What does the savvy action camera-maker do when the market is dominated by GoPro? Flood that market with a mess of hugely more affordable action cameras that ape the market leader’s core features, that’s what. Akaso has been making impressive action cameras for a few years, including the Akaso Brave 7 LE, the Akaso V50 Elite and the Akaso Keychain 4K camera, though its present Akaso V50 Pro series includes a variety of models that are worth exploring.
As well as the global Akaso V50 Pro there’s the Akaso V50 Pro The Endless Summer (Special Edition) for the US market and a significantly upgraded Akaso V50 Pro SE sold globally. The latter is also sold as the Akaso V50 Pro Leave No Trace (Special Edition). What these tweaked versions all have in common is huge affordability and some impressive core features, though they lack niceties such as digital zoom.
The Akaso V50 Pro ($119.99/£119.99) and re-branded Akaso V50 Pro The Endless Summer (Special Edition) ($139.99) are identical 4K/30fps action cameras with a 170° wide-angle lens that offer 720p/120fps for slow-motion video, 16-megapixel still photos, electronic image stabilization (EIS) and a two-inch touch screen on the rear.
Meanwhile, the Akaso V50 Pro SE ($154.99/£159.99), rebranded as Akaso V50 Pro Leave No Trace (for which a portion of the sales goes to Leave NoTrace and AccessFun charities) ups the resolution to 20-megapixels and 4K/60fps. However, that increased resolution doesn’t support image stabilization.
They may sell for a fraction the price of a GoPro, but are they any good?
Akaso V50 Pro: build and handling
It may weigh a mere 63g and measure just 2.4 x 1.6 x 1.2 inches (60x41x32mm), but the Akaso V50 Pro Endless Summer Edition – which we have a review sample of –ships in a reasonably large box. That’s because inside is almost every accessory you could ever think of for an action camera. There’s a mounting frame for the camera and sticky fixes, Velcro strips, tethers, a cleaning cloth, plentiful mounting screws and mounts galore for helmets and handlebars. However, the highlights are pretty obvious – there’s a remote control for your wrist, a waterproof casing for the camera (which allows you to take it down to 100ft/30m), two batteries and an external charger.
That’s either a very nice haul or an awful waste of plastic, depending on your intentions.
However, our excitement about accessories doesn’t last too long because the camera itself has something that just strikes us as odd – a mini USB slot for recharging its battery in-camera. Yup, mini USB, not micro USB. The external charger houses mini USB, too. It’s a legacy connectors that used to be used by cameras and MP3 players. We haven’t seen one for years. The requisite cables are in the box, but you’re unlikely to find one about the house.
The camera itself is small and well equipped, with its battery compartment on an undercarriage that also hosts a 1/4-inch tripod thread. That’s a huge relief since almost no other action cameras have such a thing anymore. One side houses a speaker while the other sports a MicroSD card slot (for cards up to 64GB), a mini HDMI output for transferring footage directly to a TV, and that strange mini USB slot.
Akaso V50 Pro: performance
It’s a straightforward camera to set-up, and we had no trouble linking our smartphone to its WiFi network to control everything via the Akaso DV app. That’s just as well because the camera’s rear touchscreen isn’t as responsive as it should be. So although it can be used to change resolutions and swap between modes, once the menus are on the screen it’s best to use the two large buttons on the top of the camera (though ostensibly for turning the camera on and for taking photos/starting video) to toggle through menus and make selections.
While controlling the Akaso V50 Pro via its app proved successful (it’s also possible to change a lot of the settings), we did experience some problems when downloading photos and videos to a smartphone. Each file has to be downloaded separately, and after each one, the app crashed and had to be restarted.
However, if you just want to shoot video and photos, then attach it to a PC or Mac to extract the raw files, the Akaso V50 Pro works just fine. Photos are sharp when shot at 16-megapixels, and colourful enough, while 4K/30fps MOV video is strong. Clear, sharp and with little grain or blurring at the edges, pans that are reasonably smooth and the microphone supplied concise audio. In our tests, the battery lasted about an hour-and-a-half.
The Akaso V50 Pro/Endless Summer captures in four resolutions: 4K/30fps, 2.7K/30fps, 1080p/60fps and 720p/120fps. The Akaso V50 Pro SE/Leave No Trace adds 4K/60fps, but also 1080p/120fps, 180/30fps, 720/240fps, 720p60fps and 720p/30fps.
Akaso V50 Pro: sample images
Sample 4K video shot with Akaso V50 Pro Endless Summer at 30fps
Sample 4K panning shot with Akaso V50 Pro Endless Summer at 30fps
Akaso V50 Pro: verdict
The Akaso V50 Pro is a good value action camera for anyone with reasonably low expectations. Its touchscreen isn’t responsive enough, the app has a tendency to crash, and the use of a mini USB slot is annoying. It comes with none of the convenient AI-powered video editing features that you get with other action cameras, but it will suit anyone after an affordable 4K camera to capture bike rides, skiing or any other outdoor activity. As such, its bundle of accessories – including that waterproof case – help make the Akaso V50 Pro worth considering if you’re after a basic good value action camera.