Would you love an action camera but can’t afford a GoPro? It can be tricky to find a good GoPro alternative, but there are plenty of cameras out there with competitive features for fraction of the cost of a GoPro.
In this post, we have compiled a list of the 10 best GoPro alternatives on the market today, judging each one based on build and performance. To come up with this list, I have tested 4 cameras and done more than 30 hours of research. Plus, I own the latest GoPro 7 which I use regularly for my travel vlogs. So I will be testing each of these alternatives against the real deal.
Whether you are on a tight budget or looking for an action camera for your kids to ‘dip their toes’ into the world of action cameras; there’s something for everyone.
Before we go onto the individual reviews, let’s have a look at a summary of what we are recommending here.
1. Garmin VIRB Ultra 30
GoPro alternative with the best ultra 4k video quality
VIRB Ultra 30 is compact, lightweight and is waterproof in its housing for up to 40 meters. It features voice control for effortless hands-free recording and an intuitive 1.75-inch LCD touchscreen display for playback and access to settings.
It captures stunning ultra HD 4K/30fps video and crisp 12MP still images. Videos and stills are captured in bright, vivid color and the sharpness rivals even the most recent GoPro models. Plus the battery allows for a 2-hour 1080p HD video recording on a single charge.
The Wi-Fi allows you to live-stream HD videos to youtube using the Garmin VIRB app or to quickly upload your footage to a smartphone or a laptop. It also uses 3-axis image-stabilization to ensure your footage is consistently sharp and steady. And just like the GoPro, it is compatible with a variety of mounting accessories.
- Superb ultra HD video and image quality
- Hands-free voice control
- Image stabilizer
2. AKASO EK7000
Best affordable GoPro alternative
AKASO EK7000 is a durable action camera suited for extreme environments. It is waterproof in its case for up to 40 meters and comes with a remote control; handy for setting up shots from a distance. It records 4K/25fps high definition video, as well as sharp 16MP still images. Plus it comes with built-in electronic video stabilization, to ensure everything is in focus.
Uniquely, you can adjust the view angle of the EK7000; it can capture 170-degree wide-angle shots, plus wide, medium and narrow angles.
The EK7000 comes with various mounting accessories and 2 rechargeable batteries–each one able to record up to 90 minutes of footage. The camera has built-in Wi-Fi which makes it possible to control it from the app. It has a large, 2-inch display, which is a touchscreen, plus, the buttons and included remote controller is simple and easy to use.
- Adjustable angle and wide-angle shooting capability
- Excellent video and image quality
- Wireless remote control
3. YI 4K
Durable action camera with scratch-resistant LCD screen
The YI 4K produces fantastic image quality with the ability to shoot videos in 4K/30fps and capture crisp, still-shots with its 12 MP camera. It also includes advanced video stabilization for smooth, clear footage.
The YI 4K is a high-quality, durable, intuitive camera that is waterproof for up to 40 meters in its housing. The 2.2-inch, 640×360 high-resolution touchscreen in the back is made from Gorilla Glass Retina to withstand any impact or scratches–perfect for action lovers.
It is equipped with built-in Bluetooth and high-speed Wi-Fi for instant sharing. The YI 4K also allows you to control ISO, shutter speed, and white balance so that you have creative control over how you capture things. Unfortunately, the waterproof case and accessories have to be purchased separately, and image stabilization is only available up to 1080p.
- Resilient, high-resolution Gorilla Glass screen
- Superb image and video quality
- Adjustable camera settings
4. SJCAM SJ8 PRO
Best GoPro alternatives for beginners
SJCAM SJ8 Pro is the perfect starter action camera for beginners. It produces high-quality footage and is waterproof in its housing up to 30 meters, with high camera quality at 12MP.
Unlike other cameras, the SJ8 Pro can be connected wirelessly from up to 10 meters away. It also comes with a range of mounting accessories that can be used in a variety of environments.
It is sold with a high-capacity 1200mA detachable battery with up to 70 minutes of recording time at 4K/60fps.
The SJ8 Pro captures 170-degree, super wide-angle footage with 4K/30fps video as well as a clean image 8x digital zoom.
It offers a variety of shot settings, including video-lapse, photo-lapse, slow record and burst mode, which can be uploaded immediately to your device via its built-in Wi-Fi.
- Wireless connectivity up to 10 meters
- A range of shooting settings including video-lapse
- Clear image 8x digital zoom
5. Sony FDR X3000R
A robust dust-proof, shockproof and waterproof action camera
The Sony FDR X3000R is the ultimate dust-proof, shockproof and waterproof action camera. It is water-resistant in its protective housing for up to an incredible 60 meters. The high-quality ZEISS Tessar lens has minimal image distortion, exceptional color quality, and provides high-resolution footage. Plus it’s equipped with mechanical image stabilization (which works better than electronic stabilization) for super-clear image stabilization.
The FDR X3000R connects via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to allow for instant uploading to your smartphone or tablet. The camera can be controlled using a wireless remote, plus camera settings can be adjusted and set up using the compatible Sony PlayMemories app for both iOS and Android.
Videos are shot in high-definition 4K, and the still images captured at a crisp 12 MP. During our field tests, we really loved the 60fps 1080P for capturing fast action!
However, the FDR X3000R’s most defining feature is its excellent stereo sound that comes with wind noise reduction; this lowers the effect and impact of wind sounds and interference during action videos.
It also boasts built-in GPS tracking which adds locations, travel routes and speedometers to your footage.
- Waterproof up to 60 meters
- Wind and noise sound reduction video features
- Built-in GPS tracking
6. Polaroid Cube Act II
Cheapest GoPro alternative with a magnetic base for easy connection
The Polaroid Cube Act II is the smallest action camera on this list, at only 35mm in height and weighing in at just 49g. This camera is compact, lightweight and easy to store anywhere. The Cube is shock and splash-resistant on its own, plus it is waterproof for up to 30 meters in a waterproof case (sold separately).
It only captures HD video at 1080p (no 4K) and still images at 6 MP but at less than $30 bucks, you can’t really complain. We were really impressed with the 124-degree, wide-angle lens; perfect for shots that require a larger field of view.
It also includes video/image stabilization, and the rechargeable battery can record continuously for up to 90 minutes on a single charge. One standout feature of this tiny but mighty device is its magnetic base. You can connect to any metal surface, for example, helmets and bike handlebars, without the need for fiddly straps or accessories.
- Lightweight and compact
- 124-degree wide angle lens
- Magnetic base for connection to metal surfaces
7. Garmin VIRB 360
Best GoPro alternatives for3 60-degree video
This unique action camera has the ability to capture 4K/30fps, 360-degree video, and 15 MP spherical still photos.
The VIRB 360 is waterproof up to 10 meters and is built to withstand shocks in outdoor environments.
It comes with a range of mounting accessories and the battery allows for up to 60 minutes of recording time on a single charge.
The VIRB 360 supports voice command allowing for hands-free shot control and includes 4 microphones for immersive 360-degree sound capture.
It features 4K spherical stabilization, to ensure smooth and steady videos and to counter camera shake. A further notable feature is the ability to live-stream videos direct to Youtube or Facebook for your family and friends to watch your moment-by-moment experiences.
- 360-degree video and spherical image capture
- Live-streaming features
- Four microphones for 360-degree sound capture
8. PROGRACE Kids’ Camera
Best GoPro alternatives for kids
One of the top GoPro alternatives for kids is the PROGRACE Kids’ Camera. It is durable, colorful and waterproof in its housing for up to 30 meters.
The camera can withstand shocks, bumps, and drops; perfect for adventurous children. The PROGRACE records videos in HD 1080p/30fps and captures photographs with a 5 MP camera.
It is sold with a few mount accessories, ideal for connecting to skateboards, bike handlebars or helmets.
The PROGRACE also includes a built-in mini-game, 40 funny photo frames, and 7 color modes; designed to unleash kids’ creativity and allow them to edit their own images.
- Ultra-durable and shock-resistant body
- Built-in mini game to entertain kids
- Creative editing modes
9. Olympus TG-Tracker
Toughest GoPro alternative
This action camera is tough, lightweight and waterproof (without protective housing!) for up to 30 meters. It is also crush-proof for up to 100kg, shockproof for up to 2.1 meters and even freeze-proof for up to –14 degrees F.
The Olympus TG-Tracker captures stunning 4K/30fps high-definition video and 8 MP still images. This camera boasts a bright f2.0, high-speed lens to capture shots with plenty of light and clarity. In addition, the TG-Tracker includes electronic image stabilization and built-in Wi-Fi for instant uploading.
The incorporated LED front light is great if you find yourself shooting in darker environments. But the standout feature of the TG-Tracker is the built-in action track sensors. They automatically record data including GPS, speed, temperature and barometer pressure, to enhance your video footage.
- Crush-proof, freeze-proof and shock-proof
- Bright f2.0 high-speed lens
- Action track sensors for data recording
10. Vemont Action Camera
A low budget GoPro alternative
This camera is waterproof in its housing for up to 30 meters, features a 2-inch LCD screen and 140-degree, wide-angle lens to ensure your images and videos include as much of your surroundings as possible.
The Vemont comes with a wide variety of mount accessories suitable for bikes, cars, helmets, and skateboards. It also comes with a rechargeable, detachable battery that allows up to 90 minutes of recording on a single charge.
Although the Vemont isn’t as high spec or high-quality as other action cameras on this list, it is ideal for those who want simplicity at a low cost and its affordability makes it perfect for recording dashcam footage.
- Very affordable
- 140-degree wide-angle lens
- Wide variety of mount accessories
How to Choose the Best GoPro Alternative
There are a few key things to consider before you dive headfirst into the world of action cameras.
You should think about the following factors before you purchase:
- Video resolution;
- Frame rate;
- Build quality;
- Mount accessories; and
- Battery performance.
So let’s take a look at how to choose the best GoPro alternative for you.
Video Resolution and Quality
The highest video resolution you can buy is 4K. This is what you should look for if you want crystal clear HD videos.
However, if your screens at home only display a 1080p resolution, a 4K camera may not be necessary; a 1080p camera would suffice.
The higher the number of megapixels (MP) a camera has, the better the resolution it’s footage will be. For example, the SJCAM SJ4000 is 16 MP, which is the highest resolution on our list. In comparison, even the GoPro 7 only shoots still as 12MP!
Additional features such as image stabilization or the ability to shoot from various angles may not come as standard, but depending on what you shoot, it should be a consideration.
Focus on Your Frame Rate
Frame rate or frames per second (fps), is the speed at which video frames are recorded. The higher the frame rate, the smoother your video footage will be. Rates can range from the typical 30 fps to the more accurate 240 fps.
If you plan to use your camera for fast-paced action shots, a higher frame rate would be best. For example, GoPro 7 shoots 4K video at 60fps but so does our alternative #4 SJCAM SJ8 PRO
Build quality is particularly important when it comes to the durability and resilience of an action camera.
Action cameras need to be tough enough to withstand the environmental pressures of filming in a range of conditions.
Many cameras on this list are waterproof, but action cameras can also be crush-proof, shockproof and freeze-proof. Think about the locations where you will use the camera so you can make the right choice.
Mount Accessory Availability
Mount accessories are an important feature of action cameras. They can be extremely useful in tough environments where you need additional support.
These can range from band attachments to suction cups and can connect the camera to almost any surface. They can also act as shooting aids. But before purchasing mount accessories, you need to consider the size, shape, and weight of your camera.
Many camera brands produce their own line of mount accessories, and some cameras may even be compatible with those sold by GoPro. It will take a bit of research to find the right accessory fit for you.
Choose a Long Battery Life
Even if your action camera is the most advanced, if it doesn’t have a long battery life, you will spend more time charging it than shooting great footage.
Action cameras generally record up to 3 hours of footage before the batteries die. Some manufacturer descriptions can stretch the battery life so it’s always a good idea to read customer reviews before you buy.
Bear in mind that a camera with more advanced technology will consume more power than a standard action camera. But this doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to find a great camera without a long battery life.
The best thing to do is shop around, read reviews and decide whether advanced features are necessary for you.
Over to You
As we’ve seen, there are plenty of great options when it comes to buying a GoPro alternative in 2019.
Using action cameras is a great way to capture shots that could be easily missed with a regular camera. They can record on top of snow-capped mountains or even underwater; the possibilities are endless.
And remember–some of the best action cameras can be the cheapest, so don’t automatically buy an expensive brand when there may be a range of cheaper options more suited to your needs.
Which is your favorite GoPro alternative and why? Have we included it on our list? Let us know in the comments below.
Disclaimer: Our reviews are based on personal experience and extensive research by qualified photographers. We pride in keeping these reviews unbiased. Products may contain affiliate links from which we earn a small commission without any additional cost to you. Your support funds our research as well as PhotoBlog.com platform.
Download FREE Photography Lighting Cheat Sheet
Subscribe and get a free downloadable photography lighting cheat sheet