bottom of the ocean, never to be seen again. One downside is there is no built-in memory. To use it, a micro-SD card is required, a Class 10 card is recommended. Also, keep in mind the max supported SD card is 32 GB. Overall, a very impressive budget action camera. 

Action Cam Buyers Guide: What You Need to Know

I know, narrowing down your options is a struggle. That’s why I put together this quick buyer guide section to help make your decision easier. Now, before you buy an action camera, there are a few things you need to consider… 

Activity Specific: 

Planning a vacation and already have some activities lined up? You’ll want a camera that works well for those activities. For example, if you’re planning on scuba-diving or going deep into the ocean, then you’ll need a camera with a good waterproof depth. Consider what you’ll use the camera for before you buy it. 

Narrow it Down by Features

In order to save money, it’s best to choose a camera that has the features you’re planning to use. For example, if you’re a vLogger, then you should consider a camera that can support external microphones and selfie sticks. 

Similarly, if you’re a fan of slow-motion shots, look for cameras that have that feature, or at least can shoot at frame rates higher than 90 frames a second. Really think about the features you need, otherwise, you might spend more money on a camera with extra features, but you won’t even use half of them. One feature you might want to look out for is video stabilization, it can make a big difference in your videos. 

Battery Life

One of the biggest concerns regarding cameras is battery life. The last thing you want is to run out of battery and miss capturing a once in a lifetime shot. Most budget cameras use AA batteries, and I found these to be convenient because you can quickly swap them out. 

But if you get a camera with their own unique batteries, you’ll either have to buy extra batteries or make sure to charge them whenever you’re not using the camera. It’s also important to keep in mind battery capacity doesn’t always equal longer battery life, some cameras just consume more power than others. Generally, keep an eye out for cameras that have a good battery life, as that will make your life a lot easier. 

Good Customer Support

You’re probably worried that most of the budget cameras won’t have good customer support. While that can be true, I noticed there’s still always some level of customer support. Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to do a bit of research into the company to see if people are satisfied with the customer support. The last thing you want is to order a product that doesn’t work and there’s no way to get a replacement. 

Action Sports Camera FAQ

Are All Action Cameras Water-Proof? 

When it comes to action cameras and water, it’s always important to assume most cameras are not waterproof unless inside a case. Although some models are waterproof as is, sometimes you might forget to tightly close the ports. Always use a case before you use the camera in the water. 

Are They Better Than GoPro? 

While I wouldn’t say any of these models are better than GoPro cameras, during a side by side comparison of image and video quality, it’s almost impossible to tell a difference. In fact, some people said the colours on budget cameras are better than GoPro. Of course, GoPro does include some extra features, such as support for higher frame rates. Personally, I wouldn’t worry about which one is better, but rather which one has the features I need, at a reasonable price. 

What Type of Mounts and Accessories Can You Use?

The good news is most budget action cameras include several accessories, and most of them are compatible with GoPro and other famous brands. In other words, accessories designed for GoPro cameras, such as helmet mounts, bicycle bar straps, and whatnot, will work with these cameras too. To be safe, it’s always best to check first. 

What About Companion Apps? 

Most of these cameras can be controlled remotely through an app, but the app is more like a universal app that works with most Wi-Fi cameras. For example, iSmart DV app works with most of the cameras mentioned in this list. In short, don’t expect the best app experience. 

What SD Card Do You Need? 

Generally, the majority of action cameras will use mini-SD cards with a maximum supported size of 32 GB. The exact SD support varies depending on the model, some can support 64 GB SD cards or more, but most of them only support 32 GB. 

Can I Use a Microphone with The Camera?

While most of the models mentioned here don’t have microphone support, one does, the AKASO EK7000 and other models in this product line. But you need to know there’s no way to use a microphone while underwater or in a case, it has to be open, which adds a damage risk. Overall, if you’re not planning to do anything too crazy and the camera is fastened in place, the risk should be minimal. 

About S. Santos

Tech columnist and tech blogger, audiovisual aficionado trying to keep up with the ever-evolving world of gadgets, home entertainment, and personal technology. If not fiddling with AV cables at home or in front of the computer, he can be found playing tennis or padel.

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