rexso explorer k full review

I still remember the time the cheapest 4k action camera was the Thieye T5e which costs over $100, which I wrote a review on.

Since then, many companies have broken this barrier and produced many action cams that are capable of taking real 4K videos, a few examples being the Yi lite and Mijia 4k.

Today, we’re going to be taking a look at one of the cheapest real 4k action camera, Rexso Explorer K, which also happens to be Elephone first real 4K action camera, and at the end, determining whether it’s worth the money or better off purchasing another camera.

Content of Review (Click to Skip To Section):

Specs:

Specs Explorer K
elephone brand logo explorer k specs
Chipset HiSilicon HI3559
Image Sensor 16MP Panasonic MN34120
Video Resolution 4K 30fps
2K 30fps
1080p 30/60fps
720p 120fps
Photo Resolution 16MP - 4608 x 3456 (4:3)
Video Format H265 & H264
Stabilization 6 Axis Image Stabilization (Incl. 4K)
Battery 1200mAh
Accessories 1 x Waterproof case
1 x Bicycle Bracket
1 x Back clip
1 x fixed base
1 x clip
1 X Switch Support 1
1 X Switch Support 2
1 X Switch Support 3
1 x J-shaped Mount
1 X commutator
2 X Helmet pedestal
2 x bandage
4 x ribbon 2 x 3M Adhesive Tape
1 x wire cable
1 x USB Cable
1 x Cleaning Cloth
1 x User manual
Screen 2" LCD Screen
Storage Up to 128GB
Connectivity Wi-Fi, Micro-USB & Micro-HDMI
Best Buy: 89 USD On Gearbest (Flash Sale)

What It Comes With

explorer k accessories

It comes with all the basic accessories plus a storage bag.

The quality of the accessories is really good as they fit together snugly and securely.

Everything can be interchanged with GoPro, SJCAM accessories other than waterproof case as the button locations on the explorer K are slightly different.

Everything except micro-sd card is there already. My recommendation is to get a card at that’s at least a UHS U3 64GB micro-sd card. (Check my top recommendations here).

Body

rexso explorer k body

The Explorer K has a rubbery side to it and a nice matte finish on the front.

It definitely feels more expensive and well-built than cheaper action cams (around $50) but when comparing to cameras like the Mijia 4K, its build quality still stands a little short.

Although the body resembles one of a normal action camera (matchbox style), it has one less button than traditional action cams, so if you’ve used other ‘normal’ action cams before, it’s going to feel a little odd. But otherwise, everything is pretty much the same.

Buttons, Ports & Indicators

Buttons

rexso explorer k button

Power/mode button: Press to change modes; Press & hold to switch on/off.

Wi-Fi/back button: Press to change mode settings or for navigating; Press & hold to turn on/off Wi-Fi.

Shutter/select button: Press to confirm settings or start record/take picture. (depends on mode)

Ports

rexso explorer k ports

Micro-SD: On the bottom. Supports Micro-SD card up to 128GB.

Micro-USB: for charging and data transfer to PC.

Micro-HDMI: for displaying on the TV/monitor

Indicators

rexso explorer k indicators

Led indicators is super bright so really easy to see: 2 on the front, 1 beside the shutter button

Status LED (Blue): Light On – power on; Light Off – power off;

Charging LED (Red): Light on – charging; Light off – fully charged

Top (Orange): Blinking: wifi switched on; Light Off – Wifi disconnected

Display

rexso explorer k 2 inch lcd screen
Screen: 2 inch 320 x 240

I found it to be quite sharp & bright and it’s even pretty easy to see even in bright situations. That’s why it is in my opinion, one of the best screens I have seen of all the action cams I have reviewed.

Interface & Settings

Like I mentioned earlier, the navigation feels a little awkward initially because there’s only 1 button to navigate. (other action cams usually have 2 separate up & down buttons)

Nonetheless, after playing around, I got used to it and it still felt pretty natural and easy to navigate around.

rexso explorer k modes

There are 6 modes, record, photo, multi, settings, wi-fi & files.

Note: There is a typo error below which I have addressed to the support team.

Record:

Normal Video (4K 30fps, 2K 60fps, 1080p 30/60fps ), Slow-motion (720p – 120fps), Video time-lapse (0.5/1/2/5/10/30/60s), Video + Snap (3/5/10/30/60/300s), Loop (5/10/25 mins)

Photo:

Normal Photo (16/12/8/5 MP), RAW (16/8 MP), Lapse – this is an error (it should be timer)(1/3/5/10/30s)

Multi:

Timer – this is an error (it should be lapse) (0.5/1/2/3/5/10/30/60/300s), Burst (Up to 15p/s)

Settings:

The settings isn’t that user-friendly because quite a few of the selections are in short-form and if you’re new to action cameras, it’d be a little hard to understand at first.

explorer k settings panel

Anyhow, there are 5 areas in the settings, media, photo, sd, system and info.

Note: There are some additional settings that came with recent update.

Media:

rexso explorer k media settings

Mic: On/Off sound recording

Flip: On/off Rotate the screen 180˚ for dash cam or other mounting use

OSD: On/off On-screen display

Encode: H.264/H.265

TV Mode: PAL/NTSC (No point because I’ve tried and it doesn’t change video frame rate)

Frequency: 50Hz/60Hz (No point because I’ve tried and it doesn’t change video frame rate)

LDC (Lens distortion correction): Digitally corrects fisheye effect

DIS (Digital Image Stabilization): 6 Axis Image Stabilization -Incl. 4K (Comparison Below)

Photo:

explorer k photo setting rexso

Scene: Auto/Normal/HDR (I recommend using HDR here because auto doesn’t do a very good job)

EV COMP (Exposure Composition)±2 (Auto does a decent job)

WB (White Balance): Auto/Fluorescent/Sunny/Incandescent/Cloudy

Meter (Colour Meter): Center/Average

Shutter (Shutter Speed): Auto/2/5/10/15/20/30s (Very impressive, able to take long exposure shots)

ISO: Auto/100/200/400/800/1600

SD:

format sd card explorer kFormat: Completely erases and formats micro-SD card to be compatible with the camera

System:

rexso explorer k system settings

Start-up mode: Off / Normal Record / Car Record (Loop Mode)/ Timelapse / Video + Snap / Lapse – Adjusts what mode it is in when it switches on

Auto Shutoff: Off / 1 min / 3 min / 5 min – auto power off duration

Auto Dormant: Off / 1 min / 3 min / 5 min – auto screen off duration

Language: English, France, Espanol, Deutsch, Portugues, Italiano, Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japan, Russian, Korea, Polski, Vietnam

Time set: set the date and time manually (not required as it’s automatically synced with the app)

LED: switches the LED indicators on/off

Info:

explorer k info
Info from latest update

Shows the firmware version, model and manufacturer.

WiFi:


rexso explorer k wifi setting

Allows you to switch on/off Wi-Fi.

Files:

All your media and shots are stored here.

Unique Features

H.265 Encoding

explorer k h265 video decoding

This is quite unique because it has the ability to encode videos in h265 instead of the traditional h264 video encoding used by most action cams.

This is for the more technical people out there but in layman terms, it basically films at the same quality h264 but takes up smaller space (because of its more efficient compression algorithm) Therefore, you’ll be able to film way more at a go, without compromising any quality.

The only thing I can think that’s ‘bad’ about H265 video encoding is that it has a lower compatibility with technology as it’s still a relatively new technology. I had to update my Mac to the latest software update (Sierra V10.12.6) which was only released on Dec 2017 in order to be able to view and process H265 videos.

This is an example of a comparison I made to show the difference. I tried to make the clip as identical as possible to make a fair comparison.

h265 vs h264 video encoding

So as you can see, the difference is noticeable and for the same quality, you are able to save about 20% of memory space although this varies from one place to another.

All in all, a good addition to the camera as over the long run, it’ll save you a lot of storage and is definitely one of explorer K’s strong selling points.

6 Axis Image Stabilization in 4K

rexso explorer k 6 axis image stabilisation test

Stabilization performance to me is pretty good and especially excels when dealing with small tremors.

By default, it’ll be switched on. The only time when you want to turn it off is either when you want to save battery power or a larger field of view.

I was also genuinely surprised when it could stabilise 4K at 30fps as it is not possible with any camera at this price range (under $100).

So far, the cheapest action camera that can stabilise true 4K is Eken H6s, which costs 120 USD, followed by Yi 4K+ and GoPro Hero 6 Black.

Smartphone app – Explorer K (IOS/Android)

rexso explorer k app

The app is generally reliable and simple to use.

The interface is pretty standard, you can do all the normal stuff here, such as changing the settings, viewing live footage & remotely control the camera.

rexso explorer k app
Formatting & spelling error in the app

However, similar to the camera, there’re a few spelling and formatting errors in the app.

Overall, for the app, I felt it’s quite reliable, transferring speed is pretty fast and it’s simple to use as well. The only issue I had was the spelling errors and the general interface isn’t really visually appealing either.

Image & Video Samples

The Explorer K can take up to 16MP (4608 x 3456) 4:3 crisp shots but that’s just one of the thing we should consider in determining photo quality. Colour, low-light performance, raw image all play a part in deciding whether the quality is so-so or amazing.

Image Samples

explorer k image road with sunset
View original photo here.

As you can see from the shots I have taken, the 16MP definitely produces quite a sharp image and colours are pretty vivid and accurate too.  I felt it’s really good for a camera of this price range.

Raw Image – Weird Issue… (Fixed: Read below)

raw image fail rexso explorer k
Snapshot of RAW Image

The Explorer K is capable of taking RAW images but there is something strange going on here because despite having an option for RAW in the settings, when I try opening up with multiple software, it either comes up with an error or shows up a black image.
I’m not sure if there’s something wrong with it or could be memory card issue but I’m currently clarifying with the Rexso support team.

Video Samples

Stabilization (DIS) & Timelapse + Comparison With Mijia 4K

 

Explorer K & MiJia 4K –  Image Comparison

explorer k and mijia 4k image comparison
All images were set to auto and downscaled by the same ratio. Click here to download the original samples.

The obvious difference between the 2 is the field of view. Explorer K has a wider field of view (170˚), whereas Mijia 4K has a 130˚.

Also, if you were to look closer Explorer K definitely had an edge as it has more detail. Colours for both cameras had it’s strength and weakness so as far as colours go, they were pretty much on par.

However, overall, I would still go with the Explorer K’s for photo taking between the 2 as it takes a larger picture without compromising any quality.

Explorer K Vs Mijia 4Kmijia 4k and explorer k comparison

I feel the explorer K and the Mijia 4K is very similar because they fall in about the same price point of about 80 USD and are both capable of taking true 4K videos.

Overall, I felt that the quality of Mijia 4K is generally better than the Rexso Explorer K. Mijia 4K firmware is more stable, has a touchscreen interface, longer battery life and feels more well-built overall.

On the other hand, the Explorer K has a better screen (brighter and clearer), it also has way more accessories (Mijia 4k has none), takes at a higher resolution (16MP) and is able to stabilize at 4K.

Specs Explorer K Mijia 4K
explorer k vs mijia 4k mijia 4k vs explorer k
Max Image Resolution 16MP - 4608 x 3456 (4:3) 8MP - 3840 x 2160 (16:9)
Sensor: 16MP Panasonic MN34120 Sony IMX117
Video Encoding H265 & H264 H264
Chipset: HiSilicon HI3559 Ambarella A12
Raw image
Accessories Full Set
Screen 2" LCD Screen 2.44" Touchscreen
Field of view: 170˚ 130˚
Price: 89 USD On Gearbest 89 USD On Gearbest With Code: GXBX01

Firmware Bugged Out! – Fixed By Hard Reset

After testing for a few days, everything went pretty much perfect but suddenly, for some apparent reason, it became irresponsive as you can see from the above video.

I suspected this was due to using an ‘inappropriate memory card’.

Awesome Customer Service Team!

I immediately contacted the technical team and within a day, they replied and went through the steps to hard reset with me.

It worked and that’s why I’d like to commend them for their responsiveness as many Chinese companies honestly wouldn’t even have cared about you after sales, but Rexso proved that they were not ‘one of them’!

Anyways, this shouldn’t happen to you as I was experimenting what would happen if I were to use a memory card not on the recommended list and turned out it bricked the camera. lol

Performing Hard Reset

The steps are pretty standard to other action cams.

  1. Unzip this file (download here) and copy the contents to an empty memory card.
  2. Insert the memory card into the camera.
  3. Press and hold the power button and shutter button together until the blue light flashes. (about few seconds)
  4. The camera should startup automatically within a few minutes.

Download the latest firmware update and receive the latest updates from the Explorer K Facebook community!

Feel free to post your thoughts or problems (if you have any) in the community. Join here!

Where To Buy

Best Buy Price
110 USD

Verdict

The Rexso Explorer K is definitely a unique action camera because no other action cam that costs under $100 has native 4K recording capability, H265 encoding, full accessories kit and stabilization at 4K.

The build quality is also pretty good, buttons are responsive, the screen is one of the best I’ve seen.

There aren’t any major issues except that it overheats relatively easily and the part where there are glitches regarding H265 video and raw image. Also, other than the minor spelling errors which can be all fixed through a firmware update, I think it is one of the best 4k action cameras for your money.

Should You Buy It?

If you’re finding a decent 4K action cam that comes in a complete set, I’d definitely recommend getting this. It’s really everything you’ll need! (except for the memory card which you can get here)

Although there are some issues faced by the camera, it’s really only temporary as the support team are really responsive and quick at solving these issues.

Having said all of that, for me, I’d still go with the Mijia 4K because of the touchscreen capability and ‘cleaner’ camera interface despite the lack of accessories, stabilization in 4K and the higher quality of images which the Explorer K can offer.

Meanwhile, there’s another action camera that is very similar to the Mijia 4K and Explorer K, the Explorer 3 by MGCOOL. I’ll be doing a review on it once I get my hands on that! Stay tuned!


This concludes my review for the Explorer K. What are your thoughts on this? Do you have any questions regarding it or action cameras in general? Any Feel free to leave a comment down below!

That’s all for now. Until next time, thanks for reading and have a great day! 🙂

Rexso Explorer K

89 USD
6.3

Video/Image Quality

7.6/10

Build Quality

8.0/10

User Experience

4.9/10

Bang For Your Money

4.8/10

Audio Quality

6.7/10

Smartphone App

5.9/10

Pros

  • H.265 Decoding Capability
  • Amazing True 4K Image Stabilisation
  • Comes with tons of accessories
  • Clear 16MP Photos
  • Responsive Customer Support Team

Cons

  • High Operating Temperature
  • Spelling Errors in App & Settings Page
  • Can't shoot in PAL (50Hz) Power Frequency
  • May Bug Out If Use Non-Recommended Memory Cards
  • Raw Image & H265 Bug
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30 Comments

  1. Very helpful review here, in fact there is a tonne of information on here which came in very handy for me today, a credit to the author,
    The Rexso Explorer K has a lot to benefit from for its low price having true 4K stabilisation and the ability to record 4K, the pictures and videos look great but I’m not so sure about the App, but then again there are always glitches with apps these days, it may just take a bit of getting use to.

    Slight problem which worries me a little is the over-heating of the unit, I’m looking to use it abroad where I suspect its going to get hotter much quicker, how long would you say I could operate the unit at any one interval, on a hot day outside in the sun before it starts to over-heat ?

    1. The overheating isn’t the typical overheating because what happens with the explorer K is that the operating temperature is high but it stays that way and doesn’t cause anything to happen actually. So other than maybe feeling a little discomfort when holding the camera, there’s not much to concern about!

      1. Thanks for the reply on this subject, good to know that nothing will actually happen to the device, as I don’t want to waste money on something that is going to fail me.
        Thanks again 🙂

  2. An action cam is definetely what every extreme sports and action enthusiasts need. Rexso is the action cam that I’ve never heard about before and it looks pretty cool!!

    The square design looks a little bit inspired by GoPro but it looks moreelegant than GoPro when you compare with each other!! Which one you would prefer?? Go Pro or Rexso??

    1. Hi Tyler, that’s actually right, the design is inspired by the GoPro but that’s what most action cameras look like nowadays anyways.

      Both GoPro and Rexso have their strength but it really depends on your budget in this case. If you have the budget, I’d definitely recommend you to go for the GoPro action cams but Rexso is for those for don’t want to spend a bomb buying an action cam. Of course GoPro wins if you’re just looking at it in face value but you have to keep in mind that Rexso costs 1/5 of the GoPro.

      1. Tengo el bug en la camara y no logro solucionarlo

  3. Hi Kai! Thank you for your great work reviewing all these products in a really detailled manner! I highly appreciate it.

    I’ve read and watched a lot of other reviews about this model after seeing yours and noticed that most of them mentioned the camera recording audio way too low and having a terrible start up sound that can’t be disabled. Did your device not have these problems or did the update change these by chance? Was the problem with the RAW images also fixed or was that only a problem on your end? I couldn’t really tell. Is the update only available on your facebook page? I guess Elephone really likes you!

    Lastly, I also heard in two reviews that while the 4K videos are great, the 1080p setting doesn’t produce such pretty results regarding smoothness, sharpness, color, etc. This is pure speculation on my part with my very limited second hand knowledge, but would you happen to know if that could be an issue with a lot of (all?) 4k action cameras? I would spend 90% of the time shooting in 1080p, so that mode is most important to me.

    Thank you sooo much for any answers and keep up the impressive work!

    1. Hi Andrew, my apologies for the late reply, been rather busy lately.
      For your first question, the startup sound indeed can’t be switched off and audio is way too low. I have contacted them a few weeks back but as there was Chinese new year, they did not have time but I’ll remind them again. The raw image problem isn’t just my unit, it’s affecting everyone too.

      It is also true that most 4K cameras (especially cheaper ones – lower than $100) have bad 1080p quality but 4K are great. One exception is the Mijia 4K, which has awesome 1080p footage so you might want to consider that, as you shoot mostly in 1080p and have decent stabilization too.

      1. Wow, good to know! Thank you so much for the fast answer (seriously). I hope you have some calmer times ahead 🙂

  4. Hi,

    This looks like a good option to go with, I am looking for something that is not too expensive and will stand up to a bit of hardship.

    I do a lot of outdoor exploring and have damaged some cameras in the past, that’s why I don’t want to go to extreme on the expense side of things.

    It comes with all the extras I need so I am tempted!

    Dave.

    1. Hi Dave, if that’s the case, I think the explorer K really fits you!

  5. Hola buena tarde me paso lo mismo
    pero no encuentro el sofware que utilizaste

    1. what software are you talking about?

      1. Hola Comento del Software de la camara ELephone rexo, por que tengo el bug que no me deja usar la camara,,,, quiero seguir los pasos del video pero el link de descarga ya no funciona.

  6. today, the camera is costing $ 29.99 in gearbest for a limited time. Do you think it’s worth buying? impossible to achieve something better in this value? I’m looking for a first action camera, basically for filming some fishing, shooting and some other fun …

    1. Hi felipe, the deal that you are going for is the explorer X, which is a totally different camera so unless you’re fine with that, i’d advice you to abstain from that.

  7. This was a very thorough and helpful review. It gave so much valuable information, even where was the best place to buy this product.
    I like the fact that this is also mobile compatible.
    It was helpful that you compared this product to another product. That gave it more value in my person opinion.
    The fact that it’s got rubber on the sides is helpful.
    Does that make it a good camera for heavy tough outdoor use?

    1. Hi, glad you found it useful.

      I would say that action cameras in general are the best cameras for heavy tough outdoor use as that’s what they’re really made for. Hope this helps!

  8. Video/Image Quality

    9.50

    Build Quality

    8.50

    User Experience

    6.50

    Bang For Your Money

    7.30

    Audio Quality

    7.10

    Smartphone App

    3.50

    Hola buen dia.
    Que gran vlog.
    Tengo un inconveniente, y es que mi camara presenta el mismo bug del video, no le funciona ningun boton pero la camara enciende. Busque el FINWARE de el link que proporcionan y esta caido, me lo podrian enviar el FINWARE a mi correo para solucionar el bug que presenta mi camara por favor. mi correo es oviedo.a39@gmail.com

  9. Ayuda por favor.
    Mi camara REXO XPLORER K tiene el mismo bug del video. busque el FINWARE en el link que proporcionan y esta caido. Sera que me pueden enviar el FINWARE a mi correo oviedo.a39@gmail.com.
    De verdad necesito su ayuda, muchas gracias.

  10. Video/Image Quality

    5.00

    Build Quality

    7.00

    User Experience

    1.00

    Bang For Your Money

    0.00

    Audio Quality

    5.00

    Smartphone App

    7.00

    After months of testing, Elephant Explorer K is terrible with 4k and 2k recording. It gets extremely hot after a couple of minutes to the point it loses focus, starts skipping frames and only gets worse to the point of stopping recording X seconds at a time. Grab ThiEye E7 instead for same price point. This thing is pretty much a waste of money. It works ok at 1080 but you can buy cheaper cameras to do that…Not sure if people who write glowing reviews are just bots or fake reviews…

  11. Hi
    Is it possible to connect an external microphone to this camera?

    1. unfortunately no, as it uses micro-usb instead of type c or mini usb

  12. Hi,
    I could not find the downloading link that you give for HARD RESET. Can you write here again that? Thank you…

    1. Hi Oral, the link can be found here on this facebook group.
      Update: I’ve added u to the group, it’s the top post in there!

  13. Hi Kai
    Thank you very much for your good review. I enjoyed reading it. I still have a question which you might want to answer… 😉 I’m a total tech-noob and so I’m in need of some advice. I just want a good waterproof (action) cam with picture stabilisation for underwater pictures. In my holidays I will be scuba diving and I just want to take some (good) pictures from the fishes and underwater world. Video quality is not so very important, my focus is on taking pictures. Can you recommend the Rexso Explorer K for this? Or do you know maybe a better camera for this purpose? I just need it for underwater pictures. Thank you very much! David

    1. Hi David, thanks for dropping a comment!
      I wouldn’t say the Explorer K is great for diving because there’s no diving or underwater mode available for it.
      Therefore, I feel that a great alternative would be the Thieye E7 because it has a dedicated underwater mode which removes the excessive blueness underwater. Furthermore, the provided waterproof case also allows it to go way deeper underwater than traditional action cams. The pictures on the E7 is also really sharp and has great picture stabilization as well.
      Hope this helps! Cheers.

      1. Hi Kay
        Thank you for your fast answer. Didn’t know about the E7 – is there any accessory you would recommend? And I wrote a mistake, I’m going to snorkel and not scuba-diving. Thought that scuba-diving was the thing with the snorkel… 🙂
        Cheers
        David

        1. Hi David,
          Thanks for replying.
          I would recommend you to get one sort of strap, either a shoulder, chest, or wrist strap (preferably wrist since you want to take photos) to make life snorkelling easier because the camera wouldn’t obstruct when you’re swimming.
          Check out my recommendations here!
          Ps. The straps mounts are universal, meaning that the E7 would work perfectly even with accessories meant for GoPro or other action cams.
          Cheers! 😉

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