DBPower 12MP Action Camera Review
The DBPower 12MP Sports Cam is one of the many Chinese developed action cameras currently flooding the market and boasts features you’d normally only find on a much more expensive product. At under £40, it’s hard to believe that the DBPower isn’t just another Chinese knock-off but surprisingly the Sports Cam is one of China’s best exports.
The DBPower comes with an extensive range of accessories in the box including several different mounts, a data cable, a waterproof case, and some zip ties. This is incredibly impressive for a budget camera, especially when you consider that similar GoPro mounts start from £10 each. Despite their flimsy appearance, the majority of the mounts work incredibly well and some of them can also be used together to help create the perfect mounting position. You can mount the camera directly to the handlebars of a bike but the resulting footage looks like it belongs on the cutting room floor of the Blair Witch Project.
The Sports Cam uses a 12MP Panasonic sensor with a 170-degree wide angle lens and can record in 1080p at 30fps. Unfortunately, the camera doesn’t quite live up to its own claims. Although you can select 1080p as a resolution in the camera’s menu the captured footage appears grainy and is heavily affected by lighting conditions. The wide angle lens also creates a weird fishbowl effect that looks like a crap photo filter but unfortunately, you can’t get rid of it.
When the camera isn’t in its waterproof case the audio captured by its built-in microphone is crisp and clear but when placed in the waterproof case the camera barely picks up any sound except for muffled scratching noises that are most likely caused by excessive vibration. The lack of audio quality is something that affects the majority of action cameras when they’re enclosed in hard plastic cases and shouldn’t be seen as a negative aspect. The Sports Cam doesn’t have an external microphone input but for £40 you don’t really expect one.
DBPower includes two batteries with this camera and this is normally a bad sign as it indicates that you’re likely to need two batteries just to keep the camera running for a decent amount of time. Fortunately, each battery provides about 1hr 30 minutes of run time in 1080p and can be changed incredibly quickly. The battery meter on the camera is relatively accurate and most users should be able to stop and change batteries with minimal fuss before resuming their activities.
The 1.5-inch colour LCD screen on the Sports Cam is a nice touch and a feature that many expensive action cameras don’t have. It allows for easy navigation through the camera’s menu and although you can playback captured footage the screen is too small to properly enjoy it. However, the camera does have an AV video output and can be easily connected to computers, TVs and projectors.
DBPower claim that the waterproof case included with the camera can be used at depths of up to 30m and although it works well during heavy rainfall I wouldn’t trust it on a diving expedition. The seal on the case looks like it would fail if the camera was submerged in water for any length of time and anyone who wants a camera to capture watersport or diving footage should look elsewhere.
The DBPower 12MP Sports Cam is the perfect action camera for commuters who want footage in the event of an accident or children who can’t be trusted with more expensive equipment. It does everything an action camera should do but unfortunately, it doesn’t do any of it very well. It is, however, one of the better Chinese developed action cameras on the market and is worth buying for the accessories alone. When watching the footage captured with the Sports Cam remember that it cost you less than a good takeaway and you’ll have a smile on your face.