Monoprice MHD Sport Wifi review: Solid action cam for bargain hunters

On top is a bright, easy-to-read OLED display and two buttons: one for recording and one for changing settings. The menu system is relatively simple to navigate, too, and there's a setting that lets you flip the display's orientation, 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-second intervals.

Screenshot by Joshua Goldman/CNET

There is no built-in or add-on display for seeing a live view from the camera, which means you'll be blindly setting up your shots. However, the camera does have Wi-Fi, which you may have already picked up on since it's in the model name.

Download the free ActionCam app for iOS or Android and you can use it to link 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.

Again, the value in this camera is that it's a more affordable option than a GoPro for those who just want decent POV video to post to YouTube or other sharing sites. If you need the absolute best in video quality for this type of camera, you'll need to spend more money. With the Monoprice, you get decent-looking video that plays well at small sizes.

Playback on a large screen reveals a fair amount of compression artifacts, and there's a bit of jell-o effect under heavy vibration. However, it seems like the processing may have been tweaked some for Monoprice, as subjects look a little sharper than the video from the DXG version, and colors aren't as oversaturated. (Note: In the opening clip in the sample video, water splashed on the lens causing the softness on left side of the frame.)

What the camera did struggle with was adjusting its exposure when pointed into the sun. While it adjusted smoothly, it tended to really underexpose. Lens flare under this condition was also somewhat of an issue, giving video a red/purple tint in spots. Basically, just try not to shoot with the camera pointed toward the sun.

Low-light video is predictably noisy, grainy, and soft. If you need good low-light video, you'll need to spend more money.

Joshua Goldman/CNET

The camera's 5-megapixel photos are decent, too, but like the video, you'll want to have as much light as possible. Also, there's some smear and distortion toward the sides, which is typical of inexpensive ultrawide-angle lenses. Oh, and it takes photos in only 4:3 ratio, so if you want to drop shots into your videos, you'll have to edit them to 16:9.

Conclusion
The Monoprice MHD Sport Wifi is a good entry-level action cam that, even at its original price of $178, is a solid value for all that is included. The video quality is more "good enough" than "oh wow," but the latter will cost you a lot more.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre