Apeman A80 Review

Score

Pros

  • Excellent value
  • Huge bundle of mounting options and carry case
  • Good near-4K video quality

Cons

  • Not full 4K resolution
  • Smartphone app won’t connect

Key Features

  • Review Price: £67.77
  • Sony sensor
  • MP4 recording at up to 4K/2,880 x 2,160 at 24Mbits/sec
  • 2-inch LCD screen
  • Waterproof casing up to 30m
  • Comprehensive mounting bundle and carry case
  • Wi-Fi remote control functions via smartphone
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What is the Apeman A80?

The A80 is a 4K action camera from Apeman with a very keen price. It’s another value-oriented device in a similar vein to the GoXtreme Vision 4K, and in fact bears more than a passing resemblance to the latter both in terms of appearance and specification. But the A80 is even cheaper and comes with an even more generous bundle that the GoXtreme alternative.

Related: Best action cameras

Apeman A80 – Specification

Apeman doesn’t divulge the internal specification of the A80, but the sensor is large enough for 4K video, which it shoots at 24fps (frames per second). There’s also QHD (2,560 x 1,440) at 30fps, 1080p at 30 or 60fps, and 720p at 30, 60 and 120fps. You can even choose WVGA at 30 fps. These are exactly the same as the GoXtreme Vision 4K.

The A80 also looks physically very similar. The textured exterior and lens are the same, as are the menu buttons on the side. The top button is identical too, but the front button is orange. The same battery type is used, and the catch on the door covering the battery would be interchangeable with GoXtreme’s version.

The 4K footage is actually captured at 2,880 x 2,160, just like the GoXtreme Vision 4K, and uses a 24Megabits/sec data rate, which is a bit low for this resolution. So a 16GB MicroSD card will be enough for 89 minutes of footage. The A80 can also capture stills at up to 20 Megapixels (MP), which is higher than the GoXtreme Vision 4K’s 16MP, although I suspect both involve interpolation. It’s highly likely that the circuitry inside the A80 is as similar as the exterior.

Apeman A80 – Bundle

The GoXtreme action cameras differentiate themselves by offering a comprehensive accessory bundle, and the Apeman A80 goes a little bit further. For starters, the device and its accessories are delivered in a handy zipping padded case. Inside, the camcorder is delivered inside its waterproof housing, which is rated to withstand a depth of 30m. This includes a clip-mount for use with the two adhesive plates supplied.

There’s another open mount with standard tripod screw fittings top and bottom. There’s a shirt clip that will slide into the back of this. Three different extension arms are included, and there’s an adapter to screw this into a standard tripod. There’s also a screw adapter so you can use the open mount with these arms.

A clamp mount is included for fitting to a car roll cage or handlebars. The pouch in the padded case includes a couple more adhesive patches, plus a metal wire for securing the camcorder should the mount fail. There’s a pack of cable ties and another pack of Velcro straps.

Best of all, there are two batteries included, each promising an hour of 4K shooting or two of Full HD. They use a standard format too, so you can easily purchase more. Overall, although the GoXtreme bundle is generous, Apeman goes just that little bit further.

Apeman A80 – Shooting Options and Wi-Fi

The A80 has a two-inch LCD screen on the rear, and this allows full control over the camera settings via the menu and various buttons. The menu itself has a different design to GoXtreme’s, although the features are mostly the same. Aside from changing the resolution, you can loop recording using files of three, five or 10 minutes’ duration, like a dashcam. There’s a ‘Gyroscope’, which is an electronic image stabilisation system, but this only works for video at Full HD resolution or below, not 4K or QHD.

Strangely, an Anti-Shaking mode is available doing something similar for photos, although this works at every still image resolution. Wide dynamic range is an option at all resolutions, and timelapse with intervals from 100ms to five seconds. There’s a motion detection option, so you can use the A80 as a security camera that only records when something moves. You can toggle audio recording and whether your footage is stamped with the date.

A useful option is the ability to change the angle of view between 70, 110, 140 and 170 degrees, although this only affects video footage. Action cameras generally use a very wide angle, so having the option of a much narrower field provides options. There’s a Diving mode that adjust colours for underwater shooting, and a Night Scene option that appears to boost the video gain.

The camera mode has a self-timer with a delay of 2-20 seconds. There’s a burst mode for capturing multiple photos when shooting action. There are three still image quality options, but the three sharpness options affect video as well. As well as auto mode, there are four white balance presets, including two for artificial lighting and two for outdoors.

There are a few limited controls over the image. You can apply black-and-white or sepia effects, and switch the ISO from automatic to a value between 100 and 400. The exposure can be set between +2 and –2 EV in 13 steps. It’s also possible to set the base frame rate from NTSC to PAL (25 fps), and also choose 50 or 60Hz shutter frequency to compensate for screen or artificial light flicker.

Amazingly, considering the price, the A80 has built-in Wi-Fi, although Apeman doesn’t seem to supply its own app. Instead, the manual recommends you download an app for iOS and Android called FinalCam. However, although I was able to connect an iPhone to the WiFi on the A80, and FinalCam then detected the camera, resetting the latter’s date and time, it never seemed to connect properly so I could use the app’s control functions.

Apeman A80 – Image Quality

Although the data rate is a little low for the top resolution, the footage is still relatively clear, with a good level of detail and colour fidelity. Despite the wide dynamic range option, however, the A80 isn’t that great at capturing the details in bright areas where there is high contrast. Nevertheless, considering that this is a £70 action camera, image quality is decent for the money.

The 20MP photos use a resolution of 5,120 x 3,840. Without knowing the details of the sensor, there’s no indication whether this resolution uses interpolation. But the still images have a good level of detail, with grain only visible when you zoom in. Obviously, the wide angle distorts nearby objects quite a bit, so distant landscape shots would be a better use.

Should I buy the Apeman A80?

The Apeman A80 is another amazing-value action camera along the lines of the GoXtreme units I’ve seen in the last few months. It has a slightly better bundle than the Vision 4K, but the fact that the smartphone app doesn’t seem to work is a disappointment. The image quality is pretty good for the money, essentially the same as the GoXtreme Vision 4K, making this a bargain for those whose budgets won’t stretch to a GoPro.

Verdict

The Apeman A80 combines a very generous peripheral bundle and decent quasi-4K image quality for a keen price.

Score

Score in detail

  • Design 9
  • Image Quality 8
  • Features 8
  • Value 10
  • Perfomance 8