I got ThiEYE T5 as it is one of the the cheapest native (real) 4K Action Camera available. It is similar to Andoer C5 and EKEN H8 Plus holding a 12MP Sony Sensor (IMX117), same sensor also used in GoPro Hero4 black & silver. It features electronic image stabilization & holds a 2″ live view display. I wanted to find out the difference compared to YI 4K Action Camera and GoPro Hero5 black, which show a higher price tag.

In this article I want to show you:

  • Camera Specifications
  • Body, Buttons & Ports
  • Functions & Settings
  • Smartphone App
  • Conclusion (My 2-cents)
  • Demo Videos & Photos
ThiEYE T5e

ThiEYE T5

 

ThiEYE T5 Specs

Image Sensor: 
ThiEYE uses the  12 MP Sony Sensor (IMX117), found in many action cameras, including GoPro Hero 4 black.

Chipset:
is an Ambarella A12,  used  in the latest native 4K action cameras, such as SJCAM SJ7 Star or Eken H8 Pro.

Frame Rates:

  • 4K – 30 fps
  • 2,7K – 30 fps
  • 2,5K – 60 / 30 fps
  • 1080p – 120 / 60 / 30 fps
  • 720p – 200 / 120 / 60 / 30 fps

This is just an overview, you can find all available resolutions and modes in the settings section of this article.
You can also with to PAL for 25fps (and a multiple of that).

Recording Format:
h.264 / audio: PCM 48KHZ 16bit

Photo Resolution:
is available up to 16MP, which is upscaled as 12 MP is the sensor size.

Lens:
170 Degree Wide-angle Lens, f=3mm, f/2.5

Connectivity & Ports:
Wifi is built-in to connect with ThiEYE HD app (available for iOS / Android)
ThiEYE T5 also offers microHDMI port for HD video output,
as well as micro USB port to copy files and for charging.
A/V Output via USB is available!

Storage:
T5 supports microSD cards up to 128GB, class 10 (U1) is recommended. I would recommend U3 for 4k recordings.

Display:
On the backside of ThiEYE T5 you will find a large 2″ live-view LCD display for framing and playback.

Battery:
Two removable 1100 mAh Li-ion batteries are included. The size and shape is different to other action cameras, seems ThiEYE got their own type of battery.

Dimensions:
Size: 57 x 39 x 27 mm / 2.2 x 1.5 x 1.1 in
Weight: 58g / 2.1oz

Accessories:

ThiEYE T5 - Included Accessories

ThiEYE T5 – Included Accessories

Compared to Andoer C5 and EKEN H8 Plus, ThiEYE T5 doesn’t come with many accessories, but 2 batteries are included! The few accessories seem to have a higher quality tough. Another positive attribute, the quick connecter mount is 360° rotate-able.

Retailers / Best Price:

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

 

Body, Buttons & Ports

ThiEYE T5 - Front & Back

ThiEYE T5 – Front & Back

On the front side of the camera you will find the Power/Mode button, on top the Shutter / Select button. It’s a bit misleading that the symbol of the button is showing a wifi icon. The shutter button is illuminated when powered on. On one side you will find the ports (microSD card slot, microHDMI & micro USB port), on the other side are up and down buttons which are used to navigate the menu.

When in video mode and you press the up button, the microphone is muted (mic symbol is orange). The camera also beeps when you press the down button, but it doesn’t seem to have a function. Interestingly you can also mute the mic for photos, would be nice to have another option instead.

I think the LEDs are totally confusing. Above the lower LED on the front side there are icons for photo/video, but the light doesn’t change in the different modes. Even tough the upper LED says “wifi” the lower LED flashes when wifi is turned on. (The upper LED flashes a bit but only because it is not lit).
Additionally there are status LEDs around the shutter button, backside and bottom. All LEDs flash when the camera is recording. You can turn them off in the settings.

 

ThiEYE T5 - Batteries

ThiEYE T5 – Batteries – 1/4″ tripod mount

Very beneficial that ThiEYE T5 comes with two 1100 mAh batteries. Currently I’m not sure which type of battery it is, it is not similar in size to other action cameras. Another great feature, I personally like a lot, is the built in 1/4″ standard tripod thread at the bottom. So you can mount the camera on any photo/video equipment without needing a case or frame.

 

Functions & Settings

ThiEYE T5 - Video Mode - Photo Mode

ThiEYE T5 – Video Mode – Photo Mode

ThiEYE T5 powers up in video mode and you can cycle the modes the using the modes: Video – Photo – Video Library – Photo Library – Settings; using the mode button on the front.

Video mode is indicated with the camera icon on the top left of the screen. Additionally the selected resolution, aspect ratio, frame rate and video quality are display. On the top right you will find a microphone icon indication if audio is recorded. When turned off it switches from white to orange. Next to it you will find the battery status. On the bottom date & time are displayed as well as free storage on your micro SD card. The orange micro SD card symbol indicates that no card is inserted. The last menu option is settings with the following items available:

 

ThiEYE T5 - Settings (1/3)

ThiEYE T5 – Settings (1/3)

 

Video Resolution:

  • 4K (3840×2160) – 16:9 – 30/25 fps
  • 4K (3840×2160 – 16:9 – 25 fps – Super View
  • 2160p (2880×2160) – 4:3 – 30/25 fps
  • 2.7K (2704×2028) – 4:3 – 30/25 fps
  • 2.7K (2704×1520) – 16:9 – 30/25 fps
  • 2.7K (2704×1520) – 16:9 – 30/25 fps Super View
  • 2.5K (2560×1440) – 16:9 – 60/50/30/25 fps
  • 1440p (1920×1440) – 4:3 – 60/50/30/25 fps
  • 1080p (1920×1080) – 16:9 – 120/100/60/50/30/25 fps
  • 1080p (1920×1080) – 16:9 – 60/50/30/25 fps – Super View
  • 960p (1280×1080) – 4:3 – 120/100/60/50/30/25 fps
  • 720p (1280×720) – 16:9 – 240/200/120/100/60/50/30/25 fps
  • 720p (1280×720) – 16:9 – 120/100/30/25 fps – Super View

You can switch PAL / NTCS at the menu option “TV mode”. 24p is not available.

Bit rate is about 76 Mb/s in 4K with 30fps and 35 Mb/s in 1080p with 60fps .

Photo Size

  • 16MP – 4608×3456 – 4:3
  • 14MP – 4254×3264 – 4:3
  • 12MP – 4000×3000 – 4:3
  • 8.3MP – 3840×2160 – 16:9
  • 5MP – 2560×1920 – 4:3
  • 3M – 2048×1536 – 4:3

As 12 MP is the sensor size, larger resolutions (16 & 14 MP) are upscaled / interpolated.

Video Quality:
can be set to S.Fine (Super Fine), Fine & Normal and it changes the bit rate. Whereas S.Fine reflects 76 Mb/s in 4K, Fine equals 66 Mb/s and Normal 46 MB/s.

Photo Quality:
similar to video quality S.Fine, Fine & Normal are available.

Default Mode:
You can choose if the camera powers up in video mode (“Record Mode”) or Photo Mode.

Quick Capture:
When turned on the camera automatically starts recording when powered up.

EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization):
This feature only works up to 1080p resolution and max. 60 fps. That is similar to other action cameras as more sensor space is required to stabilize the image which is not possible in 4K. Sony FDR-X3000 is the only one to offer image stabilization in 4K, which is furthermore an optical stabilization.

Motion Detection:
Off / Low / Medium / High – your camera will start recording when motion is detected. You have to stop recording manually.

Dual File:
ON / OFF – besides my selected 4K resolution, the camera also records a small 768×432 video.

Video Stamp:
You can select Date, Time and Date & Time to be displayed in the video or turned off.

Photo Stamp:
Same selections as in video stamp are available. Nice that you can choose individually for photo and video.

Timelapse Video:
You can set the interval to: 1s/2s/5s/10s/30s/60s and a video file is automatically created.

Loop Recording:
OFF / 1 Min. / 2 Min. / 3 Min. / 5 Min. – that is the length of one clip. In loop recording the oldest file will be overwritten once your SD card is full. This mode is meant to be for dash cam mode, when you want to use your camera as DVR.

Self-timer:
OFF / 2s / 3s / 5s / 10s / 30s / 60s are the available selections.

Burst Photo:
3 / 5 / 10 pictures are taken within one second on triggering.

ThiEYE T5 - Settings (2/3)

ThiEYE T5 – Settings (2/3)

 

Timelapse Photo:
Similar do time-lapse video you can set the interval to: 3s/5s/10s/30s/60s and this time the individual photos are saved.

Auto DVR:
This mode has to be switched on when you want to use your camera as a dash camera. When ThiEYE T5 is connected to a power source it powers up automatically and starts recording. Once the power is put, the cam stops recording and powers off. (When activated a small car icon is displayed)

Delay Off:
I don’t know what it is, it is always grayed out.

TV Mode:
As mentioned earlier here you can select between NTCS and PAL.

Light Frequency:
You can select 50 Hz, 60 Hz or auto. As different power frequency is used in America and Europe choosing the wrong selection may cause flickering of artificial light.

OSD (On Screen Display):
You can choose if you want camera information displayed on the screen or just the live view image.

Auto Shutdown:
Off / 3m / 5m / 10m – based on the selection the camera will power down when in standby.

Screen Off:
Off / 30s / 1m / 3m / 5m  – for power saving you can select a time after which the screen turns off.

Status LED:
This is a bit confusing as the lights in general. You got the option off, to switch all off. Option 1 is just the light on the backside, 2 adds the LED around the shutter, 3 the front side and 4 adds the LED on the bottom.

Wifi LED:
As mentioned earlier the wifi LED on the front is always shining a bit due to the light below and never lit. You can turn it on / off with this selection but it doesn’t change anything.

TV Out:
You can select on / off – currently I’m not sure if it relates to HDMI and/or A/V out via USB.

Beep:
Here you can switch on / off the beep sound when pressing the buttons.

Microphone Volume:
Basically it is a nice idea to manually control the audio. You can select from 50% up to 100% or off. Since you don’t have a visual audio level display it is hard to make a selection. At least when it is very loud you can switch down to 50%.

Sharpness:
You can select Strong / Normal or Soft.

AWB (White Balance):
Auto / Incandescent / D4000 / D5000 / Daylight / Cloudy / D9000 / D10000 / Flash / Fluorescent / Water / Outdoor – That are way more pre-settings than most other cameras offer and give you the ability to really fine tune the image without too much color correction in post production. Great that there is a “Water Mode”, I have not tested it so far, but I guess it will simulate a red filter. If the selections are not clear for you, leave it in auto mode.

 

ThiEYE T5 - Settings (3/3)

ThiEYE T5 – Settings (3/3)

 

EV Value (Exposure Correction):
You also have the option to manually correct exposure: +- 2EV (0.33 EV steps).

Scene Mode:
Normal / Flash / Night / Sports / Landscape / Portrait / Sunset – not quite sure about the result of these settings, maybe a combination of a preset mix of ISO / white balance / shutter or a special filter – I have to do some more tests.

Effect Mode:
You have the choice of the following filters: Normal / Art / Sepia / Negative / B&W/ VIVID / 70 Film

ISO:
Nice to have manual ISO control, especially in combination with long time exposure. You can choose: Auto / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600.

Metering:
You can choose Center / Multi / Spot, where exposure is measured.

Time Setup:
Here you can set time & date. I noticed that after connecting camera and my smartphone the time & date was automatically set on the camera according to my phone.

Date Format:
You can choose how the date should be displayed. That’s important if you use it for date stamp.

Language:
Available Languages are: English, Chinese, Russian, German, Italian, French, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Polish, Indonesian, Dutch and Swedish.

Bluetooth Pair:
You can pair the camera with a bluetooth device. YI controller works with ThiEYE T5!

Wifi:
Here you can switch wifi on & off.

WiFi SSID:
you can select wifi name…

WiFi password:
… as well as wifi password. Standard password is 1234567890.

Format:
Here you can format the inserted microSD card.

Default Setting:
Here you can go back to factory settings. ATTENTION! the selection is 0 or x. x is accepting an the camera will go back to factory settings!

Firmware Version
That’s you current firmware version – 1.1 was the one installed when I got the camera.

 

Smartphone App

The app is called ThiEYE HD, carefully there is another ThiEYE app, you need the HD version!

How to connect?

Turn on wifi on the camera in the menu. Look for the camera’s wifi with your smartphone. You can change the name in the menu (WiFi SSID) standard name is ThiEYE_cam_ followed by a number code. The standard password is 1234567890, but can be changed in the menu as well.

ThiEYE T5 App

ThiEYE T5 App

 

On the start screen you can see a live image of the camera. On top the selected video or photo mode is highlighted. Below the live image you can find the button to go to the library and a shutter below. On the bottom you got 3 buttons: Settings – Video Modes – Photo Modes.

The settings don’t offer many options: You can change resolution and loop recording for video modes. For photo mode you can change size, set a self timer, turn on burst or stamp. Within the camera settings you can edit wifi name & password check the available storage space on the SD card or format it.

 

Versions: ThiEYE T5e vs T5

When you look carefully there are two version available: ThiEYE T5 and ThiEYE T5e. The only difference is that packaging of the camera. The pic on the let (the camera I got) is the ThiEYE T5e packaging which is meant for shipping. The packaging of ThiEYE T5 is meant for shops where the camera is on display. The specs are the same!

ThiEYE T5e vs ThiEYE T5 - Packaging

ThiEYE T5e vs ThiEYE T5 – Packaging

 

Competition

Compared to other native 4K action cameras ThiEYE T5 seems to be a bargain. You can compare all specs in my article “Best 4K Action Camera“, here’s a direct comparison to the competitors. Let’s start with the higher priced cameras GoPro Hero5, YI 4K and SJ7 Star.

GoPro Hero5 black: Hero5 is packed with a lot of features T5 doesn’t have: Waterproof without case, Touch Screen, Voice Control, GPS recording, App with more features, better sensor and chip… On the other hand T5 is almost a quarter of GoPro’s price and remember the sensor is the same as in Hero4 black!

YI 4K Action Camera: Yi is almost double the price but also got more to offer. A larger touch screen, better sensor & chip, more app features,… but again T5 is almost half the price.

SJCAM SJ7: The price is closer to T5 but there’s still a gap. But this time the sensor and chip are the same. So the major difference is the touch screen with SJ7 Star.

Compared to the cameras above ThiEYE offers less features at a way lower price, so you have to decide if you need them and are willing to pay the extra price. The direct competitors at a similar price level are Andoer C5 and EKEN H8 Plus. They share the same sensor and same chip, therefore the smaller details are important.

Andoer C5: This camera comes with more accessories included. It doesn’t have Bluetooth or the option for a remote controller. On the plus side it uses the same batteries as SJCAM SJ4000 & 5000 series, which are easier to get. The App offers way more settings to select from than ThiEYE app. Compared to Andoer C5 the ThiEYE T5 offers a slightly higher bit rate.

EKEN H8 Plus: This model comes with a lot of accessories and a remote control included. The app offers a similar set of features, but it is not directly from the manufacturer as the ThiEYE app.

 

Conclusion

 

For the price and the offered specs ThiEYE T5 is a real 4K camera bargain. If you don’t need 4K resolution consider that it offers 120fps at 1080p. The sensor is the same as in Hero4 black. T5 doesn’t have some fancy features introduced with the latest generation of action cameras (such as touch display, Voice Control,…) but a way lower price tag. So if you don’t need them, you can get a great quality cam for a very low price.

Compared to similar priced cameras ThiEYE doesn’t come with accessories, but the few ones seem to have a high quality and a second battery is included.

 

Retailers / Best Price:

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