The Eken Alfawise V50 pro is surprisingly not based on the iCatch V50 processor – instead it is based on an Ambarella A12. At the current price of review ($65 USD) the performance is acceptable however there are several tradeoffs, including a lack of image stabilization. If you can afford the extra, I would highly recommend purchasing the Firefly 8SE or the ThiEYE T5 Edge instead.
Build quality of this camera is average, while the included accessories are above average. The camera itself is made out of plastic and has a slightly hollow feeling to it. Regardless, the buttons are nice and clicky and the user interface is responsive. The screen is bright and easy see in daylight. Eken did not include a tripod mount built into this camera. Instead, if you want to mount it on a tripod, you’ll have to use the included adapter.
The 4K on this camera is soft, likely due to the lens being poor quality. If you purchase this camera, expect to use it primarily in 1080p 60. 4K resolution does appear to be real 4K, although it is on the lower end of real 4K as far as image details goes. The softness is especially apparent at the edges of the frame where objects get a bit of a halo or duplication of straight lines.
That was quite disappointing because this camera renders very decent colour and brightness. In scenes with motion, the lack of detail is less noticeable. In 1080p60 mode this camera is more or less adequate so long as the camera is being held steady.
The biggest downside of this camera is apparent once you start using it for action-y things. It does not have image stabilization. This is pretty much a requirement for action cameras, in my opinion, and I struggle to recommend any camera without image stabilization these days. Cameras with IS are easier to film with and get good shots. There’s also significant lens distortion and no distortion correction setting.
Audio quality from the camera is above average. It’s loud, voices are clear, only occasionally peaking if I spoke while too close to the camera. There’s no way to adjust the mic volume or gain though.
A 1080p 60FPS freeze frame.
A 4K freeze-frame.
Still Photo Quality
Still photos are where the soft lens starts to become a problem. Despite these images being 12 MP, the still photos lack detail. Generally on cheaper cameras this is because the manufacturer lies about specifications and uses a low resolution sensor. However, this does not appear to be the case with the Eken. This camera allegedly uses a Sony IMX258 sensor (13 MP, 4K). Although companies are occasionally dishonest about the exact sensor they use, this is less common than merely exaggerating resolution. I suspect the poor results are a combination of bad optimization and a blurry lens. The images are fine when zoomed out or viewed on a larger screen, however, zooming in and cropping makes the images much less useful.
Click image for full resolution
Eken V50 at 100% crop (13MP, click for full res)
Samsung S9 Front Facing Camera (8MP, click for full res). This 8MP camera has more detail than the Eken 12MP.
A 100% crop from the V50 Pro
This camera scores bonus points because of its ease of use. There are not too many settings that would overwhelm a non-technical user. The time-lapse mode is especially easy to use and the menus are simplistic to navigate.
If you can spend more money on a better camera I highly recommend doing that instead. Considering the price, the Eken V50 pro is an OK camera but there’s significantly better available for not much more money. For example the SooCoo C30 is around the same price and available domestically in the USA. Despite some minor issues with colour and slightly worse audio quality, the C30 is a better choice than this Eken because it has image stabilization. In order to get better quality real 4K, the next step up is the ThiEYE T5 Edge, and then the Firefly 8SE (which is worth it if you can spend $120).
The Ele Rexso K is based on a Hi3559 Processor and 16MP Panasonic MN34210 sensor. The camera performs best in its native 4K 30FPS resolution, with 1080p and 2K modes not being as sharp as competitors. Audio is quiet. Video is pretty good at night with lots of detail, however there is a decent amount of noise introduced. The user interface can be somewhat confusing but it is straightforward enough once you figure it out.
At $84.99 (when reviewed) this cam is the cheapest real 4K cam I’ve tested to date and it performs quite well at 4K given its price. However there are better cameras with sharper 1080p60, and better stabilization.
I recommend that you check out the Firefly 8S instead if you plan to be shooting mostly in 1080p.
The Explorer 1S is your standard run-of-the-mill Novatek action cam without many improvements done to the default firmware. The video quality is decent in most situations but the gyro doesn’t seem to work. The cam has the potential to live up to other cameras that are a bit more expensive but that would require firmware updates on MGCool’s part (which I don’t currently expect).
This is yet another fake 4K camera based on the Novatek NT96660 processor and a Sony sensor. It does 1440p @ 30 FPS or a weird almost unusable 2880×2160 @ 24 FPS. Despite my critical comments in the video this cam does have some good things about it: I noted that this camera has a wider dynamic range than a few other Sony/NT96660 cams I’ve tested before meaning that bright and dark areas retain details better instead of getting too dark or too bright, but in many cases the video is almost hazy/greyish and colourless especially in direct light. Also the gyro and 60fps modes don’t exactly work. I’m going to play around with some firmware and see if I can find something better and/or hack together something workable then get back to you with a full review.
But is it worth $30? Yes, because at this price it is practically disposable. It’s remarkable that this hardware can be priced so low from a domestic seller. But at its regular price of $50, my advice is to spend a little bit more on something better such as the SooCoo C30.
Hey, Dreki here and today I’m reviewing the Bben MN9 stick pc. I’ve seen these things floating around on Amazon and Ali Express for a while now and always wondered whether or not they were any good. Well, it really depends what you want to use it for. I just wanted something that could play Netflix in 1080p, browse the web and occasionally run Photoshop when I needed to edit a single image, and for that it works great, but it’s worth noting right away that the processor in this thing is not capable of doing much heavy multitasking or running programs that take up a lot of processor power, especially games.
Design and Packaging
The package this stick comes in is rather flimsy, and I’m surprised it survived international shipping. The box only includes 3 components: the computer itself, a power cable and an HDMI extension lead. Looking at the stick itself, there’s the HDMI out port, the power port on one side and the micro SD and USB ports on the other. The top has the power button and the bottom has grilles for heat dissipation. The case is covered in some soft touch rubber that scratches rather easily. Nothing about this screams quality but it’s not terrible either.
Performance and Setup
Setting it up was super easy – plug it in to HDMI and power, plug in the receiver for my wireless keyboard mouse combo and then turn it on. Startup is quick, faster than my projector can turn on, so I hardly even noticed it. The stick immediately found my Wi-Fi network, I connected my Bluetooth stereo, and then I started installing apps. For day to day operations everything is just a little bit on the slow side especially when it comes to multitasking, but it’s not unbearable. I’m coming from a midrange gaming PC where everything is fast and snappy but if you’re used to fairly low end computers from the last few years things like browsing the web, installing programs and loading documents will not be much different. Where I noticed the slowness the most was on content rich pages: for example the thumbnails on Netflix took their sweet time. I wouldn’t expect this computer to be able to handle 4K video, but it did fine for 4K playback when the file was on the computer itself but I can’t say the same about 4K streaming. Sites like Youtube, Facebook and Twitter all run fine too. Even Photoshop CS5 ran alright for quick photo editing. For the most part the computer is alright – I’d call it fine but not fast. If you run any benchmarks though the results are really, really low.
Now, the one thing that this computer doesn’t do at all is gaming. And I mean like, at all. I installed steam just to humour myself but uh. Yeah. Yeah… It wasn’t worth the storage space it took up. Basic flash games in browser run fine most of the time and so does solitaire but anything more than that and the stick just bogs down. I even tried to emulate Playstation 1, which even cheap Andriod boxes can usually do, and while it worked it did skip frames and jitter a little too much for my tastes. If you want to play games, this is not the device to buy.
It’s also worth noting that the internal eMMC drive is quite slow, with less write speed than a fast SD card. Thankfully it is a faster read speed for playing video.
The one biggest concern I have with this computer is about the heat it makes. One of the reasons I bought this stick over the others on the market is it advertised having a built in fan, but that’s only half true. The fan is kind of like a case fan more than an actual processor heat sink, meaning it does suck some hot air out of the case but it doesn’t do much more than that. The computer idled at 65 Celsius and I was able to push it to 85 when running benchmarks and difficult tasks. This processor is able to handle up to 90. I never got it to shut off due to thermal overload, but I do suspect that if I had it in the sun on my desk it wouldn’t do so well. After running it for a few hours watching TV, the case is noticeably warm, but not uncomfortably hot. Because the heat dissipation is fairly poor, the device is quick to throttle itself down under stress, which I think has the biggest effect on performance. For example the Playstation games ran fine for the first minute or two, but once the temperature started going up due to processor stress, the game started skipping.
Once the novelty of having a full windows pc in a stick wears off, you’re left with an overall slow but serviceable pc. It’s more or less what I’d expect from hardware at this price point so I can’t exactly fault it. The thing does run Netflix and Youtube at 1080p fine after all, and that’s primarily what I bought it for. In my case I didn’t want to have my giant gaming PC with its noisy fans running whenever I just wanted to stream some TV so I decided to buy something cheap to smarten up my dumb projector. I couldn’t stand the Android TV boxes so this was the next best thing. It’s otherwise hard to think of a specific case where I’d recommend a PC in this form factor over something like a tablet or a full size desktop because it’s stuck somewhere in the middle ground where it doesn’t really do either fantastically. It’s not so slow that I find myself annoyed with it, but there is a noticeable speed difference between this and something a little bit higher end.
The Archeer A109 is fully waterproof, but due to its small size the sound it produces isn’t a huge improvement over many modern smartphone speakers. If all you care about is adding more volume to your listening experience this speaker will be fine but my advice is to invest in something a bit bigger – especially if you want real bass.
Summary: For those interested in a basic 1080p 30 FPS action camera without too many bells and whistles, the F23 action cam takes decent video and has an acceptable build quality. Its best uses would be as a cheap bike DVR for road riders or for someone who will occasionally use their camera and does not want to throw down a lot of cash. While it’s limited by its hardware, it has set my personal standard for video quality in a sub-$60 camera.
This Amaz-Play HDP-100 projector is a compact projector with acceptable brightness and a sharp picture, but the picture is too blue and the fan is quite loud. It works fine for movies and multimedia but for applications that require accurate colour I would recommend looking at the WH-80B or something with 100+ lumens instead.
Summary: While it’s nice to have the solar panel as a last-resort type backup, it does not do much, so consider this product as its value as a regular charger before purchasing. When left on my window sill for days in direct sunlight, I was only able to get this charger up to about 25%. This is better than nothing, but solar will not be your primary charging source with this battery.