Hindsight’s a terrible thing – it’s easy to see how GoPro got into so much trouble, struggling to break into new markets while competitors can offer action cams at a fraction of the cost of a ‘proper’ GoPro.
The commodification of the action camera
Case in point: the MGCool Explorer ES. It’s a cutdown version of the company’s 4K-capable cameras that shoots video in HD at up to 60fps or 18MP still frames. The fixed lens features a FOV of 170°, there’s a 2″ screen on the back to help composition and the camera comes with a waterproof case that offers protection down to 30m.
There’s a companion app – the website promises ‘comprehensive control’ of the camera over WiFi with a preview window to see what you’re shooting. The included 1050mAh battery offers a claimed 80 minutes of operation and there’s also a ‘car mode’ for using the camera in a vehicle (or on a bike helmet) that records continuously, writing over the MicroSD card when it’s full.
Priced to sell
But here’s the main attraction: the MGCool Explorer ES is expected to sell for just $35 US. Ironically the main competition for the Explorer ES is from the company’s higher end cameras – if you’re willing to shell out $15 more you can get a 4K-capable version of the camera rather than one that’s limited to HD resolution.
We’ve not tested the picture quality of the Explorer ES ourselves – and the promotional material on the MGCool website is a little unclear as to how it was shot – but if you’re looking for a cheap (dare I say it, disposable?) action camera it certainly looks like it should be on your shortlist.
How’s your Chinese?
At the moment you can order it for a discounted $32.99 US on Chinese website banggood.com – but if you’re not fluent yourself we’d expect it to crop up on other distributors like GearBest.com in due course.