ThiEYE i60e 4K action cam review: Cheap & cheerful but quality isn't great
In the market for an action camera, but don’t want to spend hundreds? The ThiEYE i60e 4K action camera is one of the cheapest we’ve seen on the market with a decent design and a number of shooting modes, but is it worth the money? We’ve spent some time using the ThiEYE i60e 4K action camera, and here’s what we thought. Also see: Best GoPro - which GoPro should I buy?
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ThiEYE i60e 4K ACTION CAMERA REVIEW: Pricing and availability
The ThiEYE i60e 4K action camera is impressively cheap when compared to the competition, making it a great option for those worried that they may not get enough use out of an action cam to spend hundreds on one. Take the GoPro Hero4 Silver for example – costing £329 in the UK, it’s a whopping £284 more expensive than the £44.99 ThiEYE i60e, yet both cameras boast 4K capabilities. Of course, the huge price gap means that the features of the two cameras vary greatly – but that’s something we’ll get into in more detail below.
Those interested in picking up the ThiEYE i60e 4K action camera can do so from Amazon UK, where it’ll set you back £44.99 plus postage and packaging. It’s worth noting that you’ll also get a flat adhesive mount, allowing you to easily attach the camera to a flat surface.
ThiEYE i60e 4K ACTION CAMERA REVIEW: DESIGN AND BUILD
The ThiEYE i60e looks like a standard action camera – black, small in build measuring in at 59x41x25mm with a wide-angle lens on the front, a 2in display on the rear and a smattering of buttons to operate it. There’s a slot on the side of the camera for a memory card, along with a micro-USB port for charging and transferring files, and finally a mini-HDMI port to show off your action videos on the big screen.
It’s coated with textured black rubber for extra grip when not in the waterproof case (also supplied), and certainly doesn’t feel or look very cheap. The IP68 rated waterproof case allows you to take the camera up to 60ft underwater, perfect for underwater exploration as well as protection against rain in extreme conditions, although it adds extra bulk to the camera (65g, compared to 140g).
ThiEYE i60e 4K ACTION CAMERA REVIEW: FEATURES AND PICTURE QUALITY
So, what’s the ThiEYE i60e 4K action camera like to use? First off, it’s worth mentioning that unlike the GoPro Hero4 Silver, the i60e isn’t touchscreen-enabled – one of the drawbacks of a cheap action camera. It’s operated by the various buttons on the camera and despite reading the instructions, it was fairly confusing to navigate at first, although we got used to it after a bit of experimentation.
One plus for the i60e is that it has an accompanying iOS and Android app, providing you with a live feed of the camera along with controls and a way to browse recorded media via Wi-Fi. The app is a surprising benefit, but it very well developed – we’ve run into errors when using the app, from general connectivity issues to issues accessing media. It’s handy for starting and stopping recordings, but we’d opt for the good ol’ fashioned way of accessing the media – via a microUSB cable and a PC or Mac.
It’s probably worth mentioning storage, too. The i60e doesn’t come with any built-in storage, but features a microSD card slot that’ll work with any storage size up to 128GB. It’s worth investing in a high-capacity microSD card if you plan on frequently recording in 4K, as the file sizes are much higher than standard 1080p.
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Let’s talk about the most important element of the camera – the recording modes. The ThiEYE i60e features several shooting modes, including [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected], along with being able to take 12Mp 3:2 photos. The featured lens is a 170-degree wide-angle lens with an aperture of f2.2, and provides generally clear video when well lit. Despite the relatively large aperture, the quality of both videos and photos decreases as light levels drop regardless of the video format. There’s also slight distortion around the edges of recorded video clips, although we’d argue that it isn’t prominent enough to ruin them.
Although the camera boasts 4K capabilities, we weren’t blown away by the quality of the video when viewed on a 4K TV. In fact, we’re suspicious that the camera doesn’t actually record in 4K – we think that it’s up-scaled from a lower resolution and as such, doesn’t take in four times the amount of detail as it’s supposed to. Don’t get us wrong, it wasn’t horrendous but it wasn’t up to the standards of GoPro Hero action cameras, or even the cheaper options on the market. As said above, it’s a decent starter action camera and you can’t expect amazing results at such a cheap price.
Besides, if you can tear yourself away from 4K, we’ve found the [email protected] option to provide clearer video and should be more than enough for the vast majority of users. You can see a comparison between the two frame rates in the screenshot above, and take a look at the sample at the top of the page to see what it’s like in 1080p.
The i60e also boasts the ability to take time-lapse videos, slow-mo videos (using the [email protected] format) and, most impressively, the ability to double up as a dashcam. Simply set it up on the camera, hook it up to your car and whenever it detects power it’ll start recording, only stopping once the power is turned off (when getting out of a car).
ThiEYE i60e 4K action camera: Specs
The ThiEYE i60e 4K action camera is a great action camera for those that want to dip their toe into the action camera pool without spending hundreds on a GoPro, and the included mount and waterproof case sweeten the deal. The 4K video quality wasn’t the greatest we’ve seen, but the [email protected] option produced slightly clearer results and should suffice for most. The extra features, like time lapse, the ability to double up as a dashcam and accompanying iOS and Android apps make the £44.99 ThiEYE i60e an absolute bargain.