MGCOOL (previously known as Elephone ELECam) is releasing a bunch of new action cameras. One of them is the low priced MGCOOL Explorer, their entry level model. The EKEN H9 is quite famous in that price range, so I wanted to take a closer look. Let’s start with a comparison:


 EKEN H9/H9RMGCOOL ExplorerMGCOOL Explorer 1S
eken-h9-symbolMGCOOL ExplorerMGCOOL Explorer 1S
Sensor4 MP
Omnivision OV4689
8 MP
Sony IMX 179
12 MP
Sony IMX 078
ProcessorSunplus 6350Allwinner V3NT96660
4K Resolution25 fps (interpolated)15 fps (interpolated)24 fps (interpolated)
2K Resolution30 fps30 fps30 fps
HD 1080pmax. 60fpsmax. 60fpsmax. 60fps
HD 720pmax. 120fpsmax. 120fpsmax. 120fps
Display2" TFT (320*240)2" TFT (320*240)2" TFT (320*240)
Image Stabilizationnonono
Remoteonly H9Rnono
PortsmicroUSB, micro HDMImicroUSB, micro HDMImicroUSB, micro HDMI
A/V out via USBnonono
Mic in via USBnonono
Dimension59 x 41x 24mm59 x 41 x 29mm59 x 41x 29mm
Mounts & Caseincludedincludedincluded
Price39.99 USD36.99 USD57.99 USD


MGCOOL Explorer is the same price as EKEN H9, but has some interesting features. Explorer offers a 8 MP Sony sensor, compared to the 4 MP Omnivision used in H9. The frame rate in 4K is just 15fps, compared to 25 fps on EKEN, but it’s interpolated anyway.
Let’s take a look at the specs in detail:


MGCOOL Explorer

I also included the specs for MGCOOL Explorer 1S which has a different sensor & processor compared to Explorer.

MGCOOL Explorer features a 8 MP Sony IMX179 sensor, a 1/3.2″ CMOS backside-illuminated image sensor. This sensor is not widespread among action cameras but is found in several smartphones such as OnePlus 3, several Huawei and Lg models.

MGCOOL Explorer 1S features a better 12  MP Sony IMX078 sensor, also used in EKEN H8.

Explorer holds an Allwinner V3 SOC processor, found in some other action cameras like V3 sports camera.

Explorer 1S features a Novatek NT96660 sensor, same one used in many action cams such as Git2 or SJCAM SJ5000x.

Video Resolution & Frame Rate:

  • 4K  – (3840 x 2160) – 15 fps (interpolated)
  • 2K – (2560 x 1440) – 30 fps
  • 1080p – (1920 x 1080) – 60 / 30 fps
  • 720p – (1280 x 720) – 120 / 60 / 30 fps

4K resolutions is just available in 15fps, which is too low for a smooth video. Anyway it’s interpolated (upscaled from a lower resolution), real 4K cameras are at least double the price.

Explorer 1S has a better framerate in 4K resolution, 24fps, but is still interpolated.

Video Format:
.mp4 format, .h264 codec.

Max. photo resolution is 16 MP, which is upscaled from the 8 MP sensor. File format is .jpg.

MGCOOL Explorer features a 2″  TFT Screen with 320 x 240 pixel resolution. That’s about the same as comparable action cameras.

MGCOOL Explorer holds a 2" TFT screen

MGCOOL Explorer holds a 2″ TFT screen


The battery got a capacity of 1050mAh which lasts for 80 min. video recording in 1080p.

microSD card support for cards up to 64GB; Class 10 is recommended.

Connectivity & Ports:
You can connect Explorer camera to MGCOOL App (available for iOS and Android).

MGCOOL Explorer App

MGCOOL Explorer App

On the side of the camera you’ll find microUSB & microHDMI port
as well as microSD card slot.
Currently I’m not sure if A/V out via USB is possible,
Mic-in via USB is not available due to the microUSB port.

MGCOOL Explorer - available in black & silver

MGCOOL Explorer – available in black & silver


MGCOOL Explorer is available in black and silver.

Dimensions & Weight:
Weight: 55g camera;
Dimensions: 59 x 41 x 29mm.

Explorer Packaging includes a 30m waterproof case, camera bracket, clip, Bicycle mount, 2 adhesive mounts, adaptor and manual.

Price Comparison / Retailer:

MGCOOL Explorer

MGCOOL Explorer 1S



MGCOOL Explorer is an interesting camera in the low price segment. A price range where EKEN H9 is very popular. For a few extra bucks you get a 8 MP Sony sensor instead of the 4 MP Omnivision sensor used in EKEN H9. There are some issues with EKEN H9 in terms of firmware upgrades and app connectivity. If MGCOOL Explorer runs more stable it could be a better choice. I hope I can test it soon to give you a hands on review and comparison.


Demo Video

Here’s my review of MGCOOL Explorer and a comparison with the similar priced EKEN H9


Join the discussion in the MGCOOL Facebook Group

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