Best Action Cameras Under $100 – Top 7 Picks [TRENDING]

Action cameras gained a sudden hype after the release of the much-awaited GoPro. The sleek design, superior video quality with a long list of clever features made it a part of every video-makers bucket list. People found it to be the perfect companion to record their adventurous activities, whether be it a swim across the river or their skiing adventure.  

The problem arises when you’re tight on budget and can’t afford to invest in GoPros’ latest version. Some customers find it hard to trust the super affordable action cameras in the market because hey, the price determines the quality, right? This is true to some extent. However, we managed to set aside the best action cameras for less than $100. Surprised? Each camera promises to meet your expectations of video quality while most of them even offer a 4k resolution.  

Top 3 Action Cameras Under $100

AKASO V50X Native 4K 30fps WiFi Action Camera AKASO EK7000 4K WiFi Sports Action Camera APEMAN TRAWO A100 Real 4K Action Camera
AKASO V50X AKASO EK7000 APEMAN TRAWO A100
    BEST OVERALL
  • Excellent image stabilization
  • Great 4k recordings
    BEST BUDGET
  • WiFi remote is responsive
  • Has multiple accessories
    GREAT VALUE
  • Great electronic image stabilization
  • Several editing options

Action Camera Reviews

1. AKASO V50X Native 4K 30fps WiFi Action Camera

AKASO V50X Native 4K 30fps WiFi Action Camera

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See the AKASO V50X
  • Display: 2-inch touch screen with IPS display
  • Battery: lasts for 180 minutes
  • WiFi: yes
  • Electronic image stabilization: yes
  • Lens: between 170°, 140°, 110°, and 70°
  • Video mode: 4K/30fps, 2.7K 30fps and 2K 60fps video resolution
  • Photo mode: Still, burst and time-lapse

AKASO V50X is famous for being one of the best budget-friendly cameras out there. The outstanding features and video quality offer direct competition to some of the pricey action cameras in the market, and that speaks a lot.  

Build Quality and Design

AKASO’s design isn’t extraordinary: the compact device has a body made out of rubberized plastic. However, it’s durable, resistant to scratches, and sturdy enough to tolerate the harsh shooting environment. The 2 inch IPS touchscreen offers great viewing angles with an ability to install external microphones too.  

The action camera does come with an internal microphone. However, it’s better to avoid using a waterproof case to make full use of the audio. However, the case does have holes cut out for the mic if you want to use it underwater. Moreover, users active better control of the device through a small remote control device that allows you to start or stop the recordings and take pictures. This proves handy in tricky shooting situations.  

Performance

Even though action cameras are often used for recording videos, the images produced to fit a high standard. The daytime pictures are sharp and crisp, but the quality deteriorates a bit under low light conditions. Another important aspect of an action camera is the battery runtime. It’s pretty good if compared to the other cheap cameras with an hour for 4k videos at 30fps or 90mins for 1080p. Moreover, you can charge the camera while recording in order to save time. Moving on, the driving mode allows users to use it as a dash camera while driving, and the time-lapse feature is another cool option- great for artists.  

Another important element of any action camera is electronic image stabilization, and AKASO makes sure that it doesn’t disappoint you. Even though it doesn’t work well with night time recordings, the day time shots seem much better with EIS.  

Transferring pictures is another tedious task, but this camera makes a WiFi network with your smartphone and transfers all the images via its app. Moreover, you can get a live view of your camera’s lens and gain access to the recordings.  

Bottom Line

This is certainly the best AKASO model out there. With brilliant image stabilization and professional-looking 4k recordings, there’s nothing more an enthusiast desires from his camera. If you’re on a budget, this is a great option.

What we like:

  • Excellent image stabilization
  • Great 4k recordings
  • Meant for daytime recordings
  • Sturdy built

What we don’t:

  • Poor audio quality
  • The 1080p mode doesn’t perform well

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2. AKASO EK7000 4K WiFi Sports Action Camera

AKASO EK7000 4K WiFi Sports Action Camera

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See the AKASO EK7000
  • Display: 2.0 inch display
  • Battery: records up to 90 minutes
  • WiFi: yes
  • Electronic image stabilization: yes
  • Timer: time intervals from 0.5 to 60 seconds.
  • Lens: 170° wide-angle lens
  • Video mode: 4K 25Fps & 2.7K 30Fps
  • Photo mode: 12MP photos at up to 30 fps

If you are interested in purchasing a GoPro clone at less than half the price, the Akaso EK7000 4k Action Camera is a viable option. We consider it a great option for beginners who are ready to compromise on innovative features but want a good quality 4k video.  

Build Quality and Design

The design is less than unique: quite generic, we must say. However, it’s unfair to expect a completely distinctive body considering the low cost and audience. If anything, we find the basic design and control buttons quite easy to be used by beginners: you don’t need to waste any time trying to get comfortable with the complex features anymore. The red light on the top blinks while recording and indicates whether it’s turned on/off with an additional four buttons to control the functions. The shutter button allows users to take pictures or initiate recordings while simultaneously acting as an enter button for the menu. Moreover, the mode button switches between video, photo, burst, time-lapse, and settings with a built-in screen at the back.  

Performance

It isn’t the easiest device to work with if you’re accustomed to using touchscreen gadgets. However, it offers a similar user interface to that of GoPros oldest model. Moving on, we were rather impressed by the WiFi remote that works without any difficulties while effortlessly starting and stopping the video. Moreover, an alternate button allows you to switch the modes.

Further on, it has a decent video quality: much better than action cameras at this price. Video shots are great during minimal movements and natural lighting, and we recommend you use either 1080P or 720P at 60 fps. There aren’t any other options for resolution due to the limited horsepower. The audio is fine as long as you’re not using the waterproof housing and just the frame only accessory: it would be better in wind-free areas. Fortunately, you get all the mounts, screws and tabs with the camera.  

Bottom Line

Yes, it does fall short in multiple areas, including audio quality, color, image stabilization if you compare it to GoPro Hero 6. However, the extremely low price is a valid justification. The free accessories coupled with fine video quality is a good deal to get in under $100.

What we like:

  • It is affordable
  • WiFi remote is responsive
  • Has multiple accessories
  • Offers 4k resolution

What we don’t:

  • Muffled audio
  • Limited field of view
  • No image stabilization

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3. APEMAN TRAWO A100 Real 4K Action Camera

APEMAN TRAWO A100 Real 4K Action Camera

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See the APEMAN TRAWO A100
  • Display: 2 inch IPS retina display screen
  • Electronic image stabilization: yes
  • Battery: 1350mAh battery
  • WiFi: yes
  • Lens: 170° wide-angle lens
  • Video mode: 4K 30fps video with loop and time-lapse mode
  • Photo mode: 20MP with self-timer and burst mode
  We came across Apeman Trawo while searching for close substitutes of GoPro, and we were surprised, to say the least. At half the price, you get an amazing camera, two batteries along with some accessories to make your next video shooting journey exciting.  

Build Quality and Design

We were shocked after comparing the packaging with the price since the good quality box was similar to that of luxury products. The build quality was quite impressive with a waterproof case. However, this would affect the overall sound quality. There are built-in motion sensors to detect movements and compensate for them, resulting in smooth and steady shots.

The functions are easy to use (read: beginner-friendly) with a sleek LCD screen at the back to get a proper view of the images. There are buttons on the side to access the menu. However, you won’t go through a lot of hassle even if you’re accustomed to touchscreen gadgets. The menu itself is well designed with similar settings grouped together for easier access.  

Performance

The first feature we decided to test out was the electronic image stabilization: a must for action cameras. The end result was impressive as there was minimal to no shaking despite harsh movements. Another great feature is an artist’s favorite mode, 4k time-lapse: it allows users to shoot videos with full control over the frequency and no additional processing.

Moving on, the image quality is nothing less than ordinary, while the time-lapse feature proves useful for artists. Trawo comes with several accessories and mounts that are easy to attach, making it a versatile gadget to work with.  

This action camera comprises of the seven-layer lens with UV protection and an infrared filter to filter out unwanted light from your shot. Moreover, it reduces unwanted color dispersion and corrects color issues for a natural-looking shot. The HI silicon chip with the powerful Panasonic sensor makes it easy to shoot 4k videos at 30fps while the 20MP camera results in sharp images. There is an option to adjust the white balance or experiment with color temperatures and light brightness.  

Bottom Line

This is an optimal option for customers who want the best of both worlds: excellent performance at a low price. The features and functionality resemble that of luxury gadgets, and even though it lacks in shooting stills, the other modes work pretty well.

What we like:

  • It has a waterproof case
  • Great electronic image stabilization
  • Several editing options

What we don’t:

  • Low battery span
  • Not meant for shooting stills

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4. AKASO Brave 6 4K 20MP WiFi Action Camera

AKASO Brave 6 4K 20MP WiFi Action Camera

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See the AKASO Brave 6
  • Electronic image stabilization: yes
  • Display: 2 inch LCD screen
  • Battery: runtime of 90 minutes
  • WiFi: yes
  • Lens: between 170°, 140°, 110°, and 70°
  • Video mode: 4K/24fps, 2K/30fps, and 1080P/60FPS video resolution
  • Photo mode: 20 MP with burst and time-lapse mode

Akaso Brave 6 is the latest budget-friendly action camera and a successor of the previous well-acclaimed Akaso Brave 4. Without any doubt, it has set a high standard for the rest of the cheap action cameras with brilliant performance and numerous innovative features. Some people have even gone as far as calling it the best alternative of GoPro.  

Build Quality and Design

The first detail we noticed after unpacking it was that it came in a waterproof case. There is a 2.4Ghz remote control wrist band that connects to the camera through Bluetooth. On the other hand, the two 3.7V 1050mAh batteries give a total runtime of 60 minutes for recording. You may replace them for longer working periods.  

Another thing we loved about Akaso was that the manufacturers included a small tripod bracket, mounts, clips, tethers, and a protective backdoor inside the packaging so you wouldn’t need to invest in any additional tools.  

The design is similar to the other action cameras with a power button in the front for turning it on/off as well as switching between modes. There is a 2 inch LCD screen at the back that can be controlled by the buttons on the top while the USB, HDMI, and SD card slots are on the left.  

Performance

It’s safe to say that people use action cameras way more for capturing videos rather than shooting stills. Therefore, the manufacturers included a number of features to solely boost its performance and functionality.

Even though it doesn’t support the native 4k resolution, they tried to make up for it with a digitally upscaled video. It records actual video footage in a low resolution, after which it’s put through a digital process to appear as a 4k shot. This feature suits perfectly well for beginners. Reportedly, the camera is able to shoot 4k at 24fps and goes down to 2k at 30fps and 1080p at 60fps.  

The images are processed by a Novatek chipset that supports electronic image stabilization for all resolutions. Despite the small sensor, the image stabilization makes up for any under and overexposure in low light conditions.  

Moving on to the bit rates, they are comparatively lower but sufficient: 1440p is at 20 Mbps while 1080p/30fps is at 21 Mbps. Surprisingly, Brave 6 has an amazing image quality without any distortion and bright colors.  

Bottom Line

It safe to say that Brave 6 is a great action camera for beginners, if not professionals. At four times less the price of GoPro, it offers great features while the videos shot at 1080p at 30 frames per second are exceptionally good.

What we like:

  • It’s very cheap
  • Impressive image stabilization
  • Great diving and driving modes

What we don’t:

  • Very small sensor
  • Offers an interpolated 4k resolution
  • Not good with lowlight shooting

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5. Xiaomi YDXJ01FM Mi 4K Action Camera

Xiaomi YDXJ01FM Mi 4K Action Camera

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See the Xiaomi YDXJ01FM
  • Electronic image stabilization: yes
  • Sensor: an IMX317 image sensor
  • Display: 2. 4” high responsive LCD touchscreen
  • Battery: records up to 120mins
  • WiFi: yes
  • Lens: 145 degrees wide angle
  • Video mode: 4k/30fps, 1080p/100fps, 720p/200fps video
  • Photo mode: 8MP raw images with time-lapse, slow-motion, burst modes
  It’s not possible to go into the world of action cameras without coming across Xiaomi Mijia 4K: an amazing budget-friendly substitute for GoPro. The innovative features, coupled with excellent performance, means you no longer have to go broke in the quest to shoot a perfect movie. Sounds great, right?  

Build Quality and Design

Most people rightfully compare this model with the renowned Yi 4k action camera, in terms of its design. The 71.5 × 42.7 × 29.5 mm dimensions with a weight of 99g means that it has a rather compact, lightweight body that is perfect for an action camera: you can store it and carry it around without any hassle.

Moving on, the top button is meant for shooting pictures and videos while all the other control buttons are present on the rear touchscreen. Its sleek black body features a USB port for a microphone with a 1.25-inch connection on the lower side to connect it to a tripod.  

Performance

Outstanding is the one word we would use to describe it’s performance. Honestly, we found it pretty hard to believe the price factor after observing the functions and versatility. The 1450mAh battery is strong enough to record a 4K video with 30fps for 2 hours or 1080p Full HD for 3 hours.  

Furthermore, the image stabilization doesn’t disappoint us either: if anything, it’s probably too fast. There are minimal to no distortions due to the six-axis EIS. The Electronic image stabilization electronically processes images with the help of Bosch BMI160 IMU, a 3-axis gyro, and an integrated 3-axis accelerometer to produce clear images.  

Fortunately, it’s pretty good at taking pictures too. Xiaomi captures 8 MP pictures with an f.2.2 sensor: the results are impressive under natural lighting and show more contrast than GoPro itself. Moreover, the time-lapse, slow motion, loop record, and burst modes make the entire video shooting experience even more satisfying.  

Bottom Line

After analyzing everything, we think that Xiaomi Mijia 4K is an amazing action camera that won’t leave you broke. It is able to record 4k resolution while the speed up to 200fps makes it ideal for slow-motion recording. However, it’s best to invest in a waterproof case since Xiaomi doesn’t come with one.

What we like:

  • Great low light recording
  • Good battery life
  • It is affordable
  • Lightweight and compact

What we don’t:

  • Does not come with a case
  • No external microphone port
  • Low-quality stabilization

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6. Dragon Touch 4K Action Camera

Dragon Touch 4K Action Camera

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See the Dragon Touch 4k
  • Display: 2-inch screen
  • Battery: About 90 mins
  • WiFi: yes
  • Lens: 170 degrees wide angle
  • Video mode: 4K/30FPS, 2.7K/30fps, 1080P/60FPS video
  • Photo mode: 16MP with time-lapse, slow motion, drama-shot modes
  • Electronic image stabilization: No

Dragon Touch Vision 3 is, without any doubt, an optimal choice for beginners and enthusiasts. Almost everyone is after the 4k resolution videos, and with such great quality features, it’s certainly hard to resist.  

Build Quality and Design

It consists of a 2-inch touchscreen LCD, which was pretty surprising as many high priced cameras don’t offer this feature either.

It comes with multiple accessories to transform it into a suitable device for several action environments: convert it to a dash-cam or attach it to your motorcycle to store your adventures as a keepsake. Moreover, it comes with a waterproof case for all your underwater adventures. Pretty cool, right?  

Performance

The recording capabilities of Dragontouch are pretty great: 4k at 30fps, 2.7K at 30fps, and 1080p at 60 fps. Moreover, it allows users to snap images with a 16MP resolution and up to 4.0x zoom, which is adequate for a cheap camera. After shooting videos, the next important step is transferring them to your device. Fortunately, its a breeze with DragonTouch: all you have to do is connect the smartphone app to the camera for automatic uploads. Users may connect it to WiFi, too, while the 90 minutes run time just enhances your productivity.  

There are several modes to choose from, including the driving mode, time-lapse, loop recording, slow motion, a drama shot while you are able to adjust the exposure and white balance according to your choice too.

The convenient wireless wrist control allows users to control the recording via a remote up to 33feet: this proves extremely useful in tricky shooting situations.  

Bottom Line

We recommend the Dragon Touch 4k Action cameras to all the beginners who aren’t ready to invest in a renowned camera just yet. This budget-friendly device is ideal for all those who want to try shooting 4k videos without any interest in the other features. The only downside is the lack of image stabilization, which makes it impossible to shoot in constant movements.

What we like:

  • Great quality 4k videos
  • Long battery life
  • Comes with several accessories

What we don’t:

  • No electronic image stabilization
  • Comes with some useless accessories too

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): About Action Cameras

Q:  Are cheap action cameras any good?

A: By no means are we trying to demean any manufacturers, but GoPro is the leading action camera out there but comes at a high price. Moreover, we have Nikon and Garmin competing for a fair market share by releasing incredible features such as voice activation, GPS, and motion sensors too. Does that mean that the budget-friendly action cameras provide less than average performance?

The primary function of an action camera is to provide good video quality, and fortunately, you can get it from a cheap camera too. For people willing to sacrifice a sleek aesthetic, Yi Action camera is an affordable option: it doesn’t compromise on video quality but isn’t overloaded with a multitude of features either. It’s safe to say that the price doesn’t determine the actual value of a product: quite a few exorbitant cameras have proven to offer poor image quality.  

Q:  Should I buy a GoPro or DSLR?

A: You might be skeptical about this question since hey, DSLRs, have surely got to win. However, since the launch of Hero5, you need to think about the available alternatives quite a few times due to fierce competition. GoPro is famous for manufacturing versatile, premium quality cameras with tonnes of impressive features. Most people claim that the image quality is almost the same.  

Your decision to choose a camera depends on the subject you want to shoot along with the environment. With GoPros compact body and comfortable user interface, it is a much better option. It is light and small, thus allowing you to shoot from vantage points and places, including being attached to a cat or arrow. The DSLR, on the other hand, proves to offer less control due to the bulky nature. Most people end up having to carry heavy camera kits to their shooting locations.

Furthermore, GoPro offers built-in digital image stabilization in the form of cropped images. Most cameras require a dedicated stabilizer rig to shoot a smooth and professional-looking video.  

Q:  Is GoPro better than iPhone?

A: GoPro is referred to as the ultimate outdoor adventure camera with compact body size and a diverse range of features. On the other hand, iPhone cameras have undergone multiple upgrades, hence making this a hard decision.  

The first-factor one should take into account is familiarity: people use their mobiles more frequently. Therefore, they feel comfortable with their settings, limitations, and benefits. You won’t experience the same comfort level while using GoPro or any other camera.

However, It’s sleek back, and thin design is an invitation to breaking down after the slightest mishap. Moreover, GoPro comes with a number of attachments and connectors to keep it safe from the harsh environmental conditions. In the end, it’s up to you to decide what would suit you and your photography needs better.  

Q:  What is the difference between an action camera and a normal camera?

A: Action cameras record action while engaged in it. Therefore, they have a compact, rugged, and waterproof design to tolerate the harsh conditions. Moreover, they allow users to utilize the burst mode, time-lapse mode with an option to shoot HD videos too. They don’t require any interaction with the photographer after the recording starts due to the continuous capture of the action. Action cameras are often meant for shooting outdoor sports, being connected to helmets, handlebars, and frisbees.  

On the other hand, normal cameras shoot pictures from a certain distance away from the subject. We are all aware of how they work, so it isn’t hard to declare that normal cameras won’t record the action as well. They have a large, bulky body that isn’t capable of withstanding constant movements. DSLRs lack stabilization, and it’s almost impossible to balance it on your helmet or handle: until and unless you’re rich enough to afford several cameras.  

Conclusion

It’s clear that you don’t need to spend hundreds of bucks on an action camera when you could simply invest a few in these amazing budget-friendly cameras. AKASO doesn’t fail to disappoint us with the superior video resolution, while Xiaomi’s versatility promises great companionship on your new shoot. We consider the YIs Action camera to be a reliable option for users who want to take advantage of the innovative features.