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/H9R||MGCOOL Explorer||MGCOOL Explorer 1S|
|Sensor||4 MP |
Sony IMX 179
Sony IMX 078
|Processor||Sunplus 6350||Allwinner V3||NT96660|
|4K Resolution||25 fps (interpolated)||15 fps (interpolated)||24 fps (interpolated)|
|2K Resolution||30 fps||30 fps||30 fps|
|HD 1080p||max. 60fps||max. 60fps||max. 60fps|
|HD 720p||max. 120fps||max. 120fps||max. 120fps|
|Display||2" TFT (320*240)||2" TFT (320*240)||2" TFT (320*240)|
|Ports||microUSB, micro HDMI||microUSB, micro HDMI||microUSB, micro HDMI|
|A/V out via USB||no||no||no|
|Mic in via USB||no||no||no|
|Dimension||59 x 41x 24mm||59 x 41 x 29mm||59 x 41x 29mm|
|Mounts & Case||included||included||included|
|Price||39.99 USD||36.99 USD||57.99 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:
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.
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.
.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.
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).
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 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 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.
Here’s my review of MGCOOL Explorer and a comparison with the similar priced EKEN H9
Join the discussion in the MGCOOL Facebook Group