Hamswan provides multiple mounting options to help you capture high-quality images and video.
If you think life is exciting, wait until you have children. I never thought that I would be a “capture everything” kind of person, but now there is simply so much that I want to capture. Smartphones have become very involved and are typically conveniently close by. However, they are bulky, expensive and often difficult to attach to helmets, bikes, boards etc. When life gets extreme, action cameras and their plethora of mounting options tend to be the best option. Whether you are interested in water sports, winter sports, summer sports etc, an action camera like Hamswan may be an amazing, cost-effective method to relive that special moment.
The Hamswan camera arrived in a plain brown 7.5 inch long by 4.375-inch wide by 3.25-inch tall cardboard box. The cover details the Hamswan Action Camera name as well as the model F68. The back of the box details the features of the Action Camera: Super Waterproof, P2P WiFI, 170-degree wide angle lens, Loop Recording, 1080P HD video recording, Time-lapse photography. You can also scan the QR codes to access Facebook and Twitter. When you lift the lid off of the box, you will find three smaller boxes: Camera and two boxes with accessories. Within the larger flat box, you will find the instruction manual. The manual provides a detailed list of each of the accessories: waterproof case, fixed bases, 28 1/2 inch USB-A to USB-micro cable, protective door (not waterproof), round fixed base, #4 elastic straps (listed as bandages), back clamp, adhesive mounts, 3M adhesive tape, bicycle stand, base, adaptor, cable ties, switch support 1,2,3, clip clamp, screen cleaning cloth. I was really excited to see the variety of attachment options included within the packaging. Honestly, the only thing that is missing is a tripod or one of the adjustable spider like clamps.
Opening the small camera box, you will find the Hamswan action camera, inside of a 30-meter waterproof case. The case has a double loop base, which will attach to a triple loop attachment point. The top of the case has a black plastic clamp, which compresses the rubberized seal and provides the watertight seal. Opening the case is incredibly easy, simply lift up on the edge closest to the lens. There are two buttons located on the side of the case (up/WiFi button and down button), 1 along the top right (capture button) and 1 along the front (power button). There is a thin layer of plastic over the outer waterproof lens, the back plastic of the case, the HD 2 inch screen, and the camera lens that must be removed for optimal imaging. The camera is capable of taking 12 Megapixel images, supports video formats 4K/2.7K/1080P/720P and is capable of supporting a micro SD card up to 64 GB (not included).
There are a variety of brands of action camera on the market and a few high-cost options like the GoPro line. The Hamswan action camera is not waterproof like the GoPro Hero 5, but the included accessories and the 1/4 price tag make this kit exciting to review. The 2-inch screen provides an amazing option to visualize your images/videos. You can either use the camera/screen to view/control the camera or you can download the SportLook app from the IOS or Google Play store to control the camera via WiFi app. The IOS application has only a single star, with six reviews, stating the “app crashes seconds after opening,” “has never worked,” etc. I like to read the app reviews, but I do not base my decision to download them solely on the reviews. Once downloaded navigate to settings on your phone and then type in the password 12345678. Press the up button on the camera to access WiFi mode. You can now use your phone as a remote to control the camera. If you have an installed TIF card (micro SD), you can snap photos and you can capture video by single pressing the buttons on the phone. The app did crash a few times but did not warrant the 1-star rating. Personally, the app should have received closer to 3 stars, as it is minimalistic. You can see what is being filmed through your phone and control what you capture from the palm of your hand.
The camera screen is not a touchscreen, which did seem to limit recording options. Even though you cannot edit images/videos with the camera, you can utilize any number of programs to edit raw data after recording. To record video, make sure that the camera is in video mode by pressing the power button. To record images make sure it is in camera mode. You will notice either a video camera or standard camera icon on the screen. You can then press the okay button to start recording video/capture image. It is important to note that the camera can record in 4K but the quality is only mediocre. Often in life, you get what you pay for and this is another example. I actually preferred the 1080p quality to size ratio. Most of what I watch/record is in the 720-1080p range anyway. If you are looking for a great starter camera, one that will not break the bank, the Hamswan camera provides a great deal for the value. How many of you are afraid to take your camera or your gear with you for fear it is going to be ruined. The Hamswan is an amazing option for your trip to the beach, to the pool, the ice skating rink, etc. Capture your video on a 64GB card (Tested with a 16GB card) and replay the images on the camera or upload them to your computer and watch them on the big screen. The camera does not have HDMI output, which is a major drawback. However, for a sub $75 camera, I will tolerate this deficit.
The camera has an included rechargeable 900 mah battery, which will last for about an hour and a half on a single charge. The battery is easy to recharge, using the included micro-USB cable. It will take about 2.5-3 hours to recharge the battery. The waterproof housing is really convenient and works well to protect your device. I agree with many of the reviewers that the camera is higher quality than the price suggests. The accessory package alone makes this kit better than many other similarly priced cameras. 4K is the new trendy phrase, being included in tech just as an advertising point. As stated, I would not buy this based on the 4K status but the 1080P quality was better than I hoped. The instruction manual is easy to use, well worded and amazingly written in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Chinese. The LCD is bright and displays the images very well. The buttons are well laid out and very responsive.
I did test the waterproof nature of the camera by placing it into my sink for 30 minutes, submerged in water. The WiFi app works at a standard Bluetooth distance but is very distorted by any type of line of sight obstruction. Under settings, you can adjust between 720P, 1080P, 4K and Frame rate. I found that 1080P 30FPS was best for my review. I do not need 4K as none of my displays are 4K displays. Charging was easy, image quality was decent and to summarize the review, this is a great starter package. The GoPro line will provide some more advanced features, but you will likely have to purchase multiple accessories to utilize the camera. The LCD for some of the GoPro models is just as expensive as this entire kit. The Hamswan is ready to use directly out of the box. I love the waterproof kit, the variety of attachment options and the overall feel of the device. There is no included micro-SD card, which is not a deal breaker. The application is mediocre but does add a WiFi control feature. If you are looking to shoot high framerate, high definition video, this is not the kit for you. 30 FPS 1080 is a reasonable goal and likely adequate for most users. It is ready out of the box, simply power on and press the record button. You do not have to change settings or to adjust any internal features. The camera does not really have any stability and will be shaky if you hold it in your hand. Using a monopod, tripod etc will give you a more stable image. You have to ask yourself what it is you want out of the device. I would rate the camera at 4/5 stars, perfect for the introductory camera and for average users.
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