Christmas is on the way, and you may be looking for a unique and fun travel gift for the travel lover in your life.
Actually, you may just be looking for it yourself.
I finished a podcast interview where I shared my top family travel tips.
One of them was, forget the large bulky cameras you don’t need. Travel with something small and powerful, like your phone or a GoPro, to capture your travel memories, especially those with a little more action.
However, your budget may be a little stretched thin for a GoPro.
Is there such a thing as cheap GoPro alternatives?
Allow us to share.
We were approached by AKASO to review their AKASO V50 PRO special edition.
We’re glad they did as it helped us discover a worthy and more affordable action camera than GoPro, one that is also perfect gift for kids who love to travel and record their memories.
Our girls have enjoyed using the camera and will for many of our future trips.
You will love the price tag! For an even more affordable AKASO action camera, check out our AKASO Brave 6 Plus review.
Our AKASO Brand and mission
AKASO builds high quality, extremely affordable action cameras and adventure gear that enable everyone to #gobeyond, capture and share the most stunning adventure moments.
In less than five years, they have become one of the leading action camera brands worldwide, with sales of over a half million units annually and have become a best seller on Amazon.
What is the AKASO V50 Pro Action camera?
A little action camera that can easily fit into your wallet or pocket!
It comes packed with features and accessories (keep reading) to help you capture stunning photos and video while on the go and in the midst of fun and adventurous activities.
Travel like a pro in a light way.
The AKASO action camera can be mounted on handlebars, various surfaces or just held it in your hand.
ABOUT THE SPECIAL EDITION:
AKASO partners with Access Fund for this special edition of V50 Pro action camera.
A portion of proceeds from every unit sold will go directly to the Access Fund, supporting environmental preservation of threatened climbing areas for current and future generations.
The black-colored camera with white Access Fund logo silk-printed on the front panel is simply commemorative.
How we use an action camera
Having smaller, yet efficient pieces of equipment that are of high quality and can be used for multiple things is absolutely ideal.
For normal travelers who don’t have to worry about heavy filming you can easily use just an action camera and your smartphone as your only means for recording memories.
We recently traveled through Yellowstone with my niece who did just that and her photos and videos were awesome.
We use our action camera for any adventurous type activity we do where we don’t want to risk damaging our expensive cameras, or can’t take something so bulky.
Of course, you can’t beat it for underwater activities and even activities where you’ll be out in the rain or getting it splashed. (Yes, we have damaged an expensive DSLR before just with raindrops!!)
Here are some of the activities we have used an action camera for:
Features of the AKASO V50 Pro
For the more technical minded, here are some of the features of the AKASO V50 Pro.
- AKASO V50 Pro offers 4K video at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps and 30fps and 720p at 120fps and 60fps.
- Built-in electronic image stabilization which detects changes in position and movement. When the camera is tilted, moves or vibrates, a stable video is still created.
- Adjustable field of view. You can adjust the viewing angle of the ASAKO action camera between Super Wide, Wide, Medium, and Narrow.
- Large 2-inch touch screen.
- Shoots stills at up to 20mp.
- External 98ft waterproof housing
- Power is supplied through a 1100mAh battery. Battery life is approx 90 minutes
- Built-in Wi-Fi so you can connect to the partner app for iOS or Android so you can share your beautiful moments on social media instantly.
- A HDMI port allows you to connect it to a TV.
The working temperature for this action camera is 23 °F/-5°C to 113 °F/45°C.
In the Box: What comes with a ASAKO V50 PRO
I was quite impressed with all the attachments and accessories that came in the box with this action camera. I felt like I got more than I would with a GoPro.
Most items in the accessories kit will also fit a GoPro.
- Waterproof casing with extra backing door
- 3 x 1100mAh rechargeable batteries – I was super impressed by this
- Remote control wristband- Put the remote control on your wrist and acquire ultra-convenient control for hiking, biking, skiing, bungee and more while installing the action camera on your helmet. Cannot be used underwater
- Bike frame and mount
- 2 x Helmet Mounts
- Five Tethers
- One Backdoor Protector
- One USB cable
- One Lens Cloth
- Wrench for mounting screws – you’ll need this as they can be tight!
- With two base plates and two double-sided adhesives, you can essentially mount the action cam on any flat surface. For extra protection, you can loop the action camera through the cord to prevent it from dropping in the event that the base plate becomes loose.
- Extra rubber seal
You will need to supply your own mircroSD card, it does not come with the package. For V50 Pro, you have to use the 64GB U3 card whose WRITE speed is up to 60mb/s.
The only thing I didn’t like was there were no instructions to let me know what was what. There is a guide you can access via a QR code however.
Personally, for something like this, I’d prefer a manual I can look through. But I also understand how this is better for the environment so no biggie.
You can download it as a PDF for a offline reference.
Be warned you may feel like you need an engineering degree to figure out how to get the cased camera off the box lid.
I was baffled and felt I’d need to saw it off. It wasn’t until some time later I figured the base was nonremovable, I just had to unwind the cameras out of the base.
A small instructional piece in this box would be extremely helpful!!
The look, design and feel of the ASAKO action camera
What struck me the most about the ASKAO action camera was that it looked sleek and sturdy. As a cheaper GoPro alternative, I was expecting something that didn’t look of such high quality. So they get winning marks for design.
The casing is as you would expect for an action, waterproof camera.
The housing is well put together and tight for opening which is a good thing. It means the waterproof casing is solid and the camera doesn’t wobble around inside.
The lens is a flat lens which makes it very easy to clean. I didn’t realize that was a nice feature of a camera until I experienced this!
Measuring just over 1″ thick by 1.5″ high and 2.25″ long, the action camera fits nicely in the hand. The 90º angle sides also mean it can sit on any flat surface for framing. The .75″ lens sticks out of the front surface .25″
On the top are the only buttons: the red circle (mode) for power on/off and for cycling between choices, and the blue for start/stop of video or finalizing choices.
You can either use the buttons or the touch screen to choose your options. If the casing is on you will use the buttons.
I actually found this much easier to operate than a GoPro Hero. For some reason, I can never figure out what button does what on a GoPro and it is the most annoying thing about it and one reason I’m hesitant to use it.
The color coding with the buttons side by side and none on the front feels more intuitive for my brain.
Opposite the buttons are the Wi-Fi signal indicator and microphone opening and on the right side of the camera is your speaker.
The mic wasn’t the greatest as it is positioned on the side of the action cam. AKASO states that you can attach a wired directional external mic directly to the action cam. I don’t have the USB connection for my mic to test it.
On the left side (as you’re looking at the screen) there are three ports: a microSD card slot, a miniUSB port for charging and a mini HDMI port for playback.
On the bottom, is your port for a tripod screw and your battery compartment.
The AKASO V50 Pro User interface
The LCD screen and user interface feels elegant and is bright and responsive.
It’s easy to move around to find the correct settings for what you want.
Sometimes the scrolling section can be a bit sticky and instead of scrolling it opens up a function it thinks you have pressed. You can navigate through using the buttons to avoid this.
I wish there was a quicker way to change the lens from wide to narrow. It’s quite time consuming having to move through all the functions to get to the right one.
I may uncover this as I move through the instruction manual a little more in-depth. For now, I’ve been discovering while playing, which is a better way for me to learn.
I find the set up quite intuitive and easy to figure out for the most part.
Obviously the touch screen doesn’t work with the waterproof casing on which is typical of action cameras. When the casing is on, you will use the buttons to select and move through the content.
The AKASO V50 Pro remote
You can operate the action camera via a remote you wear as a wristband. It cannot be used underwater however as it is not waterproof.
The wireless range for the remote is up to 10m (33ft)
The remote offers ultra convenient control of the action camera when hiking, biking, skiing and more action adventures
Pop the camera on your helmet and switch between photo and video form the remote and easily record. I LOVE this so much as I hate operating a GoPro in these kind of situations when it is on my helmet and you are shooting blind.
This is a great feature that comes with your accessories kit. No extra purchase needed.
Savannah loved being in control of the remote.
How much does the AKASO V50 GoPro Alternative cost?
At $139.99, this GoPro alternative is a fantastic price ($159.99 for the Special Edition). (Price at time of publication of this AKASO V50 Pro Reveiew)
If you don’t care about brand names and what something that performs similiarly to a GoPro, this is the camera for you.
Of course, GoPro being GoPro, it will be a higher end product with some better features and quality, but I honestly feel, this will more than cater to what the average person is looking for and will leave you extra money to pay for a few more adventurous travel experiences to use the camera for!
Does the AKASO V50 Pro take good photos and video?
I can’t say that we write high end camera reviews. By that I mean, we don’t have the professional know how to speak language and comparisons like frame rates per second quality and HD.
Basically, I don’t understand that too much and couldn’t tell you the difference between 60fps and 30fps.
I just know that this action camera shoots in 4K at 30 frames per second which means it can record fast-moving action in clear and crisp quality.
Thankfully, we have a very patient video editor who tells me what to do.
We’re just regular Joes like you who like to capture our memories on photos and video and want something that turns out looking pretty good so we can share it with our loved ones and always have memories on our walls and home movie screening nights to reflect back on.
Yes. We do have a YouTube channel which we, hopefully, produce good video for. But I still don’t know the tech nitty gritty.
Which proves to you and me, you don’t need to. You can use something simple and affordable like the ASAKO V50 Pro action camera to make it happen.
I tested the camera in various lighting conditions and using different lens angles.
I filmed (both photo and video) inside my home, outside in Raleigh and at night while watching an action packed UNC women’s soccer game.
General Settings for the AKASO action camera
In the general settings you can set
- distortion calibration
- angle – super wide, wide, medium, narrow
- power frequency
- diving mode – can filter the red light under water. No need for red filters!!
- date and time
- date stamp – be sure to turn this off if you don’t like it on your photos. I didn’t realise it was on and I don’t like it on my footage
- auto power off
- auto video start (quick recording.) It will start filming video as soon as you turn the camera on. I found this really annoying.
- and SC card format
Filming video on the AKASO V50 Pro
I found the filming easy to do and the video quality is pretty good for the price of this action camera. I was pretty impressed by the night time footage and found the sound to be fairly decent.
It’s a very quick and easy way to capture moments.
There is no sound in the beginning of this video as I didn’t realize the sound was switched off in the settings so always check that before you start filming!
I couldn’t seem to change the camera angle when shooting video or it didn’t seem to make too much of a difference if I did!
When filming video, you can set:
- image stabilization
- video length
- time lapse interval and duration
- 8 x slow motion video
- wind noise reduction
- date stamp
- and automatic low-light setting.
Lots of rave reviewers on Amazon say the video quality is smooth and fantastic for the price of this action camera. Read more reviews here.
Shooting Photos on the AKASO V50 Pro
I found the quality of the photos, especially in good lighting conditions very good.
The quality reduces in lower quality light and definitely won’t be as sharp. This is to be expected with an action camera, especially in this price range.
The camera took some decent photos of the soccer match. The narrow angle didn’t zoom in enough to test the action capture capabilities but that’s to be expected. I’m looking forward to seeing what it can do when we go on an adventure activity again.
Here are some of the photos taken. Unless noted, I did not edit the photos so you could see the image quality of picture in its raw form.
Different lens angle size photos
I shot the same photo using the 3 different angle sizes so you can see the difference. I chose an indoor setting and an outdoor setting.
Non edited to edited photos
Just so you can see what is possible with your raw photos, I made a few minor edits on a few of our AKASO action camera photos from our sunset at Wilmington Riverfront.
The photo settings are basically the same as the filming, allowing you to set the:
- resolution – 16MP 14MP 10MP 8MP 5MP 2MP
- time lapse interval and duration
- date stamp
- photo burst
- long exposure
- effect, filter
- white balance
- exposure value
I tend to do auto for everything!!
Playback on the AKASO Action camera
You can playback your photos and videos on the camera itself.
I really didn’t like this function as the screen is so small I also couldn’t get the video playback to work to well, nor would it scroll through the different clips.
There is an app, iSmart Pro+ which connects via the camera’s Wi-Fi, which is a great way to view your footage. You can easy delete footage via that way and download it to your camera.
You can also put your SD card directly into your computer or TV and view it that way.
An inexpensive underwater camera
Some of the best travel memories can be captured under water.
This photo is on my wall and always brings a smile as I recall the moment six year old Kalyra dragged me into the water in the middle of the choppy ocean to explore the great Barrier Reef.
We held hands as we swam up close to Wally, the gigantic wrasse and discovered an unbelievable world of color an strange forms together. Photos evoke so much that our brains in their business forget.
These are the reasons we travel, always have reminders of them on hand.
The above photo was not taken by us on a GoPro but by someone else with an udnerwater camera. This photo however was:
Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to test the AKASO v50 Pro under water yet.
Need I say, winter in Raleigh, NC doesn’t offer too many opportunities to do this. We are possibly visiting Florida Keys in February so will use it and update this post then.
Until now, here are the specs on the underwater cameras feature of the AKASO action camera.
The camera can take pictures in the water up to a depth of 30 meters.
I’m interested to see how this camera continues to work on our travel adventures. While I love the concept of GoPro and generally what it can do, I’ve never been completely sold on the ravings of it.
The first couple we had produced awful video and photos. We could never figure out how people got great photos from it. Was it us or the camera?
We couldn’t see how it was us as there is not a lot of technical knowledge behind using one – another big plus for normal travelers just wanting to capture memories.
The more recent versions of GoPro have taken much better photos for us which lead us to believe it was possibly the camera itself. They are truly a great cameras to travel with, but were they wroth the price with all the issues we had with them, the frustrating way to use them and the quality we received.
I’m much happier with the idea of investing less money into something that could possibly serve the same function and produce quality memories.
I found this AKASO V50 Pro easy to use and one of the best cheap GoPro alternatives.
I loved how I could fit it in my pocket and capture memories on the go. I was very happy with the quality of the photos and video that I shot.
For what it offers, it’s a worthy piece of camera equipment to have on your travels, especially for those wider angle shots. I do think you need something else for more up close footage.
CAVEAT: I highly recommend you travel with travel insurance. We lost one of our GoPros while surfing in Hawaii – no travel insurance. Always a bad decision. We’re amabassadors for Allianz Travel and recommend their policies. Click here to learn more.
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