ODRVM 4K Snap Verdict
The ODRVM might be an entry-level action camera, but despite its budget price tag, it offers everything you need to get started and some nice, if quirky features.
Firstly, it arrives in a semi-hard case, not a box, and this case is as good as any aftermarket product. Inside, the case is a decent assortment of accessories and even a spare battery.
It’s also available in Blue, which I like a lot.
Feature-wise the DRVM can shoot 4K video at 24fps and 1080p at 60fps, which is pretty decent for capturing action.
It also has a simple control system and voice alerts that let you know when it’s powered up – or at least I think that’s what it’s doing. In addition, there’s a pretty decent smartphone app.
At £79 the ODRVM is slightly more expensive than some other budget action cameras, but then with the mounts, case and the (slightly quirky) voice alert system, it offers a good overall package.
For ODRVM 4K
- Comes with semi-hard case
- 1080p at 60fps
- Voice alert
Against ODRVM 4K
- Old style waterproof housing
- Limited dynamic range
- Over-sharpens out of the box
At the top end of the action camera market, there’s a bid to pack in as many advanced features as possible. And although many of the top-end cameras are expensive, their prices have dropped over recent weeks, with the likes of the TomTom Bandit currently available for less than £150.
The knock-on effect of this is that cameras in the £30-£100 price bracket now need to excel.
Every manufacturer tries to make their cameras stand out, and this can be hard when almost all cameras at the budget end of the market appear to share the same electronics.
The cameras themselves might look different, but delve into them and you realise that the interface and image quality of each camera is often very similar.
To separate them, you need to look at the added extras – additional features, accessories and the overall package. And let’s not forget whether they come in a nice colour!
The ODRVM has several things going for it from the start, firstly I was able to order a blue version (it makes it more visible in sand and snow) and secondly when I switched it on, it announced that it had powered up, or at least I think that’s what it said.
Taking the original GoPro approach, the ODRVM 4K utilises a 30m waterproof housing to protect the camera from water, dust and anything else you could wish to throw at it.
Resolution and framerate-wise there’s a good selection, with the headline 4K at 24fps, 2.7K at 30fps, 1080p at 60, 30fps, 720p at 120, 60 and 30fps, WVGA at 30fps, VGA at 240, 30 fps and finally QVGA at 30fps.
It also packs in Loop recording, Gyro stabilisation, WDR (wide dynamic range), Time-lapse, Motion Detection, Self-timer, burst and some manual control over the settings. There are also quite a few other options and settings.
As well as video, the camera can shoot stills, and there are plenty of quality options from 20mp down to VGA.
As ever, footage is given the distinctive fish-eye action camera look through its lens that offers a 170º field of view.
Inside the camera is a Sony sensor and this is coupled with a Novatech processor, all standard stuff at this end of the market.
On the back of the camera is a decent 2-inch screen which is helpful for composing the scene, previewing footage and scrolling through setting options.
Dimensions are close to that of the GoPro Hero6 Black fully loaded and it weighs in at 63.4g.
Build quality and handling
The packaging for the ODRVM 4K gives the camera a premium feel and it arrives in the semi-hard case with a vast selection of accessories.
Take the camera out of the case and it all seems robust enough, with an older style waterproof housing to give some protection.
The housing is of decent enough quality, but it has a bolt on the lens cover. In the UK this style of cover acts as a mud-catcher and the design makes it tricky to clean when out on a ride and it isn’t as straightforward as a quick wipe.
A lever style lock secures the housing, with a secondary lock to prevent accidental opening.
These days, single lever locks are the norm and the double-lock style looks and feels dated.
At the base of the housing is the usual GoPro style mount. This means that the ODRVM is compatible with many action camera accessories already on the market. That’s if you need them as there are plenty of mounts included.
It’s out in the field when you start to find that the ODRVM 4K is a very competent camera. It’s fast to respond when you switch it on, easy to navigate through settings and simple start and stop recording.
The four button approach to setting navigation makes finding and selecting the options you want easy, but at the same time, all these buttons make the camera feel dated.
As you can probably gather I’m not at all keen on the case style, the design has been proven to be outdated, and the majority of manufacturers have moved away from it.
It’s disappointing when you have an entry-level camera that has carefully thought through setting navigation, voice alert, lots of accessories included but then fails on something as simple as a decent housing.
Another issue with the waterproof case/housing is that I found I have to pop the camera in and out several times to adjust the settings and that secondary lever is just plain annoying.
That said, it does keep the camera clean and dry.
However, I’ve discovered that as the camera is of a pretty standard size and design, it will slip perfectly into a case from some other manufacturers – the Uten 4K Ultra HD for example. The design of that waterproof housing is a world apart and has a flat lens cover.
Inside that PITA housing, there’s a pretty decent camera. The small screen is bright and crisp, and there are many similarities between the interface and that of the Wimius 4K.
The screen on the ODRVM 4K is, however, a step-up from the Wimius, it seems higher in resolution, and the image is brighter with greater clarity.
It’s good to see that the layout of the buttons has been well thought-out, one on the front for power and mode selection, two on the side for navigating up and down and one on the top for the shutter button.
Having just one button on top makes absolute sense as there can never be any confusion about whether you’ve pressed the shutter button or the power button, for example, like on the Wimius 4K.
Those navigation buttons make it easy to find your way around the camera’s settings, but they harvest mud and crud. I think you should be willing to sacrifice some ease of use, especially during the winter months!
One aspect that I did really like when I was out on a ride, was the voice alert. I’m not 100% sure what it says when I switch on the camera, but it does let me know that we’re ready to roll.
Like the interface, the ODRVM’s image quality is very familiar to that from other budget cameras. This quality can be attributed to the image processor. Opening up the movie folder on the MicroSD card shows that the camera is powered by a Novatech processor.
Although cheaper than Ambarella, for the most part, these chipsets are widely used at the entry level and provide a decent enough quality for footage.
The processor is paired with a Sony sensor which produces footage with a good natural colour.
Remembering that we’re testing in the UK during the winter and that many action cameras struggle with low light, you can see some grain/pixelation in footage from the ODRVM 4K, but nothing more than I would expect.
Dynamic range is limited, but comparable with other cameras with these processors. Overall, the video quality is good and the camera is able to produce a pretty good image in a range of conditions.
The ODRVM 4K lifts shadow detail, and although some highlights then become burnt out, it controls that burnout exceptionally well.
In all footage I shot, simple white objects are burnt out, but bright sky areas that I would typically expect to see turn cyan or be lost, are well toned and graduated to burn out, which is impressive.
Overall, the footage is natural in colour, and as is often the case slightly oversharpened in the default settings.
Checking the high contrast edges for chromatic aberration and sharpness shows everything is well controlled. There are signs of some chromatic aberration, but far less than I would expect to see.
The ODRVM 4K may seem like many other entry-level action cameras, but this footage shows that it is step-up when it comes to tone and dynamic range, there is nothing wrong with the optical quality.
I discovered that the data rate is 33 Mbit/s, that’s almost 10mbit/s more than most other budget cameras – again good news for image quality.
At 30fps and 60fps, movement is nice and smooth. Using 60fps with action gets things looking smoother but, as you’d expect, 30fps delivers better image quality with other scenes.
There’s a certain amount of frustration with this camera. It impresses from the outset with the semi-hard case, the range of included accessories, an good range of settings and the fetching blue colour making a nice change from black or silver.
But then it hits you with that old style waterproof housing that in British winter conditions acts as a mud-magnet. It works in as far as it protects the camera, but should have been updated in design.
Those four buttons make it exceptionally easy to use the camera but it feels dated. Nevertheless, take the camera out in the field, and that button layout makes sense and the one button on top and voice alert to let you feel in control.
Video quality at 4K is good with plenty of detail as well as good tone and colour with the framerate of 24fps being perfectly suitable for everyday use.
1080p is the primary resolution that I use, and at both 30fps and 60fps, you can see some level of compression and pixelation, however, that’s normal with this level of camera.
It’s entirely in-line with what I’d expect at this level, although I think the overall dynamic range is better than average and there are fewer signs of chromatic aberration.
The ODRVM 4K is a good camera, well presented and with plenty to offer for anyone just getting into the action camera scene and will enable them to have a great time from the outset.
I struggled with the waterproof housing design and in the test that lens cover and double-lock system were an issue due to mud.
The ODRVM 4K is a good solid performer, and if it had a different waterproof housing, then I say it was one of the better budget action cameras out there.