Though there is one very big, very important name in the action camera space, there are plenty of cheaper alternatives out there to woo buyers. One of these is the AU$149.95 X80 from Kaiser Baas, which has the ability to record all your thrills and spills in 1080/30p glory.
Design and features
It's clear that the GoPro has had more than a passing influence on the design of many of these cheaper alternatives. The X80 is no exception. See the box of the X80 on a store shelf and you would be excused for confusing it with an actual GoPro, down to the shape and size of the packaging.
Then there is the mounting system itself, which uses the same screw and thread system as GoPro cameras. This makes it compatible with many existing accessories on the market.
The camera itself also shares the same two-button operation and waterproof casing as the more expensive action camera. Pressing and holding the power button will turn the camera on and off, while a single, short press enters into the menu system to change settings. The Shoot button does exactly what it says on the tin: commences and stops recording.
Shaped like a small square, the X80 is relatively compact but is actually heavier than many of the other competing models on the market. This may be something to consider if you want to ensure your action camera stays as unobtrusive as possible. The lens offers a fixed field of view of 120 degrees.
What does set the X80 apart from the GoPro is that it has a 2-inch colour LCD screen at the back so you can see what is being filmed. Unless you buy the optional BacPac LCD screen or hook up the more expensive camera to a smartphone to act as a remote viewfinder, you are unable to see exactly what the GoPro is shooting.
Included in the box of the X80 is the waterproof casing, which allows you to go down to depths of 30 metres underwater, plus bike, flat and curved mounts.
Connectivity is via mini HDMI and mini USB. The X80 accepts microSD cards up to 32GB. The battery is rated for 2.5 hours of recording time.
The X80 records video clips in 1080/30p, 720/60p or 480/120p. The output format is MP4 (H.264). Images are captured at 12, 8, 5 or 3 megapixels, though the 12-megapixel resolution is interpolated rather than natively captured.
There are a few in-camera options to set, such as white balance, which can be applied to photos and videos. Presets include daylight; cloudy; tungsten; fluorescent; or automatic, which is selected by default.
Image and video quality
The X80 had a few troubles in the testing process, which makes us unable to award it full points on the reliability front. There were three occasions when the camera froze completely when recording video and did not respond to the power button or the shoot button at all. It took a minute before it registered the command and turned the camera off. There is no option for a hard reset because the battery is not removable.
Unfortunately, as a result of the camera freezing, the footage we recorded was lost. This happened for both photos and videos on the camera.
When the camera did decide to work, the footage was decent for a camera of this price. The image is reasonably sharp, while colours are OK and movement is reasonably fluid. On default settings, the screen stays active all the time during recording, which does affect battery life.
Note that the date stamp is turned on by default, so make sure to switch this off if you don't want it overlaid on photos and videos.
Audio from the built-in microphone is very soft and muted when the camera is in the waterproof case. In fact, the mic is hardly able to pick up any sound except for vibration noise and audio captured when touching the camera directly.
The X80 produces decent videos for action adventurers given its price, but reliability issues make it hard to recommend.