Best Action Cameras For Travelling & Sports

Action cameras are no longer gadgets that are only used for extreme sports. Instead they have transformed into the mainstream market. The best action cameras are small, tough, mountable and even waterproof. Their size and lightweight design have even enabled using them on drones. Action cameras are definitely the most versatile type of cameras out there.

Sure you could use any other camcorders as well, but most of the time they are way too bulky or cost too much. Action cameras are the perfect balance between portability, price and video quality. Travel bloggers have started using them to record holiday trips. And not just famous bloggers, ordinary people are using them to capture something special to look at. There’s tons of exotic beach holiday videos on YouTube, and some even make money off them.

The best action cameras can be taken underwater and make diving even more exciting. Of course they are still used for extreme sports as well. But the latest action cameras are so good that they can really be used anywhere. Even in the urban area where you might want the best video quality for clear videos. 4K video resolution has been out for a while and the newest action cameras support it as well. And the best even have features such as a digital image stabilization system. Something that you won’t see on most standard camcorders.

But the increasing popularity has made it hard to pick a good action camera. That is why we have put together a list of the very best action cameras currently available. We have included cameras from all price ranges and categories that they might be the best for. We are confident that our list has something for everyone.

Xiaomi Yi 4K+

Xiaomi is a globally known company that is known for their phones, tablets and also action cameras. When they first came out with the Xiaomi Yi, they impressed everyone with an amazingly good price and cheaper GoPro quality. However Xiaomi has moved on from the cheap products and the Xiaomi Yi 4K+ is now their 3rd generation and newest action camera. It comes with technical specifications that are better than any other company has displayed. That includes the giants such as GoPro and Sony.

Xiaomi Yi 4K+ Best Action Cameras

The Xiaomi Yi 4K+ action camera has a rectangular design with a body fully made out of black plastic. It has a dimension of 65x42x30mm / 2.5×1.6×1.2″ and weighs 96g / 3.4oz. The camera has also got a nice 2.2″ LCD touchscreen on the back for changing settings and viewing your footage. The camera can also be connected to an iOS or Android device via WiFi/Bluetooth. All you need is a Xiaomi app and a device to put it on. The app works really well and is easy to use. They have had years to improve it after all.

  • Dimensions: 65x42x30mm / 2.5×1.6×1.2″
  • Weight: 96g / 3.4oz
  • Chipset: Ambarella H2 SOC
  • Sensor: Sony IMX377 12MP 1/2.3″
  • Angle Of View: 155º
  • Video resolutions: 4K 60/50/30/25fps; 2.7K 60/50/30/25fps; 1440p 60/50/30/25fps; 1080p 120/100/60/50/30/25fps; 720p 240/200fps
  • Bitrates: 120Mbps
  • Photo: 12MP
  • Modes: Time Lapse Video, Slow Motion, Video + Photo, Loop, Burst, Time Lapse Photo, Shutter
  • Features: 2.2″ LCD touch screen, WiFi & Bluetooth, Voice Controls, Electronic Image Stabilization, External Microphone Support, Gyroscope/Accelerometer, 1/4″ Tripod hole
  • Ports: USB-C, MicroSD card slot
  • Memory: MicroSDHC and SDXC cards, up to 128GB
  • Battery life: 105 minutes of 4K 30fps recording

But the most impressive part about the Xiaomi Yi 4K+ is the video quality. It can record 4K resolution videos at up to 60fps! Plus it does that at a Bitrate of 120Mbps. Both the frames per second and the Bitrate is double the amount of any other available action camera. Oh and it comes with a new digital image stabilization system, which also works while recording in 4K. Most of those only work up to 1080p. The only two action cameras that currently support 4K stabilization are the Xiaomi Yi 4K+ and the Sony FDR-X3000.

The affordable price, simple design and fantastic video quality are the reason why the Xiaomi Yi 4K+ is the best action camera. It’s perfect for all situations, especially travelling! If you plan on going underwater or recording extreme sports, then just make sure you get some protective accessories.

Sony FDR-X3000

The great thing about Sony is that you can never go wrong with them. Sony has the best action cameras at literally every price range. The FDR-X3000 is their newest flagship action camera. It is made out of white high quality plastic. The cool thing about Sony is that all of their action cameras have a totally unique shape. They have a barrel shaped design with a dimension of 83×47×29.4mm / 3.27×1.85×1.16″ and a weight of 114g / 4.1oz. This unique design is best for extreme sports. It’s literally made for it.

Sony FDR-X3000 action camera

You can easily mount it onto a side of a car or a helmet. If you did that with the standard rectangular action cameras, then they would stick out quite a lot. Which means that you can always hit something with the camera and break it. The Sony FDR-X3000 sits close the surface you mount it on. So if you are looking for something good to record snowboarding or riding a mountain bike, then Sony FDR-X3000 is already the best action camera for you.

  • Dimensions: 83×47×29.4mm / 3.27×1.85×1.16″
  • Weight: 114g / 4.1oz
  • Video resolutions: 4K 30/25/24fps; 1080p 120/100/60/50/30/25/24fps; 720p 240/200/120/100fps
  • Bitrate: Up to 100Mbps
  • Photo: 12MP
  • Modes: Loop, Burst, Motion Shot, 4K Time-Lapse, Live Streaming
  • Features: Small LCD screen, 4K Optical Image Stabilization, GPS, Wifi & Bluetooth, 1/4″ Tripod hole
  • Ports: MicroUSB, MicroHDMI, MicroSD card slot, Stereo minijack
  • Battery life: 50 minutes of 4K 30fps recording

It isn’t just the design that makes Sony so good. It also has the best video quality currently available. The thing with technical specifications is that numbers don’t always display the quality in real life. While it can record 4K resolution videos at up to 30fps, like most other action cameras, it still has much sharper and better video quality. That’s because the Sony sensors are just so good. Plus it has a next generation optical image stabilization system that also works with 4K videos. It’s actually better than the one seen on the Xiaomi Yi 4K+ as well.

If you are looking for the very best action camera for extreme sports, then we have to recommend the Sony FDR-X3000. It’s just so good for what it’s meant for. Plus Sony has tons of accessories available for mounting.

GoPro Hero5 Black

GoPro is the absolute veteran when it comes to action cameras. They were the very first company to start this sub-niche of cameras. GoPro Hero5 Black is their newest flagship action camera. In many ways it is similar to their previous version the Hero4 Black. There are some important upgrades though that brought the camera back on par with it’s competitors.

GoPro Hero5 Black best action cameras

First the design. While the Hero5 Black still has their original rectangular shape, the design has received a rework. The body is now made out of rubber like plastic that covers the entire camera. The use of this material has also allowed GoPro to make their camera waterproof without requiring a special case. The backside has also got a new 2″ LCD touchscreen. Which is definitely a very nice addition to the camera, as it makes it much more usable. Especially if you are near a pool and don’t want to take your phone out to change settings. Oh and GoPro has also included the new USB-C port on their camera! Looks like Apple isn’t the only company supporting it.

  • Dimensions: 62×44.6×32.7mm / 2.4×1.75×1.3″
  • Video resolutions: 4K 30/25/24fps; 2.7K 60/50/48/30/25/24 fps; 1440p 80/60/50/48/30/25/24fps; 1080p 120/90/80/60/50/48/30/25/24fps; 720p 240/120/60/50fps
  • Photo: 12MP
  • Modes: Night Photo & Night Lapse mode, Auto Low Light, Protune, Burst, Looping
  • Features: WiFi+Bluetooth, Electronic Image Stabilization, Advanced Wind Noise Reduction, Voice Control, GPS, Linear Field Of View, RAW & WDR Photos Hardware: 2″ Touch Sensitive LCD Screen, Waterproof up to 33ft /10m
  • Ports: USB-C, MicroHDMI, MicroSD card slot
  • Memory: MicroSD with Class 10 and SDXC cards, up to 128GB
  • Battery life: 1 hour 40 minutes of 4K 30fps recording

GoPro has always had very good video quality. Especially the colors, which have been the best in the industry. The same can be said about the Hero5 Black. It can record videos at a 4K resolution at up to 30fps. But most importantly, for the first time ever GoPro has included a digital image stabilization system on the camera. Now you can record way smoother videos without having to worry about vibrations from holding the camera. PS! the system only works when recording at a 1080p Full HD resolution.

SJCAM SJ7 Star

SJCAM is another company that first gained it’s reputation for their fantastic budget action cameras. With each release, their action cameras have gotten better and better. The SJCAM SJ7 Star is their newest flagship action camera. While it may not be as cheap as their previous cameras, the SJ7 Star is definitely the one with the best quality and price ratio.

SJCAM SJ7 Star

The SJCAM SJ7 Star has the same rectangular shape as seen on GoPro and Xiaomi. It has a dimension of 60×41×30mm / 2.3×1.6×1.1″ and a weight of 74g / 2.6oz. The main difference is in the materials used. Unlike the other two action camera companies, the SJCAM SJ7 Star has a an aluminium body! It’s a unique material used on an action camera case. And surprisingly enough it doesn’t weigh that much either. So that is definitely a huge plus for SJCAM. Like it’s other more expensive competitors, the SJ7 Star has also got a nice 2.2″ LCD touchscreen on the back.

  • Dimensions: 60×41×30mm / 2.3×1.6×1.1″
  • Weight: 74g / 2.6oz
  • Sensor: Sony IMX117 16 MP
  • Chipset: Ambarella A12S75
  • Field of View: 166°
  • Video resolutions: 4K 30/25fps; 2.7K 30fps; 2.5K 60/30fps; 1440p 60/30fps; 1080p 120/60/30fps; 720p 200/120/60/30fps
  • Bitrate: 60Mbps
  • Photo: 16MP
  • Modes: Single Shot, Burst, Time-Lapse, Video+Photo, Car Mode, Underwater
  • Features: WiFi, 2″ LCD touchscreen, Digital Image Stabilization, External Mic
  • Ports: MiniUSB, MicroHDMI, MicroSD card slot
  • Memory: MicroSD with Class 10 and SDXC cards, up to 128GB
  • Battery life: 70 minutes of 4K at 30fps, 65 minutes of 1080p at 60fps

SJCAM has many action cameras, but the SJ7 Star is their only version that has native 4K video recording at up to 30fps. Their other cameras have an interpolated version, which isn’t really 4K. Despite that, SJCAM has managed the real 4K very well on the SJ7 Star. The video quality looks really good. We don’t like the colors that much but that’s our personal preference. Make sure you look at videos recorded with the camera, you might like the colors yourself.

GoPro Hero5 Session

Action cameras have always been small, but imagine if there was something smaller? GoPro Hero5 Session is exactly that. The Session series are much smaller than the original GoPro cameras and they also have a unique box design. Again they were the first to come up with these type of cameras, so it’s not surprising that the Hero5 Session is one of the best action cameras, despite being so small.

GoPro Hero5 Session

There’s also a reason why the Hero5 Session is so small. It has a dimension of 38x38x36mm / 1.5×1.5×1.4″ and weighs 74g / 2.6oz. This allows you to comfortably mount the camera onto yourself, a moving object or even a helmet. Much like the Sony FDR-X3000. The Hero5 Session is meant for professionals, while it can still be used by anyone though. It has a durable plastic body and it’s also waterproof up to 10m / 33ft. The camera doesn’t have any LCD screens for changing settings so you’ll need to use a smartphone for that. The same applies for watching the footage you are recording.

  • Dimensions: 38x38x36mm / 1.5×1.5×1.4″
  • Weight: 74g / 2.6oz
  • Video resolutions: 4K 30/25fps; 2.7K 48/30/25/24 fps; 1440p 60/50/48/30/25/24fps; 1080p 90/60/50/30/25/24fps; 720p 120/60/50/30/25fps
  • Photo: 10MP
  • Modes: Night Photo & Night Lapse mode, Auto Low Light, Protune, Burst, Looping
  • Features: WiFi, Bluetooth, Voice Control, Digital Image Stabilization, Advanced Wind Noise reduction, Waterproof up to 10m/33ft
  • Ports: USB-C, MicroSD card slot
  • Memory: MicroSD with Class 10 and SDXC cards, up to 128GB
  • Battery life: 1 hour 40 minutes of 4K 30fps recording

The video quality is really good for such a small action camera. Again the colors, which are just fantastic in our opinion. If you are looking for a super small and durable action camera to attach to a moving object, then the GoPro Hero5 Session is an excellent choice.

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30

If you are into sports or hiking, then you have probably heard of the company Garmin before. Especially for their GPS devices and watches! They recently also started making action cameras. While they haven’t got too much experience in the camera industry, their action cameras have always received attention. This time we have picked their latest version: the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30. The reason why we picked it is because we find it to be the best action camera for underwater recording.

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30

The Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 is fully made out of rubberized plastic. It feels really nice to hold onto with the grip the material provides. The camera has the dimensions of 57.5×45.9×31.3mm / 2.3×1.8×1.2″ and a weight of 88g / 3.1oz. It has the basic rectangular shape but the overall look is more “tough”. It has been designed for extreme sports and rough environments. We also really like the use of black and red. The back of the action camera has also got a LCD touchscreen. It can be used for changing the camera settings, viewing recorded videos and even photos. The camera can also be connected to a iOS or Android device via WiFi.

  • Dimensions: 57.5×45.9×31.3mm / 2.3×1.8×1.2″
  • Weight: 88g / 3.1oz
  • Video resolutions: 4K 30/24fps; 2.7K 60/48/30/24fps; 1080p 120/90/60/48/30/24fps; 720p 240/120/60/30fps; 420p 300fps
  • Bitrate: 60Mbps
  • Photo: 12MP
  • Modes: Single Shot, Burst, Time-Lapse, Continuous
  • Features: WiFi, GPS, 1.75″ LCD screen, Digital Image Stabilization, Voice Control
  • Ports: MiniUSB, MicroSD card slot
  • Memory: MicroSD with Class 10 and SDXC cards, up to 128GB
  • Battery life: 1 hour of 4K at 30fps

The Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 has got the similar recording settings as all the other cameras here. It can record 4K resolution videos at up to 30fps. But that doesn’t really mean much. What we noticed with the action camera was that it wasn’t that good when recording on land. Compared to the other cameras in the same price range, they were just much better. However underwater, things quickly changed. Somehow the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 performs much better underwater and the quality can easily compete with the best action cameras. Garmin has also added support for GPS, which means that you can also display data on your videos. Data such as a map, distance traveled, speed, altitude etc.

While we don’t like the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 out side of water, it is still the best choice for divers. You also get a waterproof case with the camera so you don’t need any extra accessories.

Samsung Gear 360

360 degree videos are the future. They can be used to display videos from a whole new perspective. The problem is that the technology is still quite new, and the cameras aren’t that good yet. But there are also some exceptions that are actually worth the money. Samsung Gear 360 is one of the best 360 degree action cameras, by far. We have compared it with countless of other 360 action cameras and none of them have been as good.

Samsung Gear 360 VR Action Camera

The camera itself is basically shaped like a tennis ball. It’s also pretty much the same size with a dimension of 66.7×60.1×56.3mm / 2.6×2.4×2.2″ and weight of 152g / 5.4oz. The camera has two fish-eye lens that both record the video and then stitch it together. There is also a small LCD screen that only displays what mode you are currently recording with. Underneath the camera there is also a small threaded tripod hole. The camera actually comes with a small tripod, that can also be used to hold the camera while walking. It’s basically impossible to use it without the tripod. The second you grab the camera from anything other than the tripod, 50% of your video will be just your hand.

  • Dimensions: 66.7×60.1×56.3mm / 2.6×2.4×2.2″
  • Weight: 152g / 5.4oz
  • Video resolutions: 4K 30fps (Dual camera); 1440p 30fps (Single camera)
  • Photo: 30MP
  • Modes: Video, Photo, Time-Lapse, Looping video
  • Features: WiFi, Bluetooth, 360 degree video, Gyro, NFC, Dust & Splash proof
  • Ports: MicroUSB, MicroSD
  • Memory: MicroSD card Class 10 up to 128GB
  • Battery life: 1 hour 30 minutes of 4K at 30fps
  • Compatibility: Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+, Note5, S7, S7 edge with the Samsung Gear 360 Manager app, PCs with the Gear 360 ActionDirector software

Video specifications are always strange when it comes to these 360 degree action cameras. It supports the following video resolutions and frame rates: 4K 30fps (Dual camera); 1440p 30fps (Single camera). These don’t really say much. What makes 360 degree cameras either good or bad, is both the sensor and the software. And what makes the Samsung Gear 360 the best is actually the combination of those two. What I mean by software is how well the camera can stitch the footage together so that you end up with the perfect 360 degree video. Often times some cheaper action cameras do it really poorly and you can see the parts where the two videos have been put together. It can really ruin a video, despite how good the actual quality might be.

The Samsung Gear 360 is currently the best action camera for 360 degree videos. It’s the only one currently worth the money if you really want one. Do pay in mind that it isn’t really suitable for any extreme sports outside of an urban area. The camera is quite fragile as it has 2 massive glass lens sticking out of the body and you can damage them quite easily. Neither is it suitable for underwater as there is no waterproof case. And the final downside is the compatibility. The Gear 360 can only be connected to the following Samsung phones: Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+, Note5, S7, S7 edge. You can still use the camera if you don’t have any of those, but you can’t pair it with the phone to change settings, import videos, etc.

AKASO EK7000 4K

Action cameras don’t have to be expensive if you are on a budget. There are plenty of products for all price ranges, and cheap doesn’t necessarily mean bad quality. The AKASO EK7000 4K is one of the best cheap action cameras available. While it most definitely doesn’t have as good video quality as the more expensive cameras here, it’s still good enough for everyday videos. You don’t always need the very best quality.

AKASO EK7000 4K

The AKASO EK7000 4K weighs x and has a dimension of x. As far as the design goes, the camera is made out of medium quality plastic and looks similar to any other rectangular action camera. Really nothing special about it, which isn’t surprising considering the price. It just works and we like that. The camera does also have a LCD screen on the back for changing settings and watching videos. It’s not a touchscreen though so you’ll need to use the buttons on the side to navigate.

  • Dimensions: 60×41×30mm / 2.3×1.6×1.1″
  • Weight: 74g / 2.6oz
  • Field of View: 170°
  • Video resolutions: 4K 25fps; 2.7K 30fps; 1080p 60/30fps; 720p 120/60/30fps
  • Bitrate: 60Mbps
  • Photo: 12MP
  • Modes: Single Shot, Burst, Time-Lapse
  • Features: WiFi, 2″ LCD screen, Remote Control
  • Ports: MiniUSB, MicroHDMI, MicroSD card slot
  • Memory: MicroSD with Class 10 and SDXC cards, up to 64GB
  • Battery life: 80 minutes of 1080p at 60fps

The most impressive part about the AKASO EK7000 4K action camera are the accessories that are included in the price. They actually include so many mounts and brackets it’s insane. No other action camera comes with that many, unless you pay for extra. Those include a WiFi remote control, 2x 1050mAh battery, waterproof housing up to 30m / 98ft, protective backdoor, bicycle stand, 7 mounts, 2 clips, 5 tethers and a helmet mount.

The camera can record 4K videos at a resolution up to 25fps. However pay in mind that the 4K resolution is actually interpolated from a 2.7K resolution. What that means is that the camera is actually recording the video in 2.7K resolution, then scales the video to 4K and fills in the missing pixels with software. Most cheaper action cameras do this despite advertising 4K. So as long as Full HD 1080p is enough for you, the AKASO EK7000 4K is perfect. If you want to record in actual 4K though then you need to look at something more expensive. But the 1080p video quality is still very good for the price of the camera. Definitely not a let down.

The AKASO EK7000 4K is the best budget action camera. It’s especially good to use at places where you might be scared of damaging your camera. Many people have also been using them on drones. At least you don’t have to worry about losing too much money if you should end up crashing. That’s why we also find it to be the best action camera for drones.

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