Today we are going to be reviewing another action camera, the Eken H9R.
Over the years, there have been tons of people setting their mind to buy an action camera, but not sure what to choose. I remember the last time when I tried to find a decent camera below $50, I went through countless of reviews as many of the brands that offered this price range were China-based and hence I couldn’t really trust its quality.
If you hadn’t realised, the majority of action camera companies are producing cameras with a mid-range price tag, which ranges from $100 – $200 and fewer are producing quality cameras below $50 and hence when I tried looking for one below $50, it was really hard.
You might usually expect a camera with this price range to shoot at standard 720P HD, and a normal micro-USB port to charge and transfer data, right? Nope.
Content Of Review (Click to Jump To A Section):
Sunplus 6330M (Does not support 4K)
Omnivision OV4689 4MP Sensor (Same sensor in SJ4000).
- 4K @ 25fps (3840*2160 pixels) (not true 4K, interpolated from 1080p)
- 2.7K @ 30fps (2704*1524 pixels) (interpolated from 1080p as well)
- 1080p @ 30/60fps (1920*1080 pixels)
- 720p @ 120fps
Supports up to 32GB Micro-SD
PG1050 1050mAh (1.5 hours for 1080p 30fps)
Accessories and Remote Control:
Above are all the accessories and it is pretty much the same as the SJCAM SJ4000 with the various mounts for bicycles, helmet mount, table stand, etc.
It would definitely meet all the needs of a beginner the build quality of the accessories is pretty good thus I feel it is really well done by them in terms of the accessories.
The remote control is also the same as the other action cameras in the market. It may be possible that they all had the same manufacturer for these remotes. It looks exactly the same, with the photo and video button, 2.4GHz transmission and a strap to strap onto your wrist for better control. But don’t worry about your remote control accidentally connecting to someone’s else camera(that would be quite funny haha), it won’t.
It is also 3m water resistance but try not to fully submerge it into water as much as you can as many reviewers have reported it spoiled after they submerged it into the water for a prolong period of time.
The remote control has a connecting distance of 20m but I likely think that the distance is in a perfect scenario as in the real world situation, there are many radio interferences. Having said that, there’s barely any time that you need to be that far away from your camera. I personally like to use this remote feature when using a selfie stick and taking a family picture as it would definitely help you to take better shots.
On the side, there are 2 buttons, up and down, which are generally used for scrolling through settings and playback. Another use for it, up button: playback; down button: connecting to smartphone app.
It uses a PG1050 1050mAh battery, which you can remove by opening the battery door at the bottom.
Navigation and Shooting Modes:
There are 4 modes. You can cycle through the modes by simply pressing the mode/power button.
The settings, although isn’t much, allow you to customize just about everything on the fundamental level.
Video Resolution: 1080p 60fps is the native resolution.
Looping Video: Will create videos in interval of 10 mins and once storage is full, it will overwrite the oldest video
Time Stamp: Off/ Date/ Date and Time. Displays timestamp at the bottom right of the image.
Photo Resolution: 12 MP, 8MP, 5MP, 4MP, 2MP; 4MP is native resolution.
Burst photo: Only option is 3 photos at one time
Continuous Lapse: Yes/No. If you want to continuously take photos to create time-lapse, select yes.
Power Frequency: 50Hz/60Hz. As different areas of the world use different frequencies lighting, the camera has to adapt to the lighting in order to avoid shutter flickering.
Language: English, Traditional Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, French, Czech, Polish, Turkish, Russian, Japanese, Korean & Thai.
Date & Time: Set the time that will be printed on time-stamp. Automatically syncs with phoneonce connected to app.
Sound Indicator: Shutter (On/Off), Start-up (On/Off), Beep (On/Off), Volume (0-3)
Upside Down: Flip the whole image upside down. It’s useful if you are mounting is upside down such as for dash cameras in cars.
Screen Saver: 1 min, 3 min or 5 min. Switches display off but not the camera save power and only works when recording.
Power Saver: 1 min, 3 min or 5 min. When idle (not recording), the cam will automatically switch off in that set duration.
Format: Format your Micro-SD card to match the camera. Note that it will wipe out all data in memory card.
Reset: Reset settings only to factory settings. Footages are left untouched.
Although the camera claims to take 12MP pictures, in actual fact, it can only take up to 4MP photos.
However, you will still able to take 12MP photos on the camera but what it does is essentially interpolating from 4MP.
For the quality, overall, it’s really great for something at this price range. Although it does not perform well in low light situations, which is a similar trait to almost all action cams, I found it performs really well in brightly lit environments. It’s clear enough to know what’s going on but if you want really intricate details, you’d have to invest way. (I’d say above $80 at least)
Although the Eken H9R claims to be able to be able to record 4K, it does not have the ability to record real 4K as it simply interpolates from 1080p 30fps, similar to how in photo mode, any photo that is higher than 4MP is interpolated from 4MP.
Smartphone app (Ez iCam)
- To connect, press the down button on the H9 to enable Wi-Fi.
- Afterwards, head over to the Wi-Fi settings on your smartphone and connect to it.
- If you are using IOS, and have updated it to IOS 10, you’d notice that there wouldn’t be any WiFi symbol even when you are connected because the update hides the symbol when the Wi-Fi does not have internet connection, which is true in this case.
1: Gallery: Displays only photos already downloaded onto your device
2: Brings you to your WiFi settings
Once you press connect, you will be brought to the main screen.
1: Return to connection page
2: Picture (12, 8, 5, 4 MP) / Video Resolution (1080p 60fps, 1080p 30fps)
3: White Balance* : Auto/Sunny/Cloudy/Fluorescent Lamp/Incandescent Lamp
4: Zoom: You can zoom in and out by pinching inwards/outwards the screen but there’s no point doing it as it’s a digital zoom.
5: Settings: Power Frequency (50Hz, 60Hz, Auto), Upside Down (On/Off)
6: Gallery**: Displays only photos and videos taken and stored in the camera.
7: Shutter Button
8: Selected Mode
*For the white balance, it’s worth to note that only the app allows this customisation but the camera settings do not.
**There are 2 gallery, the first at the connection page shows media downloaded onto your device whereas the one after you connect shows the photos stored in your action cam.
This tab show news from ez-icam which is related to action gadgets, such as drones, 360˚ cameras, action cameras and more.
If you just want basic trimming and add background music to your video, this would be a good shortcut you can do on your phone.
The background music option uses music from your library.
You can use this to edit any video on your photos roll, not only the ones taken from your action cam.
After you’re done, tap on the save button on the top right to save the final video to your photo roll.
Since the camera has been released, there have been couple of firmware updates.
20170721-GKR – Download Link: http://ftp.eken.com/H9R_WEB_EKGKR_20170721.rar
H9R V.20 20170913-EKGZA – Download Link: http://ftp.eken.com/H9R_WEB_EKGZA_O4D7AX_20170913 eken.rar
***ONLY USE IF YOUR CAMERA IS H9R V2.0 EKGZA***
Steps To Update
The steps for updating firmware are as follows:
- Format the micro SD card. Unzip the files and copy the SPHOST.BRN on to the micro SD card.
- Please update it when the battery is at 80% or more, or connect it to the charger before updating.
- Turn off the camera, plug the micro SD card into the camera.
- Press the on/off (mode) button, the camera will automatically start the update (screen will display “FW Update”). After the update completes, the red light will shut off. REMOVE MICRO SD CARD AFTER SUCCESSFUL UPDATE.
- REMOVE THE MICRO SD CARD and then reboot the camera.
- MAKE SURE MICRO SD CARD IS REMOVED BEFORE PROCEEDING. Go to settings and select RESET.
- Turn off the camera, remove battery, insert battery, and turn on the camera to make sure update has been successful.
- Remember to reformat the micro SD card before using it again. Reformat it on the computer before using.
Old Vs New Models
There isn’t any key difference between the 2 models other than the fact for the new one, there is an Eken logo on it and has a square shaped lens protector but there isn’t any logo for the old model and also the waterproof case is circular shaped.
Having said that, there are no other differences as far as specs and software go.
Other H9 Series Eken Cameras
H9R – Base Camera Model + Remote Control (This review is on this)
H9 Non-Eken Cameras
Beware of the following as they aren’t manufactured by Eken but still bears a similar name.
You can check the product information and if they don’t list the brand as Eken, it isn’t manufactured by Eken. A few examples are listed below:
Overall, Eken H9R camera is by far one of the best bang for your buck action cams I have seen.
Its features are all roughly the same as other mid-range camera such as the SJCAM SJ4000 but only half the price.
It is really suitable for beginners and people who want to try out an action camera for themselves as the price range is really reasonable and all the accessories are bundled together with the camera, providing you a complete package and not have to buy anything separately.
Although the camera is unable to take real 4K, unlike native 4K cameras, it still is capable of taking pretty decent quality 1080p FHD footage although it definitely can’t replicate shots from a DSLR or camcorders that’s worth more than 10x more.
So that’s all for my take on the Eken H9R and I hope I have helped you make a more informed choice and deciding whether it is good or not. If you have any queries or anything you wish to discuss with me, please feel free to drop a comment below and I’ll be sure to answer it!
Lastly, thank you for reading and dropping by!!
Eken H9R40 USD
Bang For Your Money9.5/10
- Great Value For Money
- Comes With Responsive Bluetooth Remote
- Intuitive & User Friendly Interface
- Suitable For Beginners
- Comes With Tons Of Accessories
- Upscaled 4K
- Low 4MP Photos
- Smartphone App Has Minor Bugs