Hands-on Review of the Akaso EK7000 4K Action Camera

If you're looking for a GoPro alternative at a lower price, the Akaso EK7000 is worth a look. It doesn't have the same bells and whistles as a GoPro, but it's a surprisingly good action cam.

The Akaso EK7000 looks a lot like a GoPro. It works a lot like a GoPro. The videos and photos look similar to the ones coming out of GoPro cameras. But here’s the kicker: it’s priced at just a fraction of a GoPro.

From the design of the camera to the packaging materials, this is clearly a GoPro knockoff. It does basically the same things. 4K video–check. Timelapse, burst mode, and still photos–check. Built-in wifi–check. Comes with a waterproof housing (rated down to 100 feet / 30 meters)–check. It’s basically the identical size as a GoPro, and its design is uncannily similar. And it even uses the same GoPro mount connection system.

One of the challenges that GoPro has faced in recent years is knockoffs. After basically inventing the action camera market, GoPro has run into competition, both from premium manufacturers like Sony, Nikon, and Garmin that bring their own expertise and innovation to the concept but also from overseas manufacturers who can copy the GoPro cameras without copying GoPro’s premium pricing. Some are better than others–some are even downright terrible.

After playing with the EK7000 for a while, I can say that this is one of the better [low-cost GoPro competitors(https://havecamerawilltravel.com/gopro/gopro-competitors-alternatives/). It’s one of the GoPro competitors that has taken off in popularity, and after playing with it for a while I can see why. It shoots 4K video (at 25fps), takes 12MP still photos, comes with a waterproof housing, and uses the same mounting system. It’s even packaged the same way a GoPro is packaged, with the distinctive clear perspex bubble on top. But it’s simpler to use. And it’s much cheaper.

If you haven’t heard of the brand before, you’re not alone. I hadn’t either. They seem to market an odd assortment of products. The EXIF data embedded by the camera refers to it as a Sunplus SP5K Series Digital Camera, and you can also find what appears to be the same camera marketed under different brand names. There’s also an EK7000 Pro model, which includes a touchscreen and video stabilization. I have a detailed comparison of the EK7000 and EK7000 Pro separately.

There are four shooting modes: video, still photos, burst photos, timelapse. I’ll go into each of these in more detail below.

Shooting Video with the Akaso EK7000

The Akaso EK7000 doesn’t have many choices for the video modes, but it covers several of the most common sizes and frame rates.

Resolutions and Framerates. 4K mode is limited to 25fps, not the more common 30fps. It’s a somewhat odd choice–25fps is the standard for PAL, although that’s less important if you’re sharing the videos digitally online which, let’s face it, is what most of us do anyway. If you want to do slow-motion, there’s a 120fps setting in the 720p size. There are no different settings for fields of view–it’s all a single wide-angle perspective.

The video quality is quite decent, though generally not up to the quality of the latest GoPros. It works best in bright, clear conditions and less well in lower light.

Here’s the full list of its resolutions and corresponding framerates and bitrates:

ResolutionFramerateBitrate Megabits/sAspect RatioDimensions
4K256016:93840x2160
2.7K306016:92704x1524
1080p602216:91920x1080
301716:91920x1080
720p1202816:91280x720
601516:91280x720

Stabilization. The Akaso EK7000 doesn’t have any in-camera stabilization, a feature that some of the premium action cams from GoPro and Sony have been pushing hard. Stabilization helps you get smoother footage right out of the camera. Without that feature built in, if you want smoother footage from the Akaso your best approaches are to use a good gimbal or to apply corrections when post-processing the footage.

UPDATE: Since I originally posted this review, they’ve come out with a new version (also called the EK7000) that does have EIS, or video stabilization. You can find the new model here.

Taking Photos with the Akaso EK7000

The Akaso EK7000 can shoot photos up to 12MP measuring 4608×2592 pixels. Those are in the 16:9 aspect ratio, which is most commonly used for video recording (more traditional aspect ratios for stills photos are 3:2 or 4:3). You can also reduce the size down to 4MP. The files come out as standard JPGs (there’s no RAW).

There’s only the one field of view: a standard Wide mode. It’s not as wide as with GoPros. Here’s a side-by-side example, with one shot with a GoPro HERO6 Black and the other shot with the Akaso EK7000.

[before-after viewer_position=”center” orientation=”horizontal” label_position=”one” overlay_color=”#ffffff”  label_color=”#000000″ label_one=”GoPro HERO6 Black” label_two=”Akaso EK7000″]


[/before-after]

Here are the available options for shooting photos:

SettingResolution
12MP Wide4608x2592
8MP Wide3760x2120
5MP Wide2976x1672
4MP Wide2648x1504

Burst Photos with the Akaso EK7000

The burst mode shoots a quick sequence of still images. It’s useful for fast-moving action when you want to increase the chances you’ll capture the fleeting moment you’re after.

The burst mode on the EK7000 takes 3 photos over the course of 1.5 seconds.

Shooting Timelapse Photos with the Akaso EK7000

In the timelapse mode, you can capture a series of JPG photos. There’s no timelapse video option that compiles the video in the camera. Instead, you’ll have to do it the old-school way: download the sequence of images to your computer and then use time-lapse compiling software to turn them into a video file.

The available choices for the interval between the shots are: 2, 3, 5, 10, 20, 30, and 60 seconds.

Battery Life of the EK7000

In general, action cams don’t have very good battery life. The Akaso EK7000 sticks to that trend, but I was actually pleasantly surprised by how well it did. I ran some tests, and at 4K25 and 1080p30, I’ve been getting around 1 hour and 40 minutes, give or take, before the battery dies. For the 4K setting, that’s actually slightly above some of its competitors. At 1080p30, which generally places lower demands on the battery, it’s on a par with competitors or a shade on the lower side.

Overall, then, the battery life is pretty unremarkable in comparison with other action cams. You won’t be blown away by superior battery life, but then again it also comes with a spare battery which can be put to good use.

To maximize the battery life, leave the wifi turned off, don’t use the mobile app, and minimize the amount of viewing on the back screen.

It’s also worth mentioning that lithium batteries don’t perform well in very cold or very warm temperatures. That’s not unique to this camera–it applies to all lithium batteries. So if you’re out filming in the winter cold and find that you’re not getting much use out of the battery, that might be why. You can try to keep the battery a bit warmer to help. An inside pocket of a jacket works great, but obviously do not under any circumstances put it near a flame, oven, or microwave! When lithium batteries burn, they burn exceptionally intensely.

Batteries

In a nice touch, the camera comes with two 1050mAh batteries, so you have a spare. It also comes with a dual dock charger. You can buy more spares separately if you need them.

Basic Controls

If you’ve used a GoPro before you’ll pick this up quickly. In fact, it’s actually a bit simpler in some ways because there are more buttons, so it’s a bit more intuitive for moving through the menu screens.

It’s all pretty straightforward. On the side of the camera are up and down arrows buttons. The power button on the front of the camera changes the mode. The shutter button makes a selection.

The menu is simple but gets the job done. You can scroll through to change the settings and modes.

Unlike most of the GoPros, there’s no LCD screen on the front of the camera. The large screen on the back is used for a live view, playback, and menu operation. It’s not a touch screen. (There is an EK7000 Pro model that does have a touch screen.)

Mobile App

You can connect to the camera using the iSmart DV app, which is a general utility mobile app that is compatible with this camera. It’s available for IOS and Android.

Its interface looks quite a lot like the GoPro app, although it doesn’t have quite the same polish. There’s a preview of what the lens is seeing. You can start and stop recording or take photos. And you can adjust the resolutions and shooting modes and view photos and footage.

It’s not perfect–I did have it lose the connection from time to time (something I also sometimes get with the GoPro app, for that matter)–but it mostly worked just fine.

It’s worth mentioning that you obviously have to enable wifi on the camera to use the mobile app. In one of the shooting modes, press the down button on the side of the camera to toggle the wifi on and off.

Remote Control of the Akaso EK7000

In another nice touch, the camera comes with a small 2.4GHz wireless remote control included. It’s splash proof but not waterproof. It has two holes for straps on its sides, and there’s a velcro wrist strap included so you can wear it like a watch or wrap it around a selfie stick.

This is simpler than a typical GoPro remote. It has two buttons, one for taking a photo and one for starting and stopping the video. It also has two indicator lights that provide feedback. It also beeps.

But I actually liked its simplicity. As much as I like the functionality of GoPro remotes, I don’t like having to pair them constantly. With the remote with the Akaso EK7000, there’s no pairing needed–it just works. You don’t even have to put the camera into wifi mode.

There are, however, downsides. It’s very basic. There’s no way to change the settings from the remote. You can switch between modes by simply clicking on the corresponding button, but you can’t change the resolutions, for instance.

Here’s how to use it.

Video. Make sure the camera is in video mode. To start recording, press the grey button. It will beep once to acknowledge. To stop recording, press the grey button again. It will beep once again.

Photos. To take a photo, press the red button.

Burst Photos. Put the camera in Burst Photo mode. Press the red button.

Timelapse. Put the camera in Timelapse mode with Continuous Lapse. Press the red button.

There’s no way to charge the remote, and to replace the internal battery involves removing four small screws. I haven’t yet depleted the battery in the remote, so I’m not sure what its expected battery life is.

Memory Cards / Recommendations

It doesn’t come with a memory card, so you’ll need to pick that up separately. It takes a microSD card (both microSDHC and microSDXC).

The instruction manual isn’t especially helpful in recommendations for the SD card. It says that it should be at least a Class 10 card, but in practice, you’ll probably find most of those cards too slow for the high-bitrate (60 Mbps) recording at 4K. So I’d recommend at least a U1 card, and preferably a U3 or V30 card. It also says that it works with cards up to 32GB, but I’ve put in a 128GB microSDXC card and had no issues.

So if you’re looking to pick up a memory card for this camera, the SanDisk Extreme cards offer a good combination of price, availability, and performance.

If you want some other choices, any of the cards that work in the GoPro HERO7 Black will also work in this one, and you can find some recommendations here.

Charging Cables and Connections

It charges with a micro-USB connection. It comes with the micro-USB cable. It doesn’t come with an AC wall adapter, but you can use pretty much any USB adapter you have lying around, or an external power brick, for that matter. It’s not compatible with the newer USB-C PD fast-charging options.

There is also an HDMI output. I had trouble getting it to work, but I confess I haven’t spent much time messing with that feature.

Other Accessories for the Akaso EK7000

In terms of accessories, you can use many of the ones that work with GoPros. That’s true of any mounting accessories like clips, harnesses, selfie sticks, float grips, and clamps.

For housings, it’s very similar to the housings for the HERO4 Silver and Black models, but there’s a slightly different alignment of the lens. Some housings might be interchangeable, but it’s going to vary case by case.

The batteries are not the same as the ones in GoPros. You can find spares here.

External powerbricks that connect via a USB cable will work just fine. External GoPro batteries that plug into the camera directly, such as the BacPac models, will not work on this camera.

What’s in the Box?

It comes with a waterproof housing. It does not with a microSD card. You’ll need to get that separately. I’ve put together some recommendations for a memory card for the Akaso EK7000 here. If you just want a quick recommendation, go with the SanDisk Extreme.

One of the nice touches with this one is that it comes with a surprising amount of stuff to get you started. There’s an assortment of clips, straps, small mounts, tethers, a wireless remote control, and two batteries and a charging dock for them.

It doesn’t come with some of the larger accessories like grips, chest harnesses, or a case. You can get some of those things as part of very reasonably priced starter bundles like this one.

Akaso EK7000 Manual

You can find the user manual for the Akaso EK7000 here [PDF].

Wrap-Up

The Akaso EK7000 isn’t going to score any points for creativity or innovation. In many respects, it’s quite basic. If you’re comparing it to the latest GoPros like the HERO7 Black, there’s a lot of features it doesn’t have. There’s no voice control or built-in stabilization. And it requires a separate case to be waterproof. So it lacks the bells and whistles of higher-end action cameras like the GoPro HERO7 Black or Sony FDR-X3000.

But where the EK7000 scores a lot of points is when it comes to value for money. It’s priced at a fraction of most of the GoPros and their big-brand competitors. And that’s a big deal.

So if you’re after an action camera but want something much more budget-friendly and can do without the bells and whistles of the latest and greatest cameras, the Akaso EK7000 is well worth a look.

Where to Buy

You can find the Akaso EK7000 at Amazon. It comes in a few colors (silver, black, and bright blue).

And if you’re after a slightly upgraded version for not much extra, check out the EK7000 Pro.

Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2020-05-27 at 01:28. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon Site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

More GoPro Tips & Tricks:

This post was last modified on July 14, 2019 1:36 pm

View Comments

  • Absolutely useless, I got to use on my bike as a helmet cam, recorded 5 minutes and then it stopped, no seating to change it or even make it continue to record, so out of 30 minutes on the bike I have 5 minutes recording, you actually need to manually press record.
    So unles you tell me how to get rid of that setup I'm not recommending it to anyone.

  • Hello, my question is for when pulling the video onto a computer and I'm trying to edit. In my video editing program (Camtasia), it will not read video and when I try to reformat the video file, it is choppy and not good at all..., but the file directly off my memory card and from the app run great. Have you had any experience close to this and any suggestions?

    Thanks,
    Zack

    • It's been a long time since I used Camtasia, so I'm not very familiar with how it does things. But more often than not, issues like that are related to playback on the computer and aren't an indication that there's something wrong with the underlying video file. Many video editing apps create a proxy version for editing that uses less resources when playing back, so that it's smoother. And some apps will stutter while it's rendering in the background. So the first thing I'd do is look for options in Camtasia's settings related to proxy files and background rendering.

  • Great write up. You've answered many of my questions. One remains however. I want to use a camera in the cockpit of my plane and models of GoPro have a mini port and a custom cable allows an interface between camera and one side of the audio in the plane. It allow recording of the audio between the pilot and the air traffic controllers. Is there a port to allow capturing audio from another source or just the camera own microphones?

  • Suppose to be able to use as a dash cam but all I get when plugging it in is its connecting, tried with and without battery.

  • I got mine from Walmart.com. They too have them in black, silver and blue. I don’t know how much Amazon wants but I paid $59.99 for mine. I still have to get an sd card for it though.

  • Hi, I purchased an Akaso EK7000 Pro and purchased the below SD card for its memory:

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Samsung-plus-64GB-micro-SD-SDXC-Class-10-memory-card-with-Adp-Genuine-4K-U3/153251447882?epid=6026658700&hash=item23ae7f844a:g:N-8AAOSws5pZJyDd

    For some reason when choosing the video resolution the only options I have to select are 1080p/30fps and 720p/60fps whereas options such as 4k/25fps, 2.7k/30fps and 1080p/60fps are all greyed out which do not give me an option to select. Do you know why this might be?

    • It shouldn't have anything to do with the memory card because you can set those without a card inserted. Do you have stabilization enabled? That only works up to 1080p60. If so, you can turn the stabilization off and then should be able to choose 4K. More info here.

  • The audio seems quiet to me. I am using the Akaso to video meetings. Turning computer volume up to max and it is still hard to hear. Is there an external mic or just adjust the positioning of the camera??

  • We bought this camera a few days ago and we shot it while scuba diving at Key West with 45 feet visibility. Perfect conditions. Clear as a bell. The footage from the camera I’m looking at now in the iSmart app looks like 1990s security camera footage. It’s all blown out. It’s green when the water wasn’t green. No dynamic range at all. Seriously, I’m extremely disappointed. Went with my son on his first scuba dive.

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