The IronX by DXG 5G9V HD camera offers up good POV video and features as well as a nice accessory package for $250.
DXG might not have the name recognition of GoPro or Sony, but it's no stranger to camcorders. The manufacturer has been around for more than 20 years as a camera OEM/ODM and basically specializes in making inexpensive camcorders with attention-grabbing specs for the money. And that's pretty much what it delivers with its first action cam, the IronX 5G9V HD.
For $250 (and you can actually find it for less than $200) you get a nice action cam setup that shoots at resolutions up to 1080p at 30 frames per second as well as 720p at 60fps, has built-in Wi-Fi, and comes with just about every accessory you'd need to start shooting out of the box.
Now, specs aren't everything, and its video, like that of other DXG camcorders we've tested in the past, won't blow you away. But if you're looking for a way to capture your adventures without investing a lot of money up front, this is a good way to go.
In the box
Accessories are an easy way to add value with action cams, and DXG didn't skimp. For starters, you get a waterproof housing that's good down to nearly 200 feet (60 meters) with both closed and vented backs, so audio isn't always muffled when you're shooting out of the water. The housing's bottom has a T-tip adapter on it that slides onto the included T-tip swivel plate. This plate can be slid into the curved or flat adhesive mounts that are included for mounting and dismounting the camera (see the slideshow below to take a closer look).
The T-tip adapter also has slots that you can feed a Velcro strap (included as well) through for attaching the camera to a vented helmet. There are antifog strips to help prevent, um, fogging when sealed up in the housing; Micro-USB and Micro-HDMI cables; a USB power adapter for charging the camera; a security tether; and a lens cap. And to top it all off, DXG includes a simple RF wrist remote that lets you start and stop recordings and take pictures.
If you're worried that because this isn't a GoPro there will be a shortage of mounts, don't be. DXG has several mounts that use the T-tip adapter (head, chest, handbar, rollbar, rail, and suction cup) as well as a 1/4-20-threaded adapter for tripod mounts and a T-tip connector that works with mounts for GoPro's housings.
Design and features
The IronX is similar in design to a GoPro camera: a small box with a lens that requires a housing of some sort for mounting. It has an f2.6 15mm lens (35mm equivalent), which gives you an ultrawide 170 degree angle of view. The camera alone is fairly lightweight, with most of its heft coming from its removable rechargeable battery pack. The plastic body doesn't feel like it can take much abuse on its own, though, so you'll want to be careful handling it outside of its housing.
On the left side you'll find a Micro-USB port that's used for charging as well as transferring videos and photos off the camera. There's also a mic jack for use with an external mic (not included) for better audio than you'll get with the built-in mono mic. However, the included housing doesn't allow access to the jack, but DXG does sell a simple camera holder that gives you access while mounting the camera.
The camera's right side has a Mini-HDMI port for direct playback on an external display and a microSDHC card slot that supports cards up to 32GB. Given all that the camera does come with, it's a bit of a surprise that no memory card is included, which is really the only thing preventing the IronX from being ready to go out of the box.
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.
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.
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.)