The best 4K Action Camera 2017?

GoPro HERO5 black vs YI 4K Action Camera vs SJCAM SJ7 Star

Which is the best 4K Action Camera 2016? GoPro HERO5 black vs YI 4K Action Camera vs SJCAM SJ7 Star. All of them feature native 4K video recording with max. 30fps & a 2″ touch display. Hence the details are crucial:

* I’m not sure which sensor is used in GoPro HERO5 black, I assumed it is the same as in YI 4K – Sony IMX377. This teardown from hypoxic states it is the same IMX117 used in Hero4 black. I also heard that different sensors being used.

** I currently don’t know if A/V out via USB-C is possible/available for YI 4K+ or GoPro Hero5 black.

*** I assume RAW photo and voice control being upgraded via firmware on YI 4K Action Camera.


GoPro Hero 5 black


YI 4K Action Camera





SJ7 Star is not out yet, so I only tested GoPro Hero5 and YI 4K Action Camera. During a 3 weeks trip to Iceland I tested them daily in various situations.

Image Quality:
I can’t decide which one is better. Sometimes I prefer the GoPro HERO5 image, sometimes the YI 4K footage. Depends on the light situation which one is the best suited. HERO5 is a bit sharper, whereas YI 4K is a bit softer and warmer. That’s of course with auto settings, not Protune or YI Flat and edited afterwards.

GoPro HERO5 black:
Audio is outstanding! Better than on any other action camera I had before. GoPro Hero5 black has 3 mics and chooses the best audio stream and filters wind noise very good. That’s the cam to go for when audio is important to you.
Waterproof without case is such a great feature I wouldn’t have expected it to be such an important factor. Currently I’m traveling and it is raining a lot. You don’t have to care if you should take a housing or not, just take the camera and you are ready to go. While you still can access all settings very easily.

YI 4K Action Camera:
Battery life 
is really awesome on YI 4K. I am constantly down to 1% on Hero5 black, when YI 4K is still way over 15% (when the indicator light turns red). Even tough the Hero5 battery is brand new and I loaded my YI 4K battery several times. I turned off all features on Hero5 (voice control, GPS, wifi, Bluetooth,…) still it runs out first every time.
Display if waterproofing is not needed I prefer the YI 4K screen & menu. Not only it is larger, the response is also better and I prefer the menu structure.

GoPro Hero5 overall offers more features hence YI 4K is half the price.

Read more: GoPro Hero5 vs YI 4K – hands on reviewmy thoughts after testing both cams for 3 weeks in Iceland


Upcoming Cameras



Interesting cameras will be available soon. YI 4K+ Action Camera is the first action cam to offer 4K at 60fps. Compared to YI 4K some other details were improved as well. YI 4K+ holds a USB-C pro which enables external audio. The new Ambarella H2 processor offers image stabilization up to 4K resolution with 30fps.

MGCOOL (formally known as Elephone) is also coming up with their first native 4K action camera. A few details were announced so far. It will not only feature voice control, but also GPS recording.

Revl Arc is complete redesign of action cameras. Whereas you could use all others attached to a gimbal, Revl integrates it. A gimbal sits on the back which automatically levels the camera. Electronic image stabilization is on board as well. They also revolutionize video editing: not only GPS is recorded, also other telemetry data and Revl Arc even recognizes facial expressions. Later on the software automatically edits a highlight video based on the data.

YI 4K+ Action Camera

  • Banggood: n/a
  • Gearbest: n/a
  • Geekbuying: 339.99 USD – Coupon Code: PPIWJXKK (incl. Case)
  • Aliexpress: 389.99 USD
  • Aliexpress: 433.99 USD (official YI store)
  • Amazon:


Cheaper native 4K cameras

There are also 3 cheaper native 4K cameras I want to mention. Andoer C5 & EKEN H8 Pro, hence they lack some features compared to the 3 cameras mentioned above. They have an integrated 2″ touch screen, but without touch feature, and they don’t have image stabilization. Yet their price tag is way lower:


EKEN H8 Plus

Be aware there is an “EKEN H8 Pro” which has a lower spec sensor and no image stabilization! Learn more about the difference here.

Andoer C5

  • Camfere: 112.99 USD – coupon code: ANDOERC5
  • Banggood: n/a
  • Gearbest: n/a
  • Geekbuying: n/a
  • Aliexpress: n/a
  • Amazon: n/a

Be aware there is an “Andoer 4K” camera on Amazon, but 4K resolution is interpolated – only Andoer C5 has native 4K! Check if the camera can do 1080p with 120fps!



  • Camfere: n/a
  • Banggood: n/a
  • Gearbest:  109.99 USD – Coupon Code: thieyet5e
  • Geekbuying: 119.99 USD
  • Aliexpress: n/a
  • Amazon: n/a



In terms of processor and sensor these three cameras are the same and have a pretty much similar image quality. I guess it depends on other factors which cam to go for. EKEN H8 Plus is the only one which comes with a remote control, ThiEYE T5 is equipped with bluetooth and works with a remote controller (e.g. the one from YI). Andoer App and Thieye app have a lot of features and settings available for the camera, EKEN app only offers the basic functions. I depends if you want to control the camera with your phone or just want to copy photos and videos, which works on every app. Whereas Andoer C5 & EKEN H8 Plus come with a lot of accessories, Thieye has almost no accessories included. Thieye t5 only comes with a quick release mount, but it shows great quality and is 360° rotate-able and it also comes with 2 batteries! A/V out via USB is only available on Thieye t5 & Andoer C5, not on EKEN H8 Plus.


Other famous brands

Action Cameras are also available from other famous brand names including Nikon & Sony. Especially the latest Sony Action Camera is notable as it is the only one offering optical image stabilization which is also available in 4K resolution! They all have the same price tag as Hero5 black.

*Sony FDR-X3o00 only has a data display integrated in the camera. But their cool feature is, that the remote control holds the live view screen. It can be attached to the camera or mounted separately.

Nikon and Sony have pretty good lenses, as they can use their in-house brands Nikkor and Zeiss.

to be continued

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