- Budget friendly
- Comes with over 30 accessories
- Lightweight and easy to use
- Front and back displays
- Compatible with many GoPro mounting system
- Feels very cheap
- Doesn’t technically record true 4K footage (it’s 1080p in actuality)
- Default video format is AVI, not MP4 or MOV
- Only waterproof when in housing unit
The quality isn’t great on the TomTop 4K Action Camera, but it does come with a ton of accessories and is highly affordable. We think it’s a suitable option for kids, teenagers, or anyone that’s working with a limited budget.
The TomTop 4k Action Camera is an affordable alternative to the GoPro. It has an MSRP of $70, but we’ve seen it as low as $35 on TomTop.com. To be honest, at $70, we don’t love it, but at $35 it’s a nice why-not action camera. It won’t serve as your go-to camera, but it makes for a decent backup or nice solution for kiddos.
As you can see in the image above, it looks just like the GoPro HERO6, for example. It has a fish eye lens, front display, back display, and a matte grey patina. We like the look of the camera—it’s familiar—and we think it will be easy to use right out of the box. In other words, there’s very little learning curve involved with this camera.
It features a 2” LCD touchscreen, which is somewhat rare to see on affordable action cameras. The display isn’t great, though. It’s not bright and it scratches easily. That said, the screen actually feels oddly durable. Yes, it might pickup scratches quickly and with little effort, but it feels like a display that can take a beating from a 10-year-old.
If you rotate the camera around, you’ll notice a few buttons. It has up/down buttons on the side and select/record and mode buttons on top. Pretty standard layout that makes the camera easy to use. You can see the top buttons in this image:
Because this action camera mimics a GoPro design, it adapts well with most GoPro accessories, like the suction mount and head mount. It comes with plenty of its own accessories, as well. And by plenty, we mean:
- Extra battery
- Waterproof case
- USB charge cable
- Wi-Fi remote control
- Fastening tapes
- Bicycle stand
- Camera back clip
- Rubber pads
- Helmet bases
- Wire rope
- Mounting adapters
- Cleaning cloth
The camera also supports up to 32G of storage via a MicroSD card, though, it does not come with a MicroSD card. Interestingly enough, the side panel doesn’t even have a cover, so the ports and MicroSD card are exposed at all times, unless you have the camera inside the waterproof case.
There are pro’s and con’s to this design. First, you will pick up better audio when the camera is outside of the housing unit. On the downside, it makes the camera bigger and sometimes the case can distort your pictures and video if it gets foggy inside the case. It’s not a big deal since GoPro used this exact same design for years, but we do wish that the camera was waterproof without the housing unit.
One thing that’s nice with the housing unit is that the lens cover is removable. If you look closely, you can see four little screws that allow you to swap out the lens cover if it gets scratched.
The waterproof case allows the camera to record down to 98.4 feet (30 meters). But really make sure that case is on tight, because, again, the camera doesn’t have a cover over its charging ports or SD slots, leaving them wide open for dirt etc. to get stuck. Considering we’d pretty much only recommend this camera for kids and teens, we also recommend you keep the case on.
Moving on from the case for a second, it is really nice that the camera has the front-facing display. This comes in handy big time if you’re doing selfie style videos. You can see certain settings and the duration of your video.
By default, the camera records AVI files rather than MP4, which is a little frustrating. AVI is still a common file type, but we wish it was different since some editing platforms don’t accept AVI files. For example, it isn’t compatible with Adobe Cloud (the most popular editing software), so you’ll need to convert the files if you want to do any editing.
As far as recording modes go, it can record in 4K at 30fps (comments below) or at 1080p at 30fps, as well as 720p and 480p.
The video above is 1080p30. The footage is clear, but you can tell that the actual sensor and lens are nowhere near as good as those from GoPro. That’s to be expected given the price. We think the footage is fine for some users, but you’re not going to enter your videos into any festivals.
I do want to dissect the 4K footage a bit. Interestingly, the camera records 4K (interpolation), which means it’s not really recording at 4K—it’s stretching a smaller video to fit the 4K dimensions. In other words, this camera records at 1080p only, and the 4K feature basically means that it’s stretching the 1080p recording. To us, this is disappointing since the camera is marketed as a 4K action camera, even in the title.
Unfortunately, there is no slow motion or video timelapse feature either, but it can take photo timelapses, which you can see below. The video, again, is clear, although, the colors are way off. You can see distortions around the edges, but for the most part it worked just fine.
When you dig into the settings a bit, you’ll notice something interesting and helpful. The camera has four white balance settings to choose from: auto, sunny, cloudy, and fluorescent light. We didn’t expect the camera to have this, but it’s sure nice to have.
As far as the angle at which it records, that is 170° which is why you see the rounding in the corners. There is no linear feature just yet.
The camera also takes up to 10MP photos. You can see the full list of photos sizes on TomTop.com.
To be frank, this camera is cheap—both in quality and price. As long as you know what you’re getting, you should be just fine with it. We think that this would be an ok action camera for a kid or a teenager, or someone who is just getting into the action camera game and wants something cheap to experiment with before moving on to better equipment—or maybe you just want all the accessories, and that’s cool too.
Is it our favorite camera? No. Is it worth the money? At $35, probably yes, but we wouldn’t get all hot and bothered over it if the price was $70. It’s really nice that the camera records at 1080p, has a front and back display, is easy to use, and comes with a boatload of accessories, but it’s not a legitimate replacement for a GoPro.