When it comes to cheap gadgets, the mantra is usually "you get what you pay for". There's no better example than the Navig8r Sports Camera.
Design and features
The Navig8r cameras come in a variety of flavours from 720p recording to a Full HD "pro" kit. This review is for the 1080p version that sits in the middle of the range.
The Navig8r looks cheaper than its fellow inexpensive counterparts, such as the Kaiser Baas X80 and Kogan Action Camera. There's a lot of plastic, cheap flaps and a lightweight body build. To further this impression, our review unit actually shipped without one of the key components to the accessory kit — the main helmet mount itself.
Some awkward makeshift mounts ensued, including our particular favourite — gaffer-tape mount. Read: stick the camera to whatever surface we can with lots and lots of tape.
Fortunately, there is a standard tripod thread on both the camera and the waterproof case itself. The camera should ship with the following items in the box:
Helmet mount and strap
Waterproof housing, adhesive mount and safety tether
On top of the helmet mount going missing, the suction-cup mount also broke during our review period. The nut that was holding the joint in place simply fell out when we weren't looking, which made it impossible to tighten the screw.
The waterproof casing is also a little less resistant to the elements than competing models, only able to be submerged up to 3 metres underwater.
Around the back of the camera is a 2.4-inch resistive touchscreen, as well as a button that turns the display on and off as needed. At the top, two physical buttons are used to turn the camera on and off, as well as to start and stop video recording or still images.
Digital image stabilisation is built into the camera. Video recording is at 1080/30p or 720/60p, and it can also snap 5-megapixel still images. The lens has a 120 degree fixed field of view, while connectivity is via mini HDMI and mini USB. The camera accepts microSD cards.
This camera records in AVI, which means that if you want to edit the footage in a non-linear editor after the fact, you may have some difficulty in transcoding footage. However, if you just want to upload your adventures to YouTube, you will have no problems.
Image and video quality
Of the three inexpensive action cameras we have tested, the Navig8r easily delivered the worst video quality of the lot. The image is overly saturated, so colours are much more vibrant and comic than they are in reality. There is a lot of detail that is smudged and lost from the image because the lens is far from sharp.
The touchscreen also makes it very difficult to change any particular setting. Rather than having a physical menu button or a menu icon on the screen, you have to tap around to try to work out how to change any attribute. It's a frustrating experience that means more often than not, you will just end up leaving the camera in video-recording mode on default settings.
It is difficult to assess audio quality because the recording level is so soft. That means the microphone only picks up vibration noise when the camera is inside its waterproof housing and very subtle sounds when it is out of the housing.
The Navig8r Sports Camera looks good on paper but is let down by below-average video quality and cheap mounting options.