The DAILY Original (Eken H3) 4K Dual Display Mini Ultra HD 1080P WiFi DV Waterproof Action Sports Camera was kindly provided to me by WHOWHO free of charge in exchange for a fair and unbiased review on Amazon.co.uk. No additional compensation was given in exchange for posting this article on my blog.
The DAILY Original (Eken H3) Action Camera is available in the UK from WHOWHO on Amazon.co.uk at a cost of £5999 with free P&P, a price which can only be assumed is a gross error. The DAILY Original (Eken H3) Action Camera is also available in a separate listing with an additional wrist strap mount that is Fulfilled by Amazon at a cost of £68.99 with free P&P. Be aware however that in this listing there is also a second camera showing at £55.99 which is not the same camera, it is a cheaper model with no status display on the front and a slightly inferior image sensor. (Prices correct at time of posting).
In the US the Eken H3 Action Camera is currently not available from WHOWHO on Amazon.com although this camera is an OEM available from other suppliers either under the H3 model or rebranded such as the URWise action camera for $79.99 + $5.59 P&P or the Kasio action camera for $57.50 + $4.49 P&P.
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PACKAGING & CONTENTS.
The DAILY original H3 (Eken H3) 4K dual display mini Ultra HD 1080P Wi-Fi DV waterproof action sports camera is supplied within a retail style cardboard packaging with a plastic window on the front showing off the camera inside and some specification information on the rear. Inside is a clear thin plastic insert tray which bears the camera and a large assortment of accessories which are mostly individually wrapped in clear resealable plastic bags.
(The descriptions are as noted within the instruction manual).
Waterproof case: This comes supplied with the camera installed and I will cover this more in depth later on.
Bicycle bracket (bike handlebar mount): This is a black plastic clamp mount that has a gap in the centre, two quick release bolts on the edges and a universal female GoPro style mount located on the top.
The gap for the handlebars can be set between 16mm and 22mm, and the jaws that clamp onto your handlebars are padded with a loose fitting piece of silicone padding (this silicone padding isn’t actually attached to the mount so take care not to lose it when removing the mount from your bike).
When the adaptor is mounted to your handlebars you will note that the GoPro mount on the top of the adaptor faces sideways (left to right) and not forwards. Rather than directly mounting your camera to the bike adapter you will need to first attach the supplied “Mount 5” or “Mount 6” which will then change the mount orientation to facing forwards or backwards.
This mount is also suitable for pretty much anything that is round measuring between 16mm and 22mm in diameter such as walking sticks, ski poles, wheelchair frames, mobility scooter handles and of course other frame parts on your bike.
Mount 1 (usually referred to as Pedestal base 1): This comes already attached to the waterproof case and it is a flush fitting clip attachment with a female universal GoPro mount. Both Mount 1 and Mount 2 accessories can be used in conjunction with the helmet mounts as well as numerous other compatible accessories such as chest or head mounts (that are not included).
Mount 2 (usually referred to as Pedestal base 2): This is similar to Mount 1 but the female GoPro mount is found further back and is also located slightly raised to offer a greater degree of articulation to the mounted camera (on the vertical plane).
Clip 1 and Clip 2: This description is actually a little misleading, this accessory includes two parts. Clip 1 is a small black plastic case/surround that holds the bare camera (without the waterproof case). At the top and bottom of the case there are 1/4″ brass mounting threads and on the rear is the retainer for the second part (Clip 2) which is a spring clip attachment for Clip 1.
Clip 1 without Clip 2 attached on the rear can be used in conjunction with other accessories (that are not included) such as a tripod or any other accessory or device with a 1/4″ screw mount. When Clip 2 is attached to Clip 1 it allows you to mount the camera on a belt, open edge pocket or indeed anything else up to approximately 9mm thick.
Mount 3 and Mount 7 (usually referred to as Fixed base & Communicator or Fixed base & Adaptor): The underside of the Mount 3 accessory is round and flat with a recessed 1/4″ brass thread and on the top there is a female universal GoPro mount (without a quick release bolt) which can be used as a basic tripod mount or used in conjunction with Mount 7 to create an adaptor with 360 degrees of horizontal articulation.
Mount 7 also has a round, flat base, but this time with a protruding 1/4″ thread on the underside and at the top there is a male universal GoPro mount. Also attached to the thread on the underside is a plastic locking dial that is used to provide a secure, flush fit to whatever the adaptor is attached to (screw Mount 7 on to Mount 3 clockwise and then turn the locking dial anticlockwise to tighten both components together, similar to how a flash is mounted to a DSLR).
Mount 4 (usually referred to as Switch support 1): This is a short straight (does not change the orientation of the camera when used) male to female universal go pro adapter with a quick release bolt. There’s no point in measuring this as its the shortest possible adaptor that can be made with no extension.
This can be used to make the camera stand slightly proud and offer an improved degree of articulation and it can be used with other components to make a right angle mount as well.
Mount 5 (usually referred to as Switch support 2): This is the same as Mount 4 except that the male and female connectors face opposite directions (a right angle adapter). Again, this has no additional length and is just an adaptor without extension, useful for altering the facing of the camera.
Mount 6 (usually referred to as Switch support 3): This is the same as Mount 5 except that it is slightly longer offering a slight extension (measuring 50mm long in comparison to the 35mm overall length of Mount 5).
Helmet mounts: There are two helmet mounts provided that are identical to one another, yet very different to those shown within the manual. The ones shown in the manual are small and rectangular similar to those found with every other action camera that I have reviewed yet the ones in the packaging are very large and round.
Measuring 57mm in diameter I do have to question if such a size mount is really suitable for securing to a cycle helmet. Also, unlike helmet mounts found with previous cameras that I have reviewed neither of the supplied helmet mounts have a 1/4″ mounting thread on, which is quite disappointing as they do make for the most versatile tripod mounts.
Both helmet mounts have strap mounting points on the edges, use clip attachments such as Mount 1 or Mount 2 to attach the camera and both have pre-attached 3M double sided sticky pads on the underside. To attach these mounts to your helmet ensure to use both the provided straps, sticky pads and also the use of a steel wire (provided) is also highly advised.
Also included, but not mentioned within the manual is two spare 3M branded sticky pads for the helmet mounts.
Bandages: The accessories listed within the manual as the “Bandages” are in fact 4 canvas straps. The first two straps are 21.4cm long, 1.15cm wide lengths of canvas with a 15.5cm long patch of “hook” Velcro on one end and a 5.2cm long patch of “loop” Velcro on the reverse at the opposite end.
The other two straps measure 36cm long and 2.5cm wide and are made from plain nylon canvas. On one end of each of these straps is a plastic overlock buckle and the other end is plain and without feature. These straps can be used individually or secured together to for a greater length and these are designed to be used in conjunction with the helmet base mounts to secure the camera to pretty much anything that you can find that will fit.
Tethers: These are actually four 19.8cm long 3mm wide, non reusable nylon cable ties and a single 16cm long, 1mm diameter high tensile steel wire with a 15mm x 4.5mm long loop on each end. These are intended to be used in conjunction with various mounts for sporting activities as a final failsafe, the zip ties are honestly of little use, but the wire tether is something you should always use when cycling/climbing etc.
USB Cable: This is a USB A to 5 pin micro B cable used for data transfer and charging the battery when installed in the camera. Sadly, unlike every other action camera that I have reviewed to date when this camera is connected to a PC or laptop, it only offers sync and charge functions and it does not offer a webcam function / mode.
Charger: The manual shows the package to contain an EU 2 pin USB mains adaptor and it does indeed contain a model XDSS-051000E EU wall charger. Sadly, I live in the UK where we use 3 pin plugs and sockets and even more unfortunate is that here in the UK there is a law that requires electrical devices supplied with a non UK plug to be supplied and pre-fitted with a suitable adaptor for use in the UK…. which this does not.
Granted, I am sure that there are few homes in the land without the means to charge a USB device, be it from a phone charger, laptop, games console or even a TV the fact of the matter is this charger is in breach of the “Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994”.
Manual: The manual is a small fold out 14 page illustrated manual entirely in English and surprisingly detailed, at least compared to manuals provided with every other action camera that I have reviewed.
Lens cloth: This is a fairly run of the mill 13.5cm x 13.5cm glasses cleaning cloth with a serrated edge.
Protective backdoor: This is a replacement back panel for the waterproof case complete with silicone seal. This is not only useful as a spare for when the seal fails on the pre-fitted door, but also of use for those wishing to use a floatation block (not supplied) with their waterproof case but do not wish it to be constantly attached to the case.
Overall the quality of the bundled accessories is similar in quality to the 10, 20, 50 in 1 GoPro accessory kits sold by any number of sellers on the web. Some of the quick release bolts don’t quite tighten up as well as they should and some of the male / female universal GoPro mounting sections are a little oversized or incorrectly spaced. They all work, but some are stiffer or looser than others.
Thus far all of the action cameras that I have reviewed have been sold by one company yet made by another, they have either been OEM’s or just simple rebrands. The true origins of a camera are easy to discover and by consequence, so are its true specifications. This can usually be found out by the details tab of an image taken with the camera (in Windows), from the camera Firmware or in the case of action cameras with a Wi-Fi function from the name used in the SSID.
With this particular camera the details tab indicates this to be a Denver ACT-8030W unfortunately if we check the Denver Electronics range of action cameras not only does this camera look nothing like the ACT-8030W it does not look like any of the cameras in the Denver range. Its true origins are discovered when connecting the camera to a PC via Wi-Fi with the camera showing up as a H3 action camera which is made by Eken and this is also confirmed by the Firmware.
LCD DISPLAY: 2″ TFT LCD (320×240) rear display and 0.95″ OLED colour front status screen.
CHIPSET: Sunplus SPCA6350.
LENS: 170 degrees, wide-angle fisheye lens.
IMAGE SENSOR: OV4689 (4MP native).
MAXIMUM APERTURE: F2.6
LANGUAGE OPTIONS: English (default), German, French, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Polish, Dutch, Hungarian.
VIDEO RESOLUTION: 4K @15FPS or 10FPS, 2.7K @24FPS or 15FPS, 1080p @60FPS or 30FPS. It should be noted this information is taken from the actual camera settings as the Amazon product listing incorrectly claims differently. (At the time of writing).
RECORDING FORMAT: Video is recorded in .MOV Quicktime format and pictures taken in .JPG format.
VIDEO MODES: Continuous and Loop.
COMPRESSION FORMAT: H.264
PHOTO RESOLUTION: 12MP (4608×2592), 8MP (3760×2120), 5MP (2976×1672), 4MP (2648×1504). Please remember that the camera only has a native 4MP sensor and interpolation is used to obtain a higher resolution.
STORAGE: Micro SDHC Class10 up to 32G (not included). My testing was conducted using a SanDisk 32GB Ultra card which records 1080p @60FPS smoothly.
PHOTO MODES: Single shot, burst shot and time delay with a continuous option.
ZOOM: Fixed Focus (no zoom).
FREQUENCY: Automatic / 50Hz / 60Hz.
WI-FI: 802.11 (B/G/N).
POWER SOURCE: USB, 5v, 1A.
BATTERY: 1050mAh 3.7v user replaceable Li-ion battery.
OPERATIONAL LIMITS: Waterproof to 30m when used within the supplied waterproof case. Sadly, there is no information regarding operational thermal limits either in the Amazon product listing, manual, packaging or on the manufacturer’s website.
BATTERY / CHARGERS & CHARGING.
The battery within the camera is a 3.7v Li-ion 1050mAh 3.885Wh battery bearing no make or model number. The dimensions of the battery are 29.5mm wide, 32.97mm long and 11.35mm deep/thick and doing a little research they appear to be AHDBT-301 clones which are readily available for around £6 each.
To test how much footage the camera can record in one session the battery was fully charged and then the camera was set to record using the following settings…
Resolution: 1080p @60FPS, Loop Video: Off, Time Stamp: Off, Exposure: 0/0, Power Frequency: Auto, Screen Saver: 1min.
Eventually, when the camera ran out of juice and switched itself off it had recorded exactly 1 hour, 12 minutes and 57 seconds of video. While this is greater than the claimed 50 minutes when recording at 1080p, 60FPS it is still notably less than other cameras I have previously reviewed with smaller batteries. One example for instance is the Campark 4K camera (actually a HDKing Q3H action camera) which only had a 900mAh battery yet manages to record just short of 2 hours of footage when filming at 1080p, 60FPS.
Curiously, even though the camera had stopped recording and shut down indicating a flat battery, I was able to switch the camera back on and start recording again for several minutes before the camera again shut down with this process being repeated numerous times.
Even now as I try to kill the battery to run some timed charge and capacity tests I am struggling to completely drain the battery. I have so far managed to switch the camera back on at least another 30 times with the camera booting past the splash screen and then shutting down after about 2 seconds.
This scenario appears to be a common trait with all of the GoPro clones that I have reviewed, although some are worse than others and with this particular camera it is clearly worse than all the others that I have reviewed, a point I shall now prove…
The following charge testing was conducted using a Samsung 2A wall charger as supplied with a Tab S2 9.7″ tablet with readings taken from a Drok USB multimeter.
- Initial readings were 5.33v, 2.398w, 0.45A with 8mAh charged within the first minute.
- After 16 minutes the readings were 5.34v, 2.349w, 0.44A and 119mAh had been charged.
- After 43 minutes the readings were 5.34v, 2.349w, 0.44A and 316mAh had been charged.
- After 1 hour and 27 minutes the readings were 5.34v, 2.296w, 0.43A and 642mAh had been charged.
- After 2 hours and 12 minutes the camera had stopped charging and the multimeter indicated a total charge of 775mAh.
Now there are some points to be made. Firstly, as noted earlier the battery wasn’t truly dead before the charge test was started, but the battery simply wouldn’t give up and secondly the multimeter does have a margin of error of 0.8% as well as a 10mA drain.
As you will see from the test I only managed to charge the battery by 775mAh, a whopping 275mAh less than the claimed size of the battery, despite this it still managed to record 20 minutes more footage than claimed when recording at 1080p, 60FPS but compared to the competition it is considerably off the mark.
Most annoying, however is the absence of a charging indicator light. All the previous action cameras that I have reviewed have had at least two LED indicator lights one to show when the camera is recording and the other usually lighting up red when charging, turning green when complete.
With this particular camera the status screen on the front indicates when charging, however unless the camera is switched on (draining power and thus taking longer to charge) unless you happen to be making use of a USB multimeter, there is no indication if the camera is charging or when it is fully charged, which is quite a nuisance.
CASE & WATERPROOF TESTING.
The first thing I did (and the first thing you should do before using the camera underwater and each subsequent time before you intend to use it under water) was to test the seal. To do this I removed the camera from the case stuffed it with tissues and weighed into down in a bucket of water (otherwise it floated) for about 15 minutes.
The seal on the case won’t last forever and it will eventually need to be replaced, especially if used regularly in strong direct sunlight. So by testing it before each time you plan to use it underwater you will improve the chances of finding fault before it has a chance to damage your camera. (This sort of stuff should be in the manual, but sadly it isn’t).
I am glad to say with this somewhat limited test (the only thing I can do short of a 60 mile round trip to the sea as I suspect trying to sneak the camera along to my local pool would result in porridge for breakfast) all was good and the paper towels were dry upon being removed.
The locking mechanism on the waterproof cases uses the same locking mechanism as the cases provided with the GoPro 3/4 cameras which is a bi-fold half metal wire, half ABS plastic clip. This simply levers back and latches on to the top of the back rear opening panel and then pushes forward to lock the case and is simply lifted up on the front edge of the plastic clip to release.
The buttons on the case are metal sprung loaded plungers that activate the buttons on the camera within the case when they are pushed and sadly this particular sample isn’t a good one. The front button that operates the power/mode button is as the buttons should be, smooth and silent. The side button is a little noisy, but acceptable, but the top button, the most important one is woeful. This button is not only makes an awful sound which is picked up by the microphone and audible to the ear it also has to be pushed very firmly to register a button press on the camera within the case.
Of all the action cameras that I have thus far reviewed this one clearly takes the crown for having the worst buttons on its waterproof case.
The front of the camera is plastic with a soft, smooth matte black finish which is sadly a vinyl transfer over white plastic which is very common with these types of camera. Just be aware that over time with wear and tear expect the edges and corners to eventually start exposing a white plastic beneath.
All four sides of the camera, however are made from what appears to be ABS black plastic sporting a check / diamond pattern that should prove very durable and offer a reasonable grip when in use out of the waterproof case. As for the rear the camera well that is entirely covered by a thin piece of clear plastic with a black border around the display.
On the front to the right, you will find a 14mm diameter wide angle lens and to the right a 10mm diameter power / mode button (information on the controls follows shortly) with a 0.95″ OLED status display located just above.
This display shows the current mode such as video or camera, Wi-Fi strength and battery charge. When in video mode it also shows resolution, FPS and current recording time and when in camera mode it shows the MP resolution and the number of pictures taken.
Rather annoyingly while the viewfinder screen on the rear can be set to switch off after a set period of time or turned off altogether to save battery, the front status display can not be set to power down after a set time nor can it be disabled which doesn’t do any favours for the battery life.
On the top to the right is a 10mm diameter OK / shutter button and in the centre is a small mono speaker that serves well for notification sounds but during on camera video playback sounds woeful.
On the left side of the camera you will find an exposed MicroSD card slot, USB Micro B sync & charge port, a mini HDMI out port and the microphone which is fairly decent.
I have to confess to having some slight concerns regarding the MicroSD slot, the first time I tried to install a card I struggled to push it in using a finger nail for considerable time and began to suspect the slot was faulty. The truth however is that the card had to be pushed much further in than expected, beyond what I was capable of doing with a fingernail and I ended up having to resort to using a pair of tweezers to insert and remove the card, which is slightly concerning.
On the right side near the bottom is a single 5mm diameter button which is used to enable and disable the Wi-Fi function on the camera (and also for backing out of some of the settings menus).
On the underside the only feature is the battery compartment cover which does not have a latch or switch to release the cover and a good old fingernail is required to pry the cover open.
On the back of the camera you will find the 2″ colour TFT LCD viewfinder display, this has a black glossy surround that covers the remainder of the rear of the camera and as previously noted, this has a clear plastic cover finishing it off.
Power / Mode button: Hold this down for about 2 seconds to turn the camera on or off. When the camera is on tapping this button (careful not to hold it down) cycles through the available modes.
When first switched on the camera is by default in video recording mode, tapping the button once takes you to the standard picture (photograph) taking mode, a second tap takes you to the burst picture taking mode, a third switches to timed picture mode and a fourth press enters the settings menu.
Now, as this camera lacks any navigation / zoom buttons we are not quite yet done with the Power / Mode button. Once you enter the settings menu this button is also used for navigation and sadly as there is only one button for this purpose making any changes can be very time consuming as you can only filter through the options in one direction. Patience is required as should you get too hasty it is very easy to overshoot the option you want to change which results in having to trawl through them all once more.
OK button: In video recorder mode, tapping the OK button starts recording video and tapping it once more stops recording. In picture taking mode, pressing the OK button takes a picture. In the image, video browser mode, pressing the OK button will play any selected pre recorded file, when viewing pictures, however it does nothing and In the settings menu the OK button is used to select and confirm.
WiFi button: When in any of the video / picture taking modes this button simply enables or disables WiFi on the camera which is used for connecting and controlling the camera using a smartphone / tablet or for connecting to a PC for file transfer. When in the settings menus this button is also used as a back button (not for navigation but for exiting).
When the camera is switched on the fifth press of the Power / Mode button accesses the settings menu. This menu displays three options Video, Photo and Settings, using the OK / Shutter button to select Video option displays any videos stored on the memory card and the Photo option displays any pictures stored on the memory card with the Power / Mode button used to filter through the pictures or videos and the OK / Shutter button used to play a selected video file. (To exit the photo or video viewer modes just tap the Wi-Fi button on the side of the camera).
As for the actual settings tab you will find the following options on offer…
RESOLUTION: 1080p @60FPS (Default), 1080p @30FPS, 2.7K @24FPS, 2.7K @15FPS, 4K @15FPS and 4K @10FPS.
2.7K @ 24FPS is just about passable for standard footage, but to be honest, unless space is an issue I would stick to recording at 1080p, 60FPS.
LOOPING VIDEO: On or Off (Default).
This setting is useful for those wanting to use the camera as a dash cam in a car or on a bike as it reduces the need for memory card maintenance overwriting the first file written once the memory card is full.
TIME STAMP: Off (Default), Date or Date & Time.
EXPOSURE: -2.0, -1.7, -1.3, -1.0, -0.7, -0.3, 0.0 (Default), +0.3, +0.7, +1.0, +1.3, +1.7 and +2.0
This is exposure compensation, if the images you are taking are too dark gradually increase the exposure till you find the perfect balance and if they are overexposed (too bright) then gradually reduce it.
PHOTO RESOLUTION: 12MP (4608×2592), 8MP (3760×2120), 5MP (2976×1672), 4MP (2648×1504).
This sets the quality of pictures taken.
BURST PHOTO: On (Default).
I have to confess this setting confuses me greatly. There is only one option and this can not be changed, with previous cameras I have reviewed there are setting to select the number of images taken in burst mode and there is also the option to disable burst mode as well, but not with the H3 action camera.
Instead the H3 has a second photography mode that operates the burst mode independently (when the camera is switched on, it is in video mode by default and one press of the Power / Mode button enters, standing picture taking mode and three taps of the Power / Mode button enters burst picture mode). Sadly, despite there being an option in the settings it has no variables and so it is not possible to change the number of pictures taken and it is fixed at 3 shots in 1.5 seconds.
TIME-LAPSE: 2s (Default), 3s, 5s, 10s, 20s, 30s, 60s.
This setting has no off option as like the burst picture mode the time-lapse mode is operated via a separate mode (press the Power / Mode button 4 times once switched on the access this mode). The name of this mode / setting is rather misleading as the H3 action camera does not offer a time-lapse recording function, it is in fact a timed photo mode and when set to 2 seconds a picture is taken 2 seconds after the shutter button is pressed with a countdown timer shown on the front status display.
CONTINUOUS LAPSE: On or Off (Default).
This is an extension of the previous setting, when set to off and using time-lapse picture taking mode only one picture is taken when the shutter button is pressed. If set to continuous once the first image has been taken the timer continuously resets. As such, if set to 2 seconds a picture will be taken every 2 seconds until the shutter button is pressed to cancel the timer.
POWER FREQUENCY: Auto (default), 50Hz, 60Hz.
If you find that lights flicker in your video try adjusting the frequency, in fairness the Auto setting does an excellent job.
LANGUAGE: English (default), German, French, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Polish, Dutch, Hungarian.
DATE-TIME: Allows manual setting of the date and time.
SOUND INDICATOR: This has various options for enabling and disabling the simulated shutter sound, beep feedback offered when pressing buttons and also the start up and shut down jingle.
With all of the other camera settings once you confirm a change using the OK / Shutter button you are returned to the main settings options. With this setting, however there are 4 variables that can be changed and when confirming a change you are not returned to the main settings menu, to exit this setting you in fact have to tap the Wi-Fi button on the right side of the camera.
UPSIDE DOWN: On or Off (Default).
Sometimes it is only possible to record using the camera upside down, one such example is when using the camera in a car with a windshield mount. When this setting is enabled both the rear display and the lens are reorientated so that footage is recorded and the viewfinder displays the correct way around.
SCREENSAVER: Off, 1 Minute (Default), 3 Minutes, 5 Minutes.
This sets how long the viewfinder display on the rear of the camera remains active when no buttons are being pressed (pressing any button when the screen is asleep wakes it back up). Unless its an issue set this to 1 minute as the display is by far the biggest drain on the battery. This setting only affects the rear viewfinder display and the front status display sadly remains constantly active with no options of a screen saver offered.
POWER SAVER: Off, 1 Minute (Default), 3 Minutes, 5 Minutes.
This is a standby by shutdown timer. If set to 3 minutes, the camera will turn itself off after 3 minutes if there have been no button presses or pictures taken. It will not, however shutdown if the camera is currently recording, it will only turn off if nothing happens for 3 consecutive minutes.
FORMAT: Wipes the installed MicroSD card, requiring double confirmation.
RESET: Restores all settings to factory default.
VERSION: Further evidence of the true nature of the camera with firmware information being displayed as “H3 Action Camera 160405”.
While the H3 action camera offers HDR and Image stabilisation these functions are constantly enabled with no manual controls. That said, there are some notable omissions that are found on similar cameras that I have reviewed such as ISO, white balance, sharpness, time-lapse recording, slow motion recording and microphone mute.
There are two uses for the Wi-Fi feature of the camera. The first allows you to connect the camera with a laptop or desktop PC to enable wireless data transfer and the second allows the camera to be fully controlled using a smartphone or tablet. There is however one rather significant security flaw with the H3 action camera which is of concern.
With other Wi-Fi action cameras that I have reviewed when Wi-Fi is enabled an ID and password are displayed on the camera rear display, which are required to connect to the camera regardless if you are using the App with a phone or connecting for data transfer on a laptop.
With the H3, however when Wi-Fi is enabled, there is no login required. As such anyone that can see the camera on their Wi-Fi network can connect and access the memory card and the fact the H3 SSID is “iCam H3” and is clearly displayed as being insecure it is a significant risk to be aware of.
To use the Wi-Fi feature as a means of data transfer all you need to do is switch the camera on and tap the Wi-Fi button, then open up the Wi-Fi settings on your PC or Laptop and click on iCam H3 and in short order the memory card will be accessible from my computer.
The second function allows the camera to be controlled using your smartphone (similar to the way the HP LC200W camera functions). This requires you to download an App called “Ez iCam” by WIT Electronics (available on iOS and Android), it should be noted that this App is a generic catch all program not specific to this camera.
Using this App everything is available from taking stills and video to changing any of the settings and even browsing the pictures and video stored on the memory card in the camera from your mobile device. Considering the App isn’t specific to the camera and despite the less than favourable reviews to me at least it appears to do everything you could ask for without fault.
The source of most of the complaints about the App appear to be that you have to disable mobile data on a smartphone when connecting to the camera via Wi-Fi and that your phone is not longer connected to the internet or that most do not seem aware this has to be done and they perceive the App to be faulty… that and it also has some rather obtrusive permissions.
1. The camera can be used to take stills or video while it is on charge. You can even couple it to a power bank and the camera will keep recording until a 32GB MicroSD card is filled. The camera, however does get very warm after 2 or 3 hours of constant use and this isn’t something I would advise doing often.
2. In low light video recorded is very grainy, I even took some test footage at night using a GoPro underwater light attachment and while this lit things up, allowing the camera to see them the footage was still clearly very grainy.
3. When using the camera to take stills be aware it doesn’t have a flash so you will either need some steady hands, a tripod or a table unless you are outdoors on a bright clear day or the indoors with very bright lighting.
4. The H3 white balance, which has no manual control manages to cope well outdoors on a sunny or cloudy day, indoors or outdoors at night with artificial light the resulting images have a slight purple hue / tint.
5. The H3 has no zoom function, this is perhaps not a bad thing as all action cameras that do offer a zoom do so using a digital zoom which degrades the quality of the image. Not only this, but when filming the on-board microphone picks up the sound of the zoom buttons being pressed, which is very unpleasant.
6. Images taken at 12MP take up between 3.76MB and 4.49MB and 1080p video filmed at 1080P, 60FPS average about 350MB per minute. These figures compared to other 4MP native action cameras I have reviewed are quite high, with 250MB a minute appearing to be average for a 1080p@60FPS recording.
7. When recording video using the H3 output files are in a maximum of 10 minute segments. When filming to test battery capacity the H3 recorded for 1 hour, 12 minutes and 57 seconds before running out of power and this resulted in seven 10 minute long clips and one that was 2 minutes and 57 seconds long. These clips were numbered sequentially and there was no gap between the recordings.
8. Data transfer from the camera to a PC using a USB cable is painfully slow using a SanDisk Ultra card (about 12MB/s). Use a card reader as its 2.5x to 3x faster or even a Wi-Fi transfer if you dare.
9. The microphone on the camera is pretty impressive with a notable lack of hiss during playback. When the H3 action camera is recording from within its waterproof case the microphone still manages to pick up some audio confined to within a 2m radius at talking volume and even further afield for louder noises. This is most impressive as this is the first action camera that I have reviewed that has managed to pick up any audio at all from within its case beyond sound actually created by the case such as rain dropping on it or caused by pressing the buttons.
10. While not really an issue, but the 2″ display has some minor banding, on a DSLR this could obviously pose a problem, here however its just a sign of poor quality.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review, I hope it has been helpful to you. If you have any questions or comments regarding this review, please post a comment below and I will do my best to answer them.
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