The cheap GoPro alternative market is becoming more and more competitive with each passing year due to the rapidly advancing pace of technology becoming available for lower and lower prices. This has enabled a modern sub-one hundred dollar action camera to beat the performance of a premium price point GoPro action camera from a few years back with ease. More and more action sports enthusiasts have started to realize this and have flooded to the cheap action camera market in their droves.
Although there are a number of popular brands in the space who are offering better and better entry-level action cameras with each passing year, we have noticed a number of people reaching out specifically for a dedicated Eken H9R review. Due to this and the fact that the Eken H9R is an excellent bit of kit with an extremely low price tag, we have decided to publish our own dedicated review of the action camera to try and help some of our readers who may be considering adding the H9R to their collection.
Although many people thought that the Akaso Brave 6 would end up being the undisputed king of the cheap GoPro alternatives, the Eken H9R is able to offer very similar levels of performance while being around half the price of the Brave 6. On top of this, when compared to the latest GoPro action camera, the Eken H9R comes in at around one-eighth of the price while offering some great performance too.
Since its recent release onto the market, the Eken H9R has managed to keep going from strength to strength as the word got out about its excellent performance, robust build quality, and low price tag. This has resulted in the H9R becoming the most popular entry-level action camera while also having managed to rightfully earn an absolutely outstanding reputation for itself amongst the community in the short time since it was released.
We have noticed a number of compeating entry-level action camera brands have released their challenger to the Eken H9R and they have all either fallen short on performance or came in at much higher price points in the market. This essentially cements that at the time of writing at least, the Eken H9R will remain the dominant entry-level action camera and for around $60 depending on the retailer, it is an absolute steal!
Performance And Functionality
One of the main things that action sports enthusiasts seem to want from their action cameras is the best possible video recording possible and Eken have definatley delivered with the H9R. It is able to record full 4k video footage at thirty frames per second with ease allowing you to capture your adventures in the best image quality possible. That said, recording in 4k can quickly deplete your battery life so use a lower resolution where possible unless you have something like a USB power bank with you while you are out and about to recharge your battery.
The camera also supports 2.7k at thirty frames per second which is much more forgiving on your battery life while being a nice middle ground between battery and resolution. As you would expect, the camera also supports 1080p at both sixty and thirty frames per second too. If you are doing a more fact paced activity then going with the 1080p at sixty frames per second can be a great option to ensure that your video footage is as smooth as possible. Finally, the Eken H9R is also able to support 720p at a massive 120 frames per second. If you are taking part in an extremely fast-paced sport like downhill mountain biking with a bunch of vibration then the 120 frames per second can help capture the action without being jittery.
The 20MP camera sensor on the H9R also allows you to capture some of the best photographs possible while out and about on your adventures too. This can make for some excellent photographs to share on your social media profiles to share what you have been up to with your followers too. Depending on what you are doing, the three pic burst mode can also help capture some of the action too. Photographs are saved in JPG to ensure that they have the highest quality possible before being transferred off the camera too.
The 170-degree wide-angle lens on the Eken H9R also allows you to capture and epic landscapes that you may see in all of their glory too. Due to the nature of action sports, you may be in some truly beautiful locations with some once in a lifetime photography opportunities but the 170-degree wide-angle lens has you covered.
Now, the camera uses 1050mAh batteries but your actual battery life is going to depend on a number of factors such as the video resolution that you are recording in as well as your frames per second count too. For example recording video in 1080p at thirty frames per second can provide you with around one and a half hours of battery life whereas recording in 1080p at sixty frames per second will only provide you with around fifty minutes of battery. Upping your resolution to 4k will further restrict the maximum battery life of the camera to only thirty minutes.
This is why we would highly recommend that our users also consider purchasing a suitable USB power bank for their Eken H9R to ensure that these battery restrictions are not a problem. Once your battery is empty it can then be charged back to full in as little as two hours via the charging dock. As you get multiple batteries with your purchase this allows you to have one charging via your power bank in your bag while you use another battery to power your camera.
Although not shown in the sample video footage above, the Eken H9R also has some decent low light performance to so if your sport involves poor lighting such as caving then the camera can be a decent addition to your accessories. That said though, just like all other action cameras on the market right now, your image quality will be much better with decent lighting than in low light conditions.
Additionally, with the camera only being around 0.15 pounds of camera weight, you can also pick up a decent yet cheap action camera gimbal like the Feyiu G6 to help improve the image quality you can get for those bump action sports. The Feyiu G6 is an excellent action camera gimbal that has an excellent reputation amongst the community and can provide you with some great image stabilization without having to break the bank. We also have our own ultimate guide to action camera gimbals that may be helpful if you are looking for a gimbal stabilizer for your new action camera.
As you can see, the camera performs flawlessly under the water and the protective case does not degrade the image quality that you are able to capture with the camera while mounted. This is one of the main issues with the entry-level action cameras on the market right now, they work well but once they are in their cases their image quality drops. Thankfully though, this is not an issue with the H9R and its image quality is just as good while housed in its protective case.
The H9R also supports 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity too with a range of up to and including thirty-three feet. Depending on what you are planning on doing with your camera or how you plan to transfer your videos and photographs off the camera this could be a very useful feature. Unlike some compeating cheap GoPro alternatives, the Eken H9R does not seem to have any issues with random disconnects from the Wi-Fi to helping it score even more points.
Although we rarely use it, we know that some people love their time-lapses modes and the Eken H9R offers a great little timelapse setting with 2s/3s/5s/10s/20s/30s/60s intervals that can really add that extra dimension to your b-roll to add depth to your videos. The time-lapse mode is also very easy to set up too and can be done within a matter of seconds if needed.
When you factor all of these excellent features in as well as the level of image quality that the Eken H9R is able to provide you all for between $50-$60 depending on the retailer, it is very easy to see why it been such a big hit with the community. On top of this, it seems a large number of action camera users agree with us with many of them opting to publish their own, independent, glowing reviews of the Eken H9R too. If you want some independent opinions on the camera then they are well worth reaching in our opinion and they offer some great insight into how well the H9R can perform.
User Interface And Control System
The navigation menu on the Eken H9R is excellent, very straight forward, and very easy to learn. If this is potentially your very first action camera then this ease of use can really play to your advantage as it is extremely quick and easy to learn your way around the system. There is no need to sit down and play for hours just to get the basics done, you can take the H9R out of its box when delivered and spend a few minutes playing and you are likley good to go.
Another solid little feature of the Eken H9R is that it fully supports 2.4g wireless technology and comes with a compatible wrist strap based wireless remote control too. This allows you to mount your Eken H9R to your chest, helmet or any other location and then remotely activate it to start or stop recording or capture a photograph directly from the wrist strap. This simple feature can provide so much value and make your life very easy in a large number of sports where you want to focus on your actual activities rather than having to play with your action camera.
All in all, Eken has come up with an excellent control system for the H9R that is very user-friendly and ideal for an entry-level action camera. As we mentioned above, it is very easy to learn for anyone looking for their very first action camera but also offers a number of advanced features too for the more experienced action sports enthusiast.
Thankfully though, the only feature of the Eken H9R that required the app is the ability to live stream to social networks such as Facebook. Thankfully, we doubt that many of the people considering adding the Eken H9R to their camera accessories will be thinking of the live streaming feature as one of the main reasons to purchase it so chances are, most of our readers will be able to do without the app if it never returns.
Build Quality And Design
Although a tough build quality is common amongst the entry-level action cameras these days, one thing that sets the Eken H9R apart from the competition is that it is such a lightweight camera considering how robust it is. Most of the compeating brands tend to use cheaper, heavier materials that are tough to try and keep their costs down. Eken, on the other hand, has chosen to use the more expensive, lighter materials that are still robust allowing the H9R to come in at just 0.15 pounds!
They have also done a great job of putting the tech together to be as space-efficient as possible too cramming everything needed for the excellent performance of the Eken H9R into a camera body that is only 2.3 x 1 x 1.6 inches. This ensures that the camera is both small enough and light enough to quickly and easily add it to your bag or even your pocket without it having to take up much space or add much weight.
That concludes our ultimate Eken H9R review and as you can probably guess, we are massive fans of this excellent little cheap GoPro alternative. At the time of writing, we have no doubt that the Eken H9R is the best entry-level action camera in its price bracket on the market right now. If you are in the market for a cheap action camera that offers some of the best performance available then look no further.
Additionally, if you are still on the fence about purchasing the H9R then we would highly recommend that you skim over some of these independent reviews of the camera. They offer some excellent insight into its performance from some action sports enthusiasts who have been using the Eken H9R as their go-to action camera for a long period of time. If you are looking for a cheap action camera then our article on cheap GoPro alternatives may be helpful for you.