It’s not cheap, true, but JVC has made this tiny action cam incredibly hardy out of the box: it’s near impervious to dust, water, extreme cold and shock, all without the need to encase it in extra protection. It boasts Wi-Fi too, allowing you to use your PC or Android/iOS device as a portable viewfinder (irritatingly, Mac OS isn’t compatible). It sports a 1.5-inch LCD for reviewing footage and changing settings, and can capture 1080p at 30fps or 720p at 60fps, as well as time lapse video.
£120, Oregon Scientific
If affordable is the name of your action cam-buyin’ game, consider the ATC Mini. While it suffers from a lack of features and a restriction to 720p footage and 1-megapixel (!) stills, it’s cheap, lightweight and very simple to use and waterproof without the need for a case. Just don’t buy one expecting Hollywood-esque results.
Another camera that benefits from its extremely simple controls (you’d have to be a true idiot to struggle with this one), the Drift HD can capture 1080p or 720p footage, plus 9-megapixel still shots. One thing to note: it requires an extra £35 case if you plan on taking it for a dip in the H2O, and when clad in this waterproof armour the controls become a lot trickier to press.
Oregon Scientific ATC Mini
The king of action cams in our opinion, ticking pretty much every box you can think of: it’s small and lightweight; it’s tough; it’s versatile (having three lens angle settings); and it produces superb footage with vivid colours and sharp detail. You can also film time lapse videos and shoot at 120fps for super-smooth slow motion playback. A screen for reviewing your shots might have been handy, but that’s really the only thing we can find about the HD Hero 2 that we’re not crazy about.
£150, Veho UK
The Veho offers great quality footage for its modest price tag (although bear in mind that you’ll need to shell out another £60 if you want a waterproof case), and is the only action cam here that includes storage in the box (a 4GB microSD card). The touch controls on the 1.5-inch LCD are a bit fiddly, but happily there’s a wireless remote control that works nicely.
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