There's always a struggle between size and battery life when it comes to action cams. The smaller the camera, the smaller the battery needs to be. And even if you have a bigger battery, that doesn't guarantee long recording times. But if there's one company that can find the right balance, it's DJI. After years of squeezing out a few extra minutes of flight for its drones, DJI knows batteries.
The company's latest action cam, the Osmo Action 3, uses a new 1,770-mAh Extreme battery. It's a reasonably small and lightweight battery, but DJI says it'll get up to 160 minutes of recording time. Granted, that's recording 1080p video at 30 frames per second with its front and rear touchscreens off and electronic image stabilization disabled and at a temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius).
Still, you should be able to get a good amount of video out of a single charge, and it can be quickly charged to 80% in 18 minutes or 100% in 50 minutes. The pack is also designed to work in cold temps, down to as low as minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 20 degrees Celsius). DJI also made a clever three-battery charging case that can double as a power bank for charging a phone or other devices.
The other major feature is something carried over from the Action 2.that uses magnetic clips to help hold the modules together and connect to quick-release mounts and accessories. Those magnetic quick-release mounts are what DJI uses for the Osmo Action 3. A mount can connect directly to the bottom of the camera, or you can slip it into the included protective frame and attach a mount to the side of the camera for vertical video.
The rest of the Osmo Action 3 isn't too different from its predecessor with one key exception. Behind the lens is a 1/1.7-inch sensor and with it, the camera can shoot video at up to 4K at 120 frames per second, 2.7K at 120fps and 1080p at 240fps. Time-lapse and hyperlapse (aka motion time-lapse) clips are also possible at up to 4K and live stream at up to 1080p at 30fps. However, overheating was an issue with the Action 2, so DJI redesigned the heat management for the Action 3 and it can record 4K at 60fps continuously until the battery dies, DJI said.
The company's RockSteady electronic image stabilization and HorizonSteady tilt correction are available too. There's a HorizonBalancing feature that DJI calls a middle ground between those two, correcting horizontal tilt within 45 degrees for 4K videos at 60fps.
The Osmo Action 3 is available in two different packages. The $329 (£309, AU$519) Standard Combo includes the camera, an Extreme battery, the protective frame, a quick-release adapter mount and a flat adhesive base. For $439 (£399, AU$719), you can get the Adventure Combo which adds two more batteries and the multifunctional battery case as well as one more quick-release adapter to the Standard package.