The Best Value 4k Action Camera in 2019 — OLFI One5 Review

The OLFI one5 4k is actually the second generation action camera from the UK outfit. It boasts a 16 megapixels Sony exmor-r CMOS sensor, that can record video at 4k 24 frames per second, 1080p 60fps and if you want to do super slow-mo it can do that at 120 FPS but only at 720p.

It comes packed with a huge host of features for a small budget action camera; you have time lapse and video lapse modes, you of course have photo mode and burst photo, you have things like motion detection and loop recording. It also has an awesome LED display and built-in image stabilization.

Connectivity wise the OLFI one5 also has the microUSB and micro-hdmi that you’d expect with a small camera and also Wi-Fi connectivity which allows you to use your mobile devices as a remote for this camera, and also use the olfi app to capture your footage off the camera directly onto your mobile device.

The camera standard also comes packed with all the accessories you would ever want for an action camera, which is interesting as GoPro now seem to be leaving this out of their hero models. You have all the normal 3m pads and mounts that you’d expect, as well as a waterproof case. It also comes bundled with a really good quality 32GB SD card.

THE GOOD BITS

The build quality is the first thing you’re going to notice when you open this thing up from new, and it is really very good. The build quality throughout, including all the accessories and even things like braided cables are really testament to how much quality Olfi put into the build of this device.

Now it weighs a mere 60 grams and stands at five by four centimeters in size, so it may look a little flimsy, but actually it feels incredibly premium in hand. It’s truly a very hardy construction, it has a rubberized exterior and even the action on the buttons feels quite good; if far outstrips is £150 price point.

The next really good bit about this action camera is how easy it is to use. It has a really clear and simple to use menu system and functions, which for an action camera is incredibly important. You’re going to be using this camera in fast-moving and high paced environments and that means you’re gonna have to work quickly, so having a camera that’s easy to use is really important. This is also clearly helped by the LED display on the back, it’s very bright, very clear and the menus within a very easy to navigate throughout. This is aided even further by that Wi-Fi connectivity that we were talking about earlier, allowing you to use your mobile device to act as a remote for the device itself. So that connectivity and ease of use is really at the forefront with this little action camera.

Next up and this was a real surprise for me is the actual audio quality for this camera. Now typically action cameras suffer dramatically with having poor audio, even premium GoPro’s suffer with this but the sound you get from the Olfi straight from the camera is surprisingly very good. It does a great job at picking out the human voice in most environments and just seems to be a very usable audio quality. I would go as far as to say that you could actually use this as a cheap budget vlogging setup, the audio quality is that passable.

THE BAD BITS

My list of bad points is drawn up from the limitations that you get with all action cameras. They’re tiny robust, rugged little cameras that you put in places that you wouldn’t put a dedicated video DSLR. As such there’s always key compromises that are made to things like audio quality, video quality, video bitrate etc, there’s always something that’s going to suffer and the Olfi One5 is no exception to this. The first one of those key compromises is the battery size. For a camera this size your battery size is always going to be an issue, you’ve got a 900mAh battery inside the one5. That allows for around 90 minutes of record time, so for sure that’s long enough to capture pretty much any action scenario but it is still something you’re going have to be mindful of. Even with that said when you compare it to its branded alternative that’s almost double what the battery life you’d get from their latest model.

Talking of GoPro the Olfi one5 will undoubtedly get compared to the GoPro Hero 7 Black and in truth that’s an unfair comparison. The hero 7 Black is around twice the price of the Olfi one5 but yet this camera stands up to it in a lot of ways. For sure this doesn’t have that hypersmooth stabilization or the awesome 240fps slow-mo that you’d get the GoPro, but this is a perfectly priced action camera that far outstrips its competition at the same price point.

The other compromises that are made with an action camera this small are the things you would typically expect, like dynamic range & video bitrate and yes they are noticeable if you were to put the video side-by-side with a dedicated video camera. But a dedicated video camera this is not, this is an action camera, this is a camera you’re gonna put in environments and situations that are incredibly rugged and high paced and likely to get damaged. Angles that you would never consider putting a dedicated video camera within, so for that and in many ways this is the perfect priced action camera.

Summary

I’m by far a fan of action cameras, in fact right up until the GoPro Hero seven Black I actively disliked them. But what we’ve seen at the end of 2018 and into 2019 is a shift happening, a shift where you can get decent quality video in a rugged palm-sized action camera form. The fact that you can now get so much feature-wise and quality-wise in a camera that costs only £150 is genuinely exciting for all video makers. The Olfi One5 being placed at that price point is equally as exciting as it now allows you to get that decent quality video, in those rugged high pace environments that action cameras should without the worry of destroying your 500 pound camera as it dangles at the side of your car.

So in many ways the Olfi One5 really is the best bang for buck action camera in 2019.

OLFI One5 4k
UK: https://amzn.to/2GSJ2Ar
US: https://amzn.to/2GIiCQx

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