Ten years ago smartphones were the new hot thing. Five years ago it was tablets. Today it’s a bit more unclear but Action Camera’s have a big chance of taking that hot spot. Starting a review of an action camera I have to acknowledge the elephant in the room. GoPro. They arguably started the market and still make what are arguably the best or among the best in the market. That market position comes at a cost – their cheapest camera is over £150 and their ‘standard line’ starts at £250. Most of us simply don’t need that. We’re looking to take some video of the kids in the garden, attach it to our bike, do a little vlogging or use the camera to timelapse a sunset. Important things but not usually ones that need everything GoPro offers.
With that Elephant out of the way we’ve got the Aukey AC-LC2. The camera comes claims to shoot 4k video, is waterproof, supports wifi, comes with two batteries and a whole range of extras, connectors and bits. Best of all it’s at the wallet-friendly price of £59. So what do you get for your money?
The Camera itself is billed at being able to shoot in 4k and it can but only at 25 frames per second. If you want the more decent 60 frames you need to go the 1080p. This is less of a real problem than you’d think – most of us don’t have screens that can show 4k anyway and shooting in it would fill up storage at an incredible speed. I soon adjusted to shooting 1080p at 60fps and was happy with the result. The camera had a tendency to show scenes a little darker than reality but handled changes in light and movement well. Color reproduction was likewise a little muted but consistently so and hence could be adjusted for. Sound quality from an action camera is rarely good and especially when I was using the all-enclosing waterproof case it was uniformly acceptable at best. When I didn’t use the waterproof case and just the shockproof case it actually was reasonable – good enough for a quick YouTube ‘to the camera’ shot and a very pleasant surprise. Still pictures come out at 12 megapixels and while not anywhere near the standard of a DSLR can match a mid-range camera phone.
The UI on the camera is sensible and designed to get you shooting as fast as possible. If you want to get deeper into it there are a lot of extra options but most people will rarely use anything but the video that comes up first and single still images that is one click away. The AC-LC2 also has another trick built in – wifi. You can connect it to your phone using the phone as an external screen or use a little wrist-mounted button to trigger the start of videos or pictures. Both of these worked but aren’t something that you’re probably going to use very often.
Action cameras need to be attached to whatever you’re doing and the AC-LC2 comes with a wide range of attachments. Some of them like the shock case and waterproof case are obvious how to use but others are a little more obscure. They’re all of decent if not amazing quality and Aukey throwing in a second battery is a real bonus.
The Ergohacks Verdict
Action cams are surprisingly versatile. Despite the fact that we’ve all got decent camera’s in our phones having a dedicated unit that you can strap onto you or just use as a camera is a much bigger plus that you’d think. Aukey’s AC-LC2 hits all the boxes – decent video quality and battery life, simple to use and a good range of accessories. The ability to shoot just about in 4k and to use your phone as a remote viewfinder are also worthwhile extras. The price at just under £60 or just under £50 for the next few days is low enough to make it a worthwhile purchase as a holiday camera or just to play around with. I’ve had real problems reviewing it because every time it gets charged it keeps vanishing from my desk to be used to make home videos and record singing and dancing. Recommended.
Buy it from Amazon +
Price: ± Regular price £59 but until the end of June get £9 with the code SL6WJQVA
You get the camera itself, a protective but not waterproof case that leaves the mic exposed, a waterproof case, a spare waterproof case back, a clip to hold it onto a pipe, multiple removable tie downs, a clip on crocodile clip, 90 degree turner, two glue on sliding clips, a smaller clip, a 45 degree turner, a remote wifi trigger, two stand interfaces, cables, cable ties, glue, a spare battery and a microusb charging cable.
Paid extras: A 32Gb class 10 microSD card like this one.
Aukey is a Chinese manufacturer based in Shenzhen that produces a range of products. They’re best known for their batteries and charging solutions but also make speakers, some car products, cables and a few other more odd products such as a mini-drone and Android-based projector.
Like most Amazon seller’s they’re gearing up for Prime Day next month – Amazon’s annual summer sell off. They’re specifically planning a number of discounts between the 5th and 11th of June and more on Prime Day itself. Their Amazon store is available here.
The camera looks exactly like you’d expect. It’s a classic action cam – a small rectangular box with lens on the front, screen on the back. There are four buttons – power, ok and up/down. The power button lets you cycle through modes – video, camera, burst camera, camera with timer and settings and then the OK button triggers. Settings has a number of options, resolution and FPS, looping settings, time stamps, exposure, photo resolution, burst length, time lapse, continuous lapse, power frequency, language, date and time, upside down (flips the UI and video), screen timeout settings, power timeout settings, microSD card formatting and a factory reset. It all works as you’d hope and expect it would. It also is in a logical order and gets you taking video or pictures as quickly as possible after the camera starts up.
Even without the protective cases it feels surprisingly solid to hold – not something I’ve experienced with most non-go-pros. The accessories seem reasonably well made and fit together and around the camera with decent tolerances. I found most of them obvious in use with a couple that I’ve still not figured out!
Product dimensions: 5.8 x 3.2 x 3.9 cm
Item Weight: 61 grams – not including any cases or attachments
Colour: Black with white text
Waterproof: Not by itself but it includes a waterproof case
Video Resolution: 4K (25fps), 2.7K (30fps), 1080p (60fps), 1080p (30fps), 720p (120fps), 720p (60fps)
Image Resolution: 12MP, 8MP, 5MP, 4MP
Lens: 170°HD wide-angle fisheye lens
Charging and data connection via USB: USB 2.0
Charging Time: 2 hours quoted. I found it took around two and half hours if it was completely empty with a standard wall charger.
Continuous Recording Time: Around 90 minutes quoted. I got about an hour at 1080p at 60fps. Can also be powered in use via microUSB.
Waterproof Case Depth Rating: 30m / 98.4ft
Dimensions: 59 x 41 x 25mm / 2.33″ x 1.61″ x 0.97″
Warranty: 24 months from manufacturer defects. Note that this doesn’t apply if you smash it!
The camera does not include a microSD card which will need to be purchased separately. It needs to be a quoted maximum size of 32GB and at least Class 10+ speed. Despite the information given I was able to make a 64GB card work. I found generally that the 32GB was sufficient – you run out of battery before storage space.
We based our Ergohacks Verdict on three weeks of tinkering, testing and using the Aukey AC-LC2 kindly provided by Aukey. This article was first published on 26 June 2017.