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

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MSRP: $176.88

The Good The Monoprice MHD Sport Wifi is an excellent value for an action cam, giving you almost everything you need to go out and shoot some POV video on dry land or in the water.

The Bad Shooting options are just the basics, and you'll need to supply a microSD card for storage.

The Bottom Line An inexpensive option for capturing your exploits for YouTube, the Monoprice MHD Sport Wifi offers just enough value to make it an entry-level action cam worth considering.

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7.0 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 8
  • Performance 7
  • Image quality 6

When Monoprice announced the MHD Sport Wifi action camera in November 2013, it was pretty hard to ignore that it looked an awful lot like the DXG IronX HD.

And that's because it is the IronX HD -- or at least a version of it. While Monoprice doesn't discuss its manufacturer partners, a quick look at the EXIF data of a photo taken with the camera confirms that it's a DXG 5G9V.

Like that camera, the MHD Sport Wifi is more attractive for what you get for your money than the quality of its video and photos. However, the video from the Monoprice looks a touch better than the DXG branded model. Also, although it started out priced at $178, Monoprice frequently puts it on sale for less. At the time of the review, it was down to $150.35, which includes everything you'll need to get you started except for a microSD card for storage.

The MHD Sport is similar in design to a GoPro in that it's a tiny, boxy camera that needs a housing of some sort in order to be mounted. In this case, 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 and back have T-tip adapters built in so that the housing can easily be attached to the included T-tip swivel plate. This plate then slides into the curved or flat adhesive fittings that are included for mounting the camera to different surfaces.

The T-tip adapters also have 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 the camera is sealed up in the housing; a Micro-USB; a USB power adapter for charging the camera; a security tether; and a lens cap. And to top it all off, there's a simple RF wrist remote that lets you start and stop recordings and take pictures (there are colored LED lights on the camera's side let you know when you are recording).

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you're worried that because this isn't a GoPro there will be a shortage of mounts, don't be. Monoprice sells several options that use the T-tip adapter mount (head, chest, handbar, rollbar, rail, and suction cup) as well as a T-tip connector that's compatible with mounts for GoPro's housings. Plus, unlike the DXG package, the Monoprice comes with a 1/4-inch 20-thread adapter for tripod mounts.

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. Up front is an f2.8 15mm lens (35mm equivalent), which gives you a wide 110 degree angle of view when shooting in full HD.

On the left side you'll find a Micro-USB port that's used for charging as well as for transferring videos and photos to an external storage device. There's also a mic jack for use with an external microphone (not included) should you want better audio than you'll get with the built-in mono mic. However, the included housing doesn't allow access to the jack; you'll have to get Monoprice's simple camera holder to mount the camera and use the jack.

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 of up to 32GB. Given all that the camera does come with, it's a bit of a surprise that a memory card isn't included, which is really the only thing that prevents the MHD Sport Wifi from being ready to go out of the box.

Sarah Tew/CNET

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.

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