IronX by DXG 5G9V HD action cam review: Good bang-for-your-buck action cam

The waterproof housing seems like it can take some abuse and stood up to me dropping it a couple times, including a short fall from a moving bike onto pavement. The neon yellow and orange accents make it look a bit like a toy, but at least it didn't perform like one.

Joshua Goldman/CNET

A highlight of the camera is its onboard OLED display. It's very bright and easy to read even in direct sun. The menu system is relatively simple to navigate, too, with only the two buttons on top of the camera. There's also a setting that lets you flip the display, so it's easier to read regardless of how the camera is mounted.

Diving further into the settings, you can set the camera to record at three resolutions: 1080p at 30fps, 960p at 30fps, and 720p at 60fps. Also, the camera supports dual-stream recording, which simultaneously saves your full-resolution video along with a low-res thumbnail version for playback on mobile devices and faster uploads.

Photos are shot at 5-megapixel resolution and can be taken one at a time, in a burst of 10, or as a time-lapse video, snapping shots at 1, 3, 5, 10, 30, or 60 seconds.

Joshua Goldman/CNET

The IronX also has built-in Wi-Fi. Download the free iOS or Android app and you can use it to connect directly to the camera so you can see just what you're shooting. It can be used to control the camera, too, including changing resolution settings. And, if you shoot something you want on your mobile device for viewing and sharing, you can use it to transfer them as well. The app works well, although switching between recording and playback required me to reconnect to the camera in between. (That's likely a bug that can be fixed, though.)

Video quality

For however good the features and accessories are for the IronX, it doesn't mean much if the video is no good. Fortunately, it is, or at least it's good enough. Its full HD video is recorded at a low 10Mbps bit rate and it shows. Viewed at large sizes, video looks soft and mushy. Aliasing and compression artifacts are readily visible, and there's a bit of Jell-O effect under heavy vibration. It can also be a little slow to adjust to exposure changes (but it does adjust smoothly).

I know that's not a ringing endorsement, but when viewed at small sizes, such as above, much of that isn't noticeable. If you're looking to play back video on a big display, you'll want to spend the money and get a GoPro Hero3 Black Edition . But, if you like what you see in the clips above, and only plan to share clips online and view on mobile devices, you should be satisfied with the IronX HD's results.

Conclusion
As is the case with most of the inexpensive action cams I've tested, video quality tends to be the weakest part of the package. DXG gives you a lot for the money with the IronX HD, including built-in Wi-Fi, a wireless remote, and flexibility when it comes to mounting options. The video, on the other hand, doesn't look good at large sizes. So, while I wouldn't recommend this for playback on large computer screens or HDTVs, for sharing online and viewing on mobile devices it should be fine for many.

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