GoPro Hero Rugged and Waterproof Action Camera Alternatives

In order to find the closes or similarly specified camera that will go up against the GoPro’s entry level camera, the GoPro HERO and HERO+, we have to first understand what we are up against. GoPro is renowned for it image quality, ruggedness and features allowing its users to capture stunning action sequences outdoor.

Wheather it is mountain climbing, skiing, sky diving, surfing, diving, biking or simply taking a dip in the pool with the kids, these outdoor, weather proof and water proof cameras go anywhere. But before we look at each of these alternatives to GoPro, let’s understand a little more about GoPro’s entry level camera, the GoPro HERO and HERO+.

The GoPro Camera Specifications

GoPro HERO4 Professional Camera

Apart from the GoPro HERO, both GoPro HERO+ and GoPro HERO+ LCD have WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. The LCD version has a touch screen display for ease of controls. The basic GoPRO HERO has a 5MP camera while the GoPRO HERO+ and GoPro HERO+ LCD have 8MP camera. All cameras are rugged and waterproof with its outer casing that includes wearable and mount surface for optional accessories. See table of comparison below:

Video CapturePhoto CaptureConnectivityWaterproofInterface
Professional Level
GoPro HERO4 SessionUp to 1440p 30fps8MP / 10 fps BurstBluetooth & WiFiUp to 33′ (10m)One Button Control
GoPro HERO4 BlackUp to 4K 30fps12MP / 30 fps BurstBluetooth & WiFiUp to 131′ (40m)Buttons
GoPro HERO4 SilverUp to 1080p 60fps12MP / 30 fps BurstBluetooth & WiFiUp to 131′ (40m)Touchscreen Display & Buttons
Entry Level 
GoPro HERO+ LCDUp to 1080p 60fps8MP / 5 fps BurstBluetooth & WiFiUp to 131′ (40m)Touchscreen Display & Buttons
GoPro HERO+Up to 1080p 60fps8MP / 5 fps BurstBluetooth & WiFiUp to 131′ (40m)Buttons
GoPro HEROUp to 1080p 30fps5MP / 5 fpsUp to 131′ (40m)Buttons

A detailed comparison table can be found here.

GoPro Hero Plus

The following are common camera features for video and still capture on the GoPro HERO, HERO+ and HERO+ LCD:

  • Ultra Wide Field of View (FOV) with Ultra Wide angle glass lense with reduced distortion
  • Consumer grade low-light performance
  • 1080p video capture at 25, 30, 50 or 60 fps (depending on model)
  • 720p video capture at 50 or 60 fps
  • 8MP still capture on the HERO+ and 5MP still capture on the HERO
  • Burst Rates: 10/2 fps [5 fps]
  • Time Lapse Intervals: 0.5 second on the HERO, 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30 and 60 seconds on the HERO+
  • Auto low light, Quick Capture, Looping video on the HERO+
  • Video: High bit rate video output (H.264): Up to 25Mb/s
  • Audio:Mono 48kHz, AAC compression with standard multi-band AGC (Automatic Gain Control)
  • Compatible with GoPro App and GoPro Studio
  • Built-in 1180mAh lithium-ion rechargeable battery (HERO), 1160mAh lithium-ion rechargeable battery (HERO+)
  • Ports: mini USB and micro SD
  • Storage: microSD at least a Class 10 or UHS-I rating and a capacity up to 32GB (HERO) or 64GB (HERO+)

GoPro Hero Plus Case

Top 5 Best GoPro HERO and HERO+ Alternatives

These are the alternatives to GoPro’s HERO and HERO+ cameras. They are also among the cheapest cameras and definitely way cheaper than the cost of buying a GoPro equivalent. Let’s take a look at each of these in turn.

MAOZUA SJ4000-W8 1080p WiFi Action CameraWIFI

MAOZUA 1080p WIFi

  • Camera Sensor: 12MP wide angle lens (170 degrees) camera
  • Display: 1.5 inch LTPS TFT LCD Screen
  • Video Recording: 1080p (30fps), 720p (60fps), VGA (848*480) 60FPS, QVGA (640*480) 60FPS in H.264 (MOV format)
  • Still Shooting: Single shot or Self-timer (2s/5s/10s/20s) at 12MP / 8MP / 5MP
  • Water resistant: up to 30 m
  • Wireless Connectivity: WiFi for remote control and real time preview on smartphone using companion app iSmart DV (Android or iOS).
  • Battery: 900mAh rechargable lithium battery. Charging time: 3.5 hrs, Recording Time: up to 70 mins (1080p)
  • Ports: HDMI HD output, USB 2.0, MicroSD support up to 32GB
  • Mounting accessories included. Also sold with extra rechargeable battery pack to extend play time from 88 mins to 176 mins

ICE FOX Outdoor Action Camera

IceFox Sport Camera

  • Camera Sensor: 12MP wide angle lens (170 degrees) camera
  • Video Recording: 1080p (30fps), 720p (60fps), VGA (848*480) 60FPS, QVGA (640*480) 60FPS
  • Display: 1.5 inch LTPS TFT LCD Screen
  • Still Shooting: Single shot 4032 x 3024p , 3648 x 2736p , 8M(3264 x 2448p) , 2560 x 1920p , 3M(2048 x 1536p) , 1920 x 1080p , 1280 x 960p
  • Water resistant: up to 30 m
  • Wireless Connectivity: –
  • Battery: 900mAh rechargable lithium battery. Charging time: 3.5 hrs, Recording Time: up to 70 mins (1080p)
  • Ports: HDMI HD output, USB 2.0, MicroSD support up to 32GB
  • Mounting accessories included.

DBPOWER 1080p Waterproof Action DV Camera

DBPower 1080p Action Camera

  • Camera Sensor: 12MP wide angle lens (170 degrees) camera
  • Display: 1.5 inch LTPS TFT LCD Screen
  • Video Recording: 1080p (30fps), 720p (60fps), VGA (848*480) 60FPS, QVGA (640*480) 60FPS in H.264 (MOV format)
  • Still Shooting: Single shot or Self-timer (2s/5s/10s/20s) at 12MP / 8MP / 5MP
  • Water resistant: up to 30 m
  • Wireless Connectivity: –
  • Battery: 900mAh rechargable lithium battery. Charging time: 3.5 hrs, Recording Time: up to 60 mins (1080p)
  • Ports: HDMI HD output, USB 2.0, MicroSD support up to 32GB
  • Mounting accessories included. Also sold with extra rechargeable battery pack to extend play time from 88 mins to 176 mins

QUMOX SJ4000 Action Sports Camera

QUMOX SJ4000

  • Camera Sensor: 12MP wide angle lens (170 degrees) camera
  • Display: 1.5 inch LTPS TFT LCD Screen
  • Video Recording: 1080p (30fps), 720p (60fps), VGA (848*480) 60FPS, QVGA (640*480) 60FPS in H.264 (MOV format)
  • Still Shooting: Single shot or Self-timer (2s/5s/10s/20s) at 12MP / 8MP / 5MP
  • Water resistant: up to 30 m
  • Wireless Connectivity: –
  • Battery: 900mAh rechargable lithium battery. Charging time: 3.5 hrs, Recording Time: up to 70 mins (1080p)
  • Ports: HDMI HD output, USB 2.0, MicroSD support up to 32GB
  • Mounting accessories included

Buyee HD 1080p Waterproof Sports Touch Screen Camera

Buyee Camera

  • Camera Sensor: 12MP wide angle lens (120 degrees) camera
  • Display: 2.0 inch LTPS TFT LCD Touch Screen
  • Video Recording: 1080p (30fps), 720p (60fps), QVGA (640*480) 60FPS in H.264 (MOV format)
  • Still Shooting: Single shot at 12MP / 8MP / 5MP
  • Water resistant: up to 32 ft (10m)
  • Wireless Connectivity: –
  • Battery: 400mAh rechargable lithium battery. Charging time: 2-4 hrs
  • Ports: USB 2.0, MicroSD support up to 32GB
  • Suction cup mount, handlebar mount, helmet mount.

Cooler Sports Action Camera

  • Camera Sensor: 12MP wide angle lens (170 degrees) camera
  • Display: 1.5 inch LTPS TFT LCD Screen
  • Video Recording: 1080p (30fps), 720p (60fps), VGA (848*480) 60FPS, QVGA (640*480) 60FPS in H.264 (MOV format)
  • Still Shooting: Single shot or Self-timer (2s/5s/10s/20s) at 12MP / 8MP / 5MP
  • Water resistant: up to 30 m
  • Wireless Connectivity: –
  • Battery: 900mAh rechargable lithium battery. Charging time: 3.5 hrs, Recording Time: up to 60 mins (1080p)
  • Ports: HDMI HD output, USB 2.0, MicroSD support up to 32GB
  • Mounting accessories included.

Final Thoughts

Apart from Buyee, the cameras listed above are based on the same SJ4000 series camera, just sold under different names. They are offered with an extensive mounting options and accessories. The captured videos in sufficient light are of good quality with H.264 compression.

The camera captures Full HD footage at 30 frames per second. Recording time could go up to 1 hour and 15 minutes for 1080p and more if shooting using lower 720p video recording. Captured audio is sufficiently loud and clear but once in the waterproof housing, understandably, this blocks the microphone and reduces the volume.

Users recorded that low light performance is good or even on par with that of GoPro. While there is no Bluetooth for remote control or WiFi for wireless transfer to speak of, the unit comes with a HDMI output port. With the right cable, the camera can be used with a HD TV or projector.

On a 32GB microSD memory card, the camera can capture up to 8 hours worth of video in 720p mode or 5 hours worth of video in 1080p mode. It is worth noting that the mount is compatible with GoPro HERO or SJCAM mounts.

The MAOZUA SJ4000-W8 Action Camera is the only SJ4000 series camera to come equipped with wireless connectivity. Use the accompanying app, iSmartDV, downloadable free from Google Play for Android or Apple Store for iOS to control the camera. The app allows you to access the camera and to look at the live view finder right and to access the album to look at still photos and videos captured earlier on the smartphone. It does not however let you download the vidoes, only the still photos to the app on the smartphone.

Most cameras do not come with microSD memory card. It is important to note that when purchasing a memory card for these cameras, it needs to be Class 10. Here are some Class 10 options:

microSD Memory Card

Apps