GoPro makes some of our favorite action cameras available today, including the GoPro Hero5, and has set the standard for what to look for when it comes to these handheld rugged devices. Buying GoPro cameras will set you back quite a bit, but it’s thankfully not the only name in town anymore a number of manufacturers have entered this burgeoning market with their own high-quality, low-cost action cams.
Winter offers plenty of outdoor adventures, and it’s a great time for heading outside to enjoy Mother Nature. If you’re ready to jump on the action cam bandwagon but don’t want to shell out hundreds for something like the high-end GoPro Hero5 Black edition, the GoPro Hero 4, the GoPro Hero 3, or the GoPro Karma, then we’ve picked out some excellent and affordable GoPro alternatives including some 4K models that won’t break the bank.
Though this Campark action cam doesn’t quite pack the same punch as the GoPro Hero 5, it will still get the job done. With 4K video capabilities of 30 frames per second, this cheap GoPro alternative is great for outdoor adventures on both land and in the water — it’s splash-proof after all. With a Wi-Fi remote control, this sports camera allows you to control your camera using only your smartphone in real time. Instantly send pictures and videos via email or social media all from the palm of your hand.
Coming in at just $53, the Campark is an excellent — and highly affordable — GoPro alternative.
Kicking off the rest of our GoPro alternative deals is this excellent Yi 4K action camera. Yi is a strong GoPro rival, and the company recently beat out GoPro for a contract for Google’s ongoing VR project. Similar to the Hero or Hero 5, this action cam is capable of recording 4K video at 20 frames per second frame rateor 1080p at 60 fps for true HD video qualityand image stabilization. A 150-degree wide-angle lens captures all the action, while the 2-inch full-color touchscreen shows you everything as it happens. Wi-Fi connectivity makes it simple to sync the unit with your mobile device so you can manage your footage with the Yi Action app.
The Yi 4K camera is currently available on Amazon for $55 with a limited-time $5 coupon (redeemable on the product page). You can also score the waterproof case for $20 (50 percent off) when you purchase this Yi 4K action camera.
If you’ve got a young adventurer or aspiring action photographer in your life, then check out the kid-friendly (not to mention wallet-friendly) Kidizoom from Vtech. This easy-to-use action cam captures both video and still photos, and is loaded with pre-programmed filters and editing effects. The Kidizoom comes with a rugged case that’s waterproof at up to6 feet perfect for taking to the pool or the beach along with both a bike mount and an adhesive flat mount, though it won’t handle low light well.
It may not be the Her0 5 Black, GoPro Hero 3, or Hero 5 session, but with a price tag of $29.50 ($20.50 off), it’s a great cheap action camera for any aspiring adventurer.
The Intova Dub is purpose-built for adventures that take you out on the lake, ocean, or just into the swimming pool, thanks to a housing that is waterproof at depths of up to 200 feet. Better still, this housing floats, so if you drop the cam in the water, it’ll be safe and easy to retrieve. The Dub shoots Full HD video at 1080p resolution with its 108-degree lens and features a 1.5-inch LCD screen. The internal battery lasts for up to two hours before needing to recharge, and the camera’s threaded mounting hole is compatible with standard aftermarket mounts and attachments.
The Intova Dub normally goes for around $100 from most retailers, but at just $35 from B&H after a nice $65 discount, this action cam a capable and incredibly budget-friendly GoPro alternative if you’re looking for a rugged, waterproof, and floatable action cam for boating and other watersports.
If you’re seeking a really affordable GoPro alternative, Nexgadget is a great entry-level option. Although you’re not likely to find a 4K unit at this price, the Nexgadget still boasts impressive camera features with its 1080p video-recording capability, 170-degree ultra wide-angle lens, and vibrant 2-inch LCD display. The Nexgadget action cam also utilizes an impressive 14-megapixel sensor for shooting still and time-lapse photos. Included with the device is a durable waterproof case, which makes the Nexgadget perfect for all of your underwater adventures at depths of up to 100 feet.
At just $46,the Nexgadget 1080p cam is the perfect choice for those who want to dip their feet into the world of decent action cameras without spending an arm and a leg.
A cheaper alternative to expensive action camcorders like the TomTom Bandit is the Air Pro Lite from Ion, which features similar camera features and recording capabilities. The Air Pro Lite can shoot 1080p video at a full 60 frames per second and can take 14MP still photos. The camera is waterproof at depths of up to 10 meters without the need for a separate case and has an impressive 2.5-hour battery life, considerably longer than many other wearable cameras.
It’s also compatible with all Ion accessories and mounts and comes with a helmet mount as well. The Ion Air Pro Lite action camcorder is one of the cheapest GoPro alternatives of its kind, coming in at a low $67 from Amazon.
Polaroid may be best-known for its classic instant-print photo cameras, but the company has managed to keep up with the times by offering its own lineup of affordable GoPro alternatives that bear the iconic rainbow-striped Polaroid design. The Polaroid Cube 1080p action cam is as attractive as it is affordable, with a 124-degree wide-angle lens and a tough splash-resistant rubberized housing.
The Polaroid Cube is compatible with a wide array of mounts, but it also features built-in magnets for easy attachment to metal surfaces. Normally $100-$120, the black Polaroid Cube action cam comes in at $61 from Amazon and $69 from B&H.
Those who want to record videos for use with a VR headset should look into wide-angle, 360-degree action cameras, and for the price, the first-generation Samsung Gear 360is a tough act to beat. Though very different from a traditional action cam like the GoPro Hero, this camera features a unique wide-angle lens capable of recording crisp 3,840 x 1,920 video in 360 degrees — not quite 4K but very close and very impressive for the price. It also takes still landscape photographs at 180 degrees with its impressive 30-megapixel image sensor. The Gear 360 is roughly the size of a tennis ball, making it easy to bring along with you pretty much anywhere.
The included tripod doubles as both a stand for taking static videos, as well as a convenient handle for when you want to hold it and capture the action around you. At a new low of$68 from Amazon, the Samsung Gear 360 gives you a huge savings of $282, or 81 percent, off of its original price.
If, on the other hand, you own a Galaxy phone and want the newest Samsung VR camera that shoots in full 4K,the new 2017 refresh of the Gear 360 is also on sale right now. Like the original Gear 360, the updated model utilizes two 180-degree lenses to capture everything going on around you, but this one does it in true Ultra HD resolution. It connects easily with recent Samsung flagship smartphones and now also boasts iPhone support.
A 50-percent discount brings the second-generation Gear 360 to $109 on Amazon ($121 off), the lowest price we’ve seen so far for Samsung’s latest VR action cam.
Camera technology is only getting smaller and more affordable, and you no longer have to pay through the nose for 4K video recording capability. Case in point is the box-shaped HDCool HC8000 4K high-resolution action cam. Its specs aren’t quite as impressive as the GoPro Hero lineup’s, but the HDCool is still no slouch. This little unit records 4K video at 30 fps or 1080p footage at 60 fps, and it also boasts a 16MP image sensor for photographs with a 4K stills resolution. Its 170-degree wide-angle lens ensures that this camera doesn’t miss anything, and the device comes with a number of different mounts and a waterproof housing that works at depths of up to 120 feet, along with some other accessories. It also comes with two 1,050mAh batteries, each of which provides up to 90 minutes of life.
Competing GoPro alternatives normally come in at around $100 to $130, but you can snag the HDCool HC8000 for just$60, which is why it’s our favorite alternative.
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Update on May 10: Added the Ion Air Pro Lite. Removed expired offers and updated prices.