Action cameras are undoubtedly cool and the thought of using a small, compact, matchbox-sized camera that costs less but film better than many digital cameras is quite unbelievable. But there’s one problem.
There are way too many action cameras with similar specs, body, features and that means for someone new to this (like you), it can be quite a daunting task to find the one that suits your needs and budget.
Therefore, if you are looking for the best action camera for your next vacation or overseas trip, but are overwhelmed with the umpteen choices you have, you’re in the right place! Without further ado, let’s run through the best cheap action cameras under $200 of 2019! Oh and if you’re interested, at the bottom, I’ve included how I ranked and chose the different action cams!
Best Action Cameras Under 200 2019
1. Xiaomi Mijia 4k – Extremely User-Friendly Due To Intuitive User Interface
This camera, similar to Yi 4K was a huge hit when it was released on the market.
When the Mijia 4K was first released, it was one of the first action cameras to be able to film 4K with a touchscreen that costs below a 100 and because of that, many people were sceptical of it as it was a little too good to be true.
But it turned out to be that good and it’s still a really good action camera to this date.
The Mijia 4K has one of the largest if not largest, 2.44” touchscreen display in action cameras so you’re able to navigate around and see the display easily. This is complemented by its large 1400mAh battery capacity so even with that large display, it still lasts long and is not hindered by it.
In addition, the overall interface is also very neatly categorised and clean because of this, I feel that this is most user-friendly action camera under 200.
Moreover, quality is superb as well. It’s able to take 4K at 30fps and capture 8MP shots.
I also especially liked how it’s able to take raw images, which really shows the true and accurate colours of the image.
The community and support for this action cam are also some of the main reasons it’s doing so well.
They have a large customer support team dedicated to this camera alone and not to mention the community of Mijia 4K users so you’re not alone if you face any problems.
Moreover, if you’ve any queries or questions, their support team is really responsive you can’t really go wrong getting this camera.
My only issue/improvement with it is that it can’t stabilise at 4K resolution and accessories have to be purchased separately.
Overall, if your budget is about $100, I’d highly recommend the Mijia 4K because it is super user-friendly, has a great interface, and not to forget the awesome support you have from the community! Check out my full review on the Mijia 4K here!
- Crisp & Vibrant RAW Photos To Capture What Matters
- Long Lasting Battery Life To Last The Whole Day
- Responsive 6 Axis Stabilization For Smooth Videos
- Large Touchscreen Display For Easy Control
- No Accessories Provided So You’ll Have To Get Them Separately
2. Yi II 4K – GoPro Hero 5 Black Alternative
If you’re looking for an action camera, chances are that you’ve heard of this camera popping out everywhere, claiming to be the ‘best action camera’ for the money and one that could hold its ground against the Hero 5 Black by GoPro.
Why & How Does It Fare Against The Hero 5 Black?
When it released it was a strong contender to Hero 5 black as image quality for both cameras are equally good, with the Yi 4K only falling a little short in audio quality and lacking several features that the Hero 5 Black has to offer, a few of which being the waterproof body, built-in GPS and voice control.
Take a look for yourself here.
However, if you think that it only costs half that of a Hero 5 Black, it’s actually quite easy to forget about those features and go with the Yi 4K.
The Yi 4K also has something that not many action cams have: live streaming.
Perfect for starting a live stream on Facebook or Youtube if you’re interested.
As for improvements, I feel they should have made stabilization possible on 4K shooting as it’s not currently doable.
Also, they could have made it touchscreen with the waterproof housing, similar to the one in SJ7 Star.
Why It’s So Popular
What makes the Yi 4K really extraordinary and ultimately, popular, is the large community present.
This is really useful because if you’re facing any problems or have any improvements or feedback, you can easily voice out or ask the community regarding your issue and should be solved in no time.
Furthermore, the manufacturer Yi technology have really good support from the customer service team as they are constantly updating the firmware and adding more features and removing bugs.
All in all, the Yi 4K is a really great camera to get.
Intuitive, easy to use interface with the large 2.19” touchscreen, awesome image quality and reliable & useful smartphone app really makes the Yi 4K my top recommendation for an action camera below $200.
YI 2 4K
- Live Streaming To Share With Your Loved Ones Without Any Delay
- Amazing Customer & Community Support So You’ll Never Be Stuck
- Stable & Fast WiFi Connection For Quick & Reliable Transfer To Your Phone
- High-Quality Body Overall For Long Lasting Use
- User-Friendly Interface Which Makes Using It More Enjoyable
- Image Stabilization Doesn’t Work At 4K
- No Accessories Provided So It Has To Be Bought Separately
3. GoPro Hero 5 Session – Compact & Portable
Being the most compact of the lot is the Hero 5 Session. Don’t let the size fool you though. It’s able to film 4K at 30fps and take high-quality 10MP photos.
If you want to go 1 level deeper, it even allows you to customise your fields of view.
Such a small size makes it one of the best cameras for travelling and also gives you the far greater versatility to mount places that no other camera can, which is what makes the session unique.
Superb audio quality as it has dual microphones so that it can switch between the 2, to avoid interference from external conditions such as wind-noise etc and no external case to muffle the sound out.
One-Touch Button To Rule It All
Even though the Hero 5 Session only has 1 button to navigate around, it’s still really easy to use thanks to its awesome Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity that can be easily and reliably connected to your phone with the Companion app.
Shooting is as simple too as with the one button quick recording feature that when pressed, switches on the camera and starts filming. Another press stops recording and switches it off.
Areas of Improvements
All that said, a downside is that the battery is built-in (non-removable) so you won’t be able to quickly swap out the battery in the event that it runs out.
Furthermore, it lacks a screen for live viewing but it shouldn’t matter since it has such a large filming area anyways.
Overall, this is definitely the best compact action camera out there in my opinion and worth every penny with the ease of use.
GoPro Hero 5 Session
- Compact & Portable So You Can Mount It Wherever You Want Easily
- Reliable Voice Control Makes Using It Cool
- Dual Mics For Clear, Non-muffled Sounds
- Straightforward To Use – Great For Beginners
- 10m Waterproof So You’ll Never Have To Worry About Accidentally Wetting It
- State Of The Art GoPro App Allows For Quick & Easy Editing & Sharing
- Non-removable Battery Thus It’s Dead Till You Charge It Again
- Short Battery Life But Very Common For Compact Cams
- No Screen Thus Needs Getting A Little Use To
4. Thieye T5 Pro – Ultra HD & Vibrant Shots
An improvement over Thieye’s formally best action cam, the T5 edge, the T5 pro offers a lot more premium features yet retails for the same price.
What struck me the most about ThiEYE action cam from the rest is the quality and I can’t emphasise it enough.
The build feels extremely firm and solid, the software is extremely stable and bug-free.
So I can tell you for sure you’re getting great bang for buck.
The T5 Pro offers 4K 60fps and 14MP, not mentioning the stabilisation that works with 4K video shooting.
Therefore as far as image quality goes, it’s probably better than the one on your phone.
But have a look at it for yourself.
It also comes with everything you’ll need, ranging from the 360 swivel mount for getting unique shooting angle, all the way to the remote control that makes shooting wirelessly fun and cool!
All in all, it’s made by a company that values quality a lot and yet still keeping price low, the ThiEYE T5 Pro is a great deal and one that will not disappoint.
Thieye T5 Pro
- High Quality Build
- Comes In Full Set (Remote, accessories, etc)
- Great Value For Money
- No RAW Image Capability
How I Go About Ranking Action Cams
That’s because many action cams (esp cheap ones) falsely advertise their action cams.
And that’s why you see 4K action cams that cost less than $50.
Find Out More Here!
Will They Be Useful To You?
If you don’t require any accessories, you should probably get an action cam that does not come with many accessories as it more bang for the buck.
This is because after reviewing a lot of action cams, the general trend (though not necessarily) I see is that cameras that come with lots of accessories are a little inferior in terms of quality when compared to the cameras with fewer accessories at the same price.
To put it simply, it’s how easy a beginner would find using an action cam.
You might think most action cams are just point-and-shoot so user-friendliness doesn’t really matter but that’s far from the truth.
Many cheap cams (under 100) have problems of suddenly freezing up when shooting or other weird bugs which can become extremely frustrating.
Other than the basic uses, such as timelapse, picture taking, video recording and slow-motion, many companies have introduced features to their products to stand out from the rest.
Here are some examples:
Remote Control Capability- Mostly for better control by wirelessly control the camera using a wrist/handheld remote.
Live Streaming – Useful if you’re into social media and love live streaming to an audience.
Electronic Image Stabilization – Beneficial for removing small tremors by stabilising your shot.
Distortion Correction –For removing the fisheye distortion that you see in your shots.
These are the stuff that makes your shooting looks cool and desirable!