If you’re looking for one of the best GoPro alternatives (opens in new tab) for all-round basic use then the Wolfgang GA400 action camera (US$119.99 / £119.99) should be on your radar. Boasting 4K 60fps video and up to 20 megapixel stills, it appears to match its much pricier rivals both on resolution and by having a natively waterproof chassis. It’s loaded with accessories and easy to use yet it lacks some crucially important characteristics that flagship action cameras alone offer. Here’s what you need to know about the GA400…
35mm equiv. focal length: N/A
Photo resolution: 20MP, 16MP, 14MP, 10MP, 8MP 5MP
Video resolution: 4K@60fps, 4K@30fps, 2.7K@30fps180p@120fps, 1080p@60fps, 1080p@30fps, 720p@240fps, 720p@120fps, 720p@60fps
Run time: 60 minutes
The GA400 is close to the top of Wolfgang’s range of budget action cameras. Like the others it’s designed to reach as low a price as possible, but it’s noticeably better quality than most of its brethren throughout both features and core quality.
The basic features are all here, from a 170º wide-angle fisheye lens to a 2-inch touchscreen on the reverse. It’s able to create 4K 60fps with H.264 video encoding and adds some basic electronic image stabilization (EIS) amid a plethora of resolutions. However, it can’t do cinematic-style 24p or 25p frame rates. It can capture stills in various resolutions up to 20 megapixels, with both burst photo and time lapse photo modes.
As well as straight video the GA400 offers slow motion, time lapse, loop recording and a driving mode, the latter for using the GA400 as a dashcam. Able to go 8m underwater without a case, in the box is a waterproof diving case for 40m plunges. Other accessories in the box include a silicon lens cover, remote control, bicycle mount, J-hook mounts, tripod adaptor, helmet mount, extension mount, as well as various screws, tethers and adhesive pads.
Its 1,350mAh battery might seem a little under-powered when compared to GoPro’s 1,720mAh, but for a budget action camera that’s actually large. Two are provided, which recharge in-camera.
Build and handling
The GA400 is particularly tough for a budget action camera. It’s a little heavier than most at 130g, which does become noticeable when mounted on a helmet, though overall it adds toughness. The design has been well thought through, with curved edges and ridges to add grip. The lens itself is set behind a glass cover to prevent scratches.
There are two flip-out covers on the GA100, one on the bottom that reveals the battery and a microSD card slot, but no input for an external microphone. There’s a smaller hood on the side that covers a mini HDMI slot for outputting video to a TV as well as a micro USB slot for recharging. The latter is not something we want to see on modern electronics because having to schlep a micro USB cable around is a pain in these days of USB-C. However, it’s no surprise to find it on a product that’s trying to challenge the competition on price. Unlike many low-priced action cameras the GA400 does have a tripod thread built into its base, which means no fussing with add-on tripod cases.
The GA400 can be remotely controlled by the iSmart DV2 app, an off-the-shelf app we’ve seen before when reviewing other budget action cameras. Rather annoyingly the front page of this app contains advertising, though once it gets through to the remote control pages it’s clean. We had a few problems getting the GA400 to consistently spit out a WiFi network, but when it did the app connected easily and worked well. It essentially repeats a lot of what you can very simply do onscreen thanks to the GA400’s responsive touchscreen. The app is entered around the live preview screen, from where it’s possible to toggle resolutions and swap between video and photo mode. You can also access all of the settings, from white balance and exposure compensation to image stabilization and wind noise reduction. However, it didn’t find any videos on our GA400, only photos. It also freezes the camera’s onscreen menus, so you have to choose which way you want to control it.
With its plethora of features and settings usable both in camera and via the app, overall we found the GA400 very easy to use.
Sample video footage shot with Wolfgang GA400
The GA400 is not a device that aspiring film-makers should purchase. Instead it’s one for vloggers and anyone wanting something affordable to film their next adventure. We say that because the GA400 is really easy to use, produces some colorful and smooth-looking video and yet lacks ultimate 4K detail and filmmaker-style options.
The 4K 60 frames per second MOV videos it produces using the H.264 are rather large files. It’s immediately obvious during playback that the boosted frame rate on the GA400 compared to the Wolfgang’s even lower-priced action cameras is worth the investment, but its low bitrate ensures it never approaches GoPro or Insta360 in terms of 4K detail. Although there is minor blocking if you zoom in, the 4K60fps footage remains very watchable.
It’s possible to introduce more smoothness by toggling-on EIS (electronic image stabilization), which helps get rid of judder during camera pans and movement, thus producing smooth-looking video that’s worth using for action sequences. You won’t get the dream-like smoothness of GoPro’s HyperSmooth and Insta360’s FlowState motion processing, but considering the low price the GA400 does reasonably well. With just enough contrast and well matured colors, 4K video isn’t as clean or as sharp as on rival action cameras, but that’s nit-picking. There’s more than enough basic quality here for basic vlogging and outdoor adventures.
Sample stills images shot with Wolfgang GA400
The GA400’s photos also impress. Image features plenty of contrast and just enough detail. That helps boost the boldness of colors, which are well saturated and natural-looking.
Wolfgang GA400: verdict
With good quality if imperfect 4K video and good 20MP stills, the GA400 makes a great alternative to one of the big brands of action camera if you’re after results a level below the cinematic quality offered by the leading action camera brands. At this mid-range level the build quality is excellent and the touchscreen is responsive while the onscreen menus are intuitive and easy to use. From a pure photography point of view it’s good to see a tripod thread built-in to the core device, though equally as impressive is the included diving case and accessories.
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