I have a now older GoPro Hero 3. Although I haven’t used it to the fullest (I’m not a mountain biker, kayaker, parachutist, or outdoor enthusiast in general) my experience with it has been very positive. Despite the harsh fisheye lens and the lack of a preview screen, its image is crystal clear, its pickup very good (if not in its body), and its overall build quality is stellar.
So I was very interested in trying the Vivitar 4K Wi-Fi Action Cam. It looks a lot like a GoPro. It acts a bit like a GoPro. But would it be as efficient?
Although the Vivitar has a few advantages over the Go Pro, the answer to this question is definitely “no”.
But first, some specs. What’s included when you get the Vivitar 4K Wi-Fi Action Camera? More than what you get on a basic GoPro.
- 16 megapixel video camera
HDMI and USB 2.0 interfaces
2 inch preview screen on the back
CMOS image sensor
- Wireless remote control that attaches to your wrist
- Waterproof case
- Bike rack
- Helmet holder
- Rechargeable lithium battery
- AC adapter and USB cable
- Easy installation guide
- Easy Guide (this is different from Easy Installation Guide)
- Vivitar Experience software (downloadable)
- 1 year warranty
It measures 2.5 “x 2.6” x 1.5 “and requires a Class 10 or higher Micro SD card for normal use, which is not included. You can also use a microSDHC.
It claims a 16-megapixel camera and the ability to record in 4K UHD. But I found the results to be quite poor. Granted, I took these photos at the 8MP setting, but they certainly don’t look close to 8MP quality to me.
Like the GoPro, you can use the Vivitar to take photos or record videos. It also has an in-car recording mode (which appears to record backwards), and you can change settings like resolution and turn image stabilization, slow motion, photo timer on or off, the photo burst, etc.
The two biggest drawbacks I found for the Vivitar Action Cam are the lack of video / photo quality and the poor battery life. The quality just isn’t there for the epic videos and photos you’ll want to take with something like this kind of camera. And, while it charges fairly quickly, the battery drains even faster. You can use it for very short periods of time, but then it will need to be recharged. And he doesn’t hold the load well at all between uses.
Its case is described as an “underwater case”, but also claims to be a “water resistant case”. I wasn’t about to test its waterproof qualities, so I don’t know where the reality of the spectrum lies. But the case closes very well. Built-in Wi-Fi lets you stream to your smartphone or tablet, or even use it as a webcam. But, unless you leave it plugged in all the time, it won’t be useful for long streaming sessions. You can download the Vivitar Action Cam app from the App Store.
Some other differences I found between the Vivitar and the GoPro:
GoPro Hero 3 better: The waterproof container is easier to open, the sides of the camera are nice and grippy, and the sound quality is fantastic (when you’re not using a case). The GoPro is heavier than the Vivitar, which makes it easier to hold.
Vivitar better: Significantly lower price for the form factor. No fisheye lens. Comes with tons of accessories.
If you’re looking for a GoPro-like experience without the price tag, the Vivitar 4K Wi-Fi Action Cam is a decent starter camera, and it won’t break the bank for those who want to see if an action-type camera is for them. Just make sure to pair it with an external battery charger. I am fan of ZAGG power amplifier and Rescue boat chargers. The camera costs $ 99.99, but is currently on sale at BestBuy for $ 49.99.
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast and want to create photos and movies that are as epic as your moves, however, stay with the GoPro. They are now at the GoPro Hero 6!
Note: I received a sample for review, but all opinions are my own.