In our Akaso Brave 4 Pro review, we’re putting a popular budget action camera through its paces. With a dual-screen design that recalls the DJI Osmo Action and recent GoPro models like the Hero 10 Black, and an impressive spec that includes the ability to shoot 4K video at 30p and Full HD at up to 120p, the Akaso Brave 4 Pro packs in a lot of tech for a camera that costs around $110 / £90.
Of course, one has to tread carefully in the world of budget cameras. Sometimes, promises of big functionality and little price tags are quite simply too good to be true. When we’re putting together lists like our guide to the best budget action cameras (opens in new tab) we have to be extra careful that everything we’re recommending is worth the price tag, no matter how slim that price tag is.
So, with that in mind, we got hold of an Akaso Brave 4 Pro to check out how it performs and put the little camera through its paces. Without further ado, let’s crack right on with our Akaso Brave 4 Pro review.
Akaso Brave 4 Pro review: Specifications
• 4K video at 30p; 2.7K video at 30p; Full HD video at up to 120p; HD video at up to 120p
• 20MP max photo resolution
• Burst mode up to 10fps
• Electronic Image Stabilization 2.0
• Waterproof to 40m with housing
• Dual screens: 2-inch rear touchscreen LCD, 1.5-inch front LCD
Akaso Brave 4 Pro review: Key Features
The Akaso Brave 4 Pro doesn’t cost too much more than the ultra-budget options from the company like the Akaso EK7000 Pro (opens in new tab), but it still packs in quite a bit more in terms of features. The most immediately obvious of these is probably the extra LCD screen on the front, which gives you a quick and easy way to film yourself. This immediately makes the Brave 4 Pro a lot more useful for vlogging.
The camera comes with an array of mounts and accessories, including a waterproof housing. It’s capable of shooting video at a variety of resolutions and frame rates, including 4K 30p and Full HD 120p. There are also slow-motion and time-lapse options. Stills-wise, it captures at a maximum resolution of 20MP, and can burst-shoot at up to 10fps. The default view is the ultra-wide fishbowl perspective familiar to anyone who has used an action camera, but you can also select the “Wide”, “Medium” and “Narrow” modes if you want to get a little closer, or use the 5x zoom option in the main shooting menu.
Akaso also says that the electronic image stabilisation is upgraded to version 2.0 on this camera, which should make it easier to capture smooth movies. It’s available as shake reduction when shooting stills as well.
Akaso Brave 4 Pro review: Build and handling
If you’re at all familiar with action cameras you’ll be right at home with the cuboid build of the Akaso Brave 4 Pro. What sets it apart though is a feature that’s commonly reserved for more expensive models – the second screen on the front, a little 1.5-inch LCD that isn’t touch sensitive, but provides a great way to quickly frame up with the camera pointing toward you. You switch between the screens by holding the upwards arrow button on the side of the camera – it’s best to familiarise yourself with this option in advance, as otherwise you’ll end up triggering it accidentally and then spending a considerable amount of time trying to switch it back. Or, at least, I did.
Once you’re in the menu, there’s a surprising surfeit of options and control modes for a camera at this price. It lets you delve into the menu and tinker with all sorts of settings, including ones you probably wouldn’t bother with (it’s hard to envision a scenario where you would want to manually set the ISO rather than just using exposure compensation, but if you want to, it’s there). You can also select different metering modes (average, centre-weighted and spot) as well as activating Diving Mode, which produces optimised colours for underwater shooting.
The Akaso Brave 4 Pro connects easily to Wi-Fi via the AkasoGo app, which allows you to use your phone as a remote trigger. It also comes with a boxful of accessories and mounts, as well as a little standalone remote trigger. Switching between the various modes can be quite fiddly and often require the use of the touchscreen – which you can’t do when the camera is in its underwater housing. Therefore, if you’re going to use the camera in sub-aquatic conditions, it’s best to use a little forethought about the shooting modes you want to use.
Akaso Brave 4 Pro review: Performance
Images captured on the Akaso Brave 4 Pro punch a little above their weight for a camera at this price point. The dynamic range is about what you’d expect from a small sensor camera, but the colours are punchy, and there’s a good level of detail even up close. It’s noticeably quite an improvement over the EK7000 Pro, even though in terms of price there isn’t a huge difference between the two cameras.
Being able to zoom in 5x or choose different shooting “Angles” (which basically does the same thing) is handy too – it’s a digital zoom, but a decent enough one that the results are usable, so it’s definitely worth having in your back pocket. The burst mode is also nicely responsive.
Video-wise, results can vary, but it’s perfectly possible to get good-looking footage with the Akaso Brave 4 Pro. The Electronic Image Stabilisation 2.0 is noticeably better than the previous version on Akaso cameras – it’s silent in operation, and does make a real, tangible difference to the smoothness of your footage that’s shot while moving.
While I was reasonably impressed with the 4K 30p, at lower resolutions the quality does degrade quite rapidly – there was some distinct fringing in the Full HD 1080p shot on a sunny day, and the HD 720p was all but unusable. It is cool to have slow motion on an action camera at this price point though – for whatever reason, it defaults to a barely-noticeable 60p, but bump it up to 120p and the effect works quite well. It adds another string to the camera’s bow.
One thing I did notice, which is worth being aware of: sometimes when shooting at higher resolutions I would get somewhat juddery footage, with dropped frames. The memory card was high-spec enough for the resolution and frame rate, so it seemed like at points the processor was struggling to keep up. It looked to be happening most when abrupt changes of light were causing the camera to have to change exposure quickly – in more evenly lit scenes, it was fine. Therefore if you’re expecting a lot of rapid light changes, it’s probably worth punching down to a lower resolution.
Akaso Brave 4 Pro review: Video samples
4K video at 30fps with image stabilization
4K video at 30fps without image stabilization
Slow-motion video, 1080P at 120fp
Akaso Brave 4 Pro review: Verdict
While the Akaso Brave 4 Pro is not perfect, it offers an impressive level of flexibility and customizability for an action camera at this price. It’s really impressive how many different features and options have been packed in here, and with subsequent Brave cameras having come out since, the street price of the Brave 4 Pro has come down and made it even more of a bargain.
Built quality and imaging performance are all perfectly acceptable for the price, and while its stabilization and image quality can’t hope to compete with the kind of quality and sophistication offered by GoPro and DJI, this is why cameras like this cost barely over $100. Does the Akaso Brave 4 Pro justify its price tag? Yes – we’d say it does.
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