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Say the phrase "action camera" to most casual observers, and they'll immediately assume you're talking about a GoPro. That name comes with a wealth of brand association and affection, with the tiny camera being used for stunts ranging the gamut from synchronised skydiving to swimming with predators of the sea.
Kogan wants to take a slice of the lucrative action-camera pie with its own version, simply called the Full HD Action Camera. On the outside, it looks pretty unassuming, with rounded edges, exposed ports and small operation buttons.
The camera comes in a waterproof case that can withstand depths of up to 30 metres and drops of up to 2 metres. Like most other action cameras, the Kogan version records in full 1080p at 30 fps, dropping down to 720p at 60fps. Its lens has a field of view of 170 degrees, on par with competitors like the Sony ActionCam and GoPro. There is a 1.5-inch colour display at the back for framing and reviewing footage.
The Action Camera has a few more external controls than the other cheap mini cameras we have tested, such as the Kaiser Baas X80. At the back, there are navigation buttons, while the top panel houses dedicated video and stills recording buttons.
The Black Edition of the Action Camera comes with several mounts in the box, including a handlebar mount, helmet mount and suction-cup mount. There are also two adhesive mounts enclosed. They all attach to the waterproof case, which is a little bulkier than the streamlined GoPro housings. A remote control is also included in the box.
There are a variety of scene modes to choose from, including night, sports and landscape. Otherwise, you can leave the camera on automatic (which is its default setting anyway). Adjustments can also be made to the ISO, metering and volume levels. Note that the date stamp is on by default, so make sure to turn it off if you don't want it affecting your video and still images.
The battery door underneath the camera was a little loose on our review model, which could result in the battery popping out if there was a sudden jolt. Your mileage may vary.
Connectivity is provided via mini HDMI and micro USB. It also accepts microSD cards for recording footage, up to 32GB. The battery is rated for 2.5 hours.
The video footage is of reasonable quality for an action camera in this price bracket. Colours are nicely saturated on default settings.
The digital image stabilisation system doesn't do that much to compensate for lots of camera movement and does introduce a small degree of wobble to the image.
There is some fringing and chromatic aberration visible on still and video images. This becomes especially noticeable on areas of high and low contrast. For example, trees against the sky can have halo effects, while purple fringing is sometimes noticeable.
During recording, the screen turns itself off. You can see that the camera is still recording, though, thanks to the flashing LED on the back of the device.
Audio recording is decent. Though the sound is muted while in the waterproof case, it is still much clearer than the other two cameras we tested, the X80 and Navig8r Sports Camera.
If you are on a budget, the Kogan Action Camera is one of the best buys under AU$150.