Apeman A77 Snap Verdict
The steady stream of budget action cameras continues and each new model ups the game when it comes to build and video quality.
The Apeman A77 is competent for the price. I wouldn’t say there’s anything starkly amazing about it, but it does the job.
At around £50/$50 it’s about as cheap as you get, however, the build quality means it can hold it’s own against cameras priced around the £100 price mark.
Functions and features are all straightforward and the interface for operation and selecting features is intuitive enough.
At this price point video quality is as expected, OK you have 4k at a relatively decent 25fps and then there’s the more essential 1080p at 60fps. These video resolutions cover most of the ground when it comes to shooting action.
The small screen on the back is surprisingly good giving a good preview of what you’re about to shoot and enabling you to see settings changes and review footage.
When checking out the quality of the footage all generally looks good although there are issues with flare. Watched back at full resolution 4K and the video quality is pretty good but doesn’t pack the level of detail you would get from the base GoPro Hero, but then that is four times the price.
Dynamic range is limited, but the processor manages to balance the exposure decently to produce a pretty good overall output.
£50 isn’t a great deal to pay for an action camera and for that money the A77 more than provides. It’s a good solid performer that has been refined for its sector of the market.
If you only want to spend £50 on an action camera then why not, the Apeman 77 is worth a punt.
For Apeman A77
- Shoots 4K
- Very Cheap
- Decent screen
Against Apeman A77
- Case causes flare
- Feels cheap
- Objects at a distance loose detail
As an entry-level action camera, the A77 package looks good from the outset. It arrives in decent cardboard packaging which can easily be recycled rather than the more usual plastic display style case used by many other action camera manufacturers.
Once open the camera and accessories box are nicely laid out along with the instructions. Within the accessories box, there are a good selection of mounts and accessories.
Getting started is all easy enough, pop the battery in, give it a charge and you’re ready to go. There’s also a spare battery in the box which will give you extra recording time.
As ever there’s an app which can be downloaded for iOS or Android and this looks surprisingly well thought out. It is, in fact, an app that I have seen before when testing the GoXtreme cameras.
Early impressions of the camera are good. It looks to have all the features you could want, the design is average but with some good design choices that set it above some other entry-level cameras.
Through the test, we had a bit of a UK heatwave so plenty of fun to be had and the Apeman went through the mill from mountain biking to paddleboarding and of course general messing around in the sea, all of which it took in its stride.
There was however just one issue – On a ride during the test and without realising the Apeman A77 was ripped from the bike whilst failing to make a jump.
So great was this jump that the bike mount holding the A77 was completely removed from the bike, (I’ll point out that this mount was not made by Apeman) with no sign or trace of either the mount or the camera.
This essentially stopped the review in mid-track – Until now two weeks later and I’ve located the camera and finally, the review can continue.
Running through the specifications and it all looks like standard stuff. 4K at 25fps, 1080p 60fps and 720p at 120fps.
As you’d expect it can also shoot stills at 16, 12, 8, 5 or 4 million pixels.
Video and for that matter, stills are captured through the wide 170º field of view lens. This gives everything that action camera fish-eye look which I like, and it’s good to see a lens of this ultra wide angle used.
Recently many entry-level action cameras have gone for a narrower field of view which is great for vlogging and lifestyle but just doesn’t have the same feeling you get from these ultra wide angled lenses.
The video is captured in the H.264 format so has maximum compatibility with all sorts of devices and is captured as .mov. Images are captured as .jpg.
All video and images are stored on MicroSD cards with a maximum capacity of 32GB and Apeman suggest a class 10 as the minimum specification. Check out the Samsung Pro Endurance card review for an ideal partner, although you’ll need the 32GB version, not the 128GB version I looked at.
Charge times for the batteries are about two hours and filming at 1080p 30fps you’ll easily get an hour and a half out of each battery which is good.
The camera comes in an old-style waterproof housing which will protect the camera up to 30m.
Weight is good at 64g for the camera with battery and it measures a standard 59 x 41 x 25mm. The total weight for camera, housing, battery and card is 115g.
Build quality and handling
I’m always a little dubious about the build quality of entry-level action cameras, however as plasticky as they can often feel they usually stand up to the job.
In the case of the A77 that testing was taken to the next level as it languished in the undergrowth for some time.
When I did finally locate it, some two weeks after it went missing all seemed fine. The battery was, of course, flat but otherwise, despite the rain and wildlife, it survived quite happily on the forest floor.
A quick charge and the camera once again fired up and was ready to use, unlike the bike mount which is now in recycling.
As tests go the A77 housing proved that it’s perfectly capable of protecting the camera from the elements.
However, despite its sterling performance, I do have a few reservations. Firstly with the housing, the buttons are of the old spring loaded style, these are great in summer but during the winter months, mud and another crud easily gets caught in the spring mech causing it to clog up.
Out of the case, the camera itself feels a bit cheap, by no means bad, you can just feel that this is an entry-level camera. That cheapness is best demonstrated by the battery door that is a simple piece of fully removable plastic.
The build of the A77 is good, it stands up to the job and does what it needs to do. It does, however, feel a little cheap around the edges and there are elements of the housing design that just feel a few generations old.
Ultimately there’s nothing too bad, especially when you consider the price.
When it comes to durability the A77 stood up to more than most and survived, which was definitely impressive.
Finally back home with the intact A77 and it was time to review the footage and here there were a few surprises in addition to what I had otherwise expected.
When filming I’d been impressed by the small LCD screen although it’s viewing angle is pretty limited. Unusually when the footage was transferred from the camera to computer the vibrancy and clarity from the small action camera screen transferred well to the big screen.
There were, however, a few issues. Primarily when filming in bright conditions the camera suffered from more glare than I’m used to, I thought this may have been caused by the housing but after removing it and checking again the same problem persisted confirming that it was a lens issue.
Out of direct bright light, the issue disappeared.
Overall the detail in the video was excellent with anything close to the camera showing plenty of detail and good colour and tonal rendition.
Objects a little further away from the camera did start to lose out on that detail and will start to get the painter like effect.
Testing the camera at 4K and the visual quality was excellent and even though the frame rate was limited to 25fps all motion looked nice and smooth.
Dropping the resolution to 1080p and 60fps and you can visibly see a drop in quality and while the motion is captured well for slow to mid speed you can start to see the camera struggle with the capture as the image starts to pixelate slightly.
This pixelation is pretty much in line with other entry-level cameras.
Overall performance was surprisingly good and I felt that with the 170º field of view offered by the camera and the relatively close focal distance it made this camera an ideal solution for families and vloggers.
The Apeman A77 is a nicely designed piece of kit. Keeping in mind that it is entry level the build quality is sufficient to last up to quite a bit of abuse and in the case of this test being left out in the wild for a week or two.
It also cleans up very nicely afterwards.
When it comes to control and functionality the camera is easy enough to navigate but it all feels a little last generation with the clunky button control.
Visually the image and video quality is good especially considering the price and my only real reservation would be the issue with lens flare.
If you’re in the market for a cheap action camera then the A77 at £50 is surprisingly good and well worth a go.