[nextpage title=”Introduction” ]
GoXtreme Barracuda 4K Snap Verdict
The GoXtreme Barracuda 4K may be an entry level action camera, but for just over £100/$100 you’re getting some pretty hefty features.
High resolution, decent framerates, large touch screen and fully integrated app.
The specifications and features are all there, but there is a cost. Build quilty is decidedly average, and nothing is protecting the lens which means that it’s a no-go for extreme sports enthusiasts.
However, with excellent image quality and plenty of resolution and framerate option, it still has appeal.
If you’re in the market for a well-priced family or vlogging action camera, then the GoXtreme Barracuda 4K is well worth a look.
- Decent image quality
- Waterproof without housing
- No lens protection
- Suffers in lower light
- Average build quality
The action camera market has taken a sudden change of direction. Rather than manufacturers racing for increased framerates and resolutions, they’re now looking towards ease of use.
The GoXtreme Barracuda 4K is a perfect example, it’s a decent size and features a large touchscreen.
Designwise the camera looks basic, there’s none of the flare that we’ve seen with many other cameras recently. The overall build and design can at best be described as average.
But then this is an entry-level action camera, and where it lacks in design and fineness of finish, it more than makes up for in features and video quality.
Feature-wise it hits 4K resolution, has 1080p at 60fps and slow-motion options, for ease of use it has that touchscreen and there’s no faffing around with a waterproof case.
The GoXtreme Barracuda 4K is from the outset a mixed bag – lacking in design finesse but overflowing with features and specifications.
At the price you can start to see the reasons for some of the decisions from GoXtreme – it’s a camera with potential but with some odd design decisions.
When you compare the feature list with other action cameras of the moment it has to be said it’s pretty mid-range.
4K at 25fps, 1080p at 60fps and 720p at 120fps, it also offers 10m waterproofing without a case, WiFi, 170 FOV lens f/2.5 with a 3mm focal length, slow motion, time-lapse, 20 million pixel stills (Interpolated) or 16 million pixels native.
These are all pretty standard specs, size wise the camera measures 65 x 46 x 28.5mm and weighs in at 99g without the cage. In all directions that’s quite a bit more than the GoPro Hero.
Interestingly GoXtreme has published the chipset used by the camera which is the Sunplus 6350 but not the image sensor.
The physical design of the camera is simple. The front holds the lens, power button and logo, top, the shutter and OK button, back, the 2-inch LCD.
On the side is a lockable door under which is the 1050mAh lithium battery, HDMI and USB 2.0 ports.
On the base is a 1/4-inch thread to attach a tripod of selfie stick.
Although the camera doesn’t require a waterproof case, there is a sperate cage that can be put on the camera so that it can be attached to a standard GoPro Mount.
Unlike the GoPro cage, the Barracuda 4K cage does not affect the camera’s waterproofing.
Finally and as with all entry level cameras, it comes with a good selection of mounts in the box including; Shield, Bike Mount, Orientation arms, Tripod Adapter, Mount Buckles and Helmet Mounts.
[nextpage title=”Build & Handling” ]
Build quality and handling
Let’s start with the build quality.
Action cameras are designed to be tough, hardworking and able to withstand anything that you throw at them.
When it came to the GoXtreme Barracuda 4K, during the test, it withstood being caked in mud, submerged in water and all the usual trials that I put action cameras through.
While it did withstand the tests, I had several concerns over the design and build quality.
The build is average, the finish is average, and everything about the look and feel of the camera is average. It should have been beige. That’s not to say it’s at all bad but just uninspiring.
To be honest, it’s almost as if GoXtreme looked at a spec sheet, picked all the best features and then went right, yes, that’s what we need.
They certainly made sure that the video quality is good and up to spec. But then it seems they ran out of cash for the actual design of the camera.
It’s functional, much like when you spent months finished an electronics project at school and then end up stuffing it all into a cheap generic black box bought from Maplin or RS.
Although the not bad label applies to the design for the most part, there is one serious cause for concern, and that’s the lens.
The issue will rule out the GoXtreme Barracuda 4K for serious off-road and extreme users.
What’s the issue? The lens is good, but it’s unprotected. Nothing is shielding it from all that mud and grit that gets thrown at it.
If that lens gets scratched and it will, then that’s it game over and new camera.
To give you an example the GoPro Hero 6 lasted a total of five minutes before I totalled the lens. The GoPro thankfully features a replaceable lens, but if it had been the Barracuda that would have been £100 wasted in five minutes.
Leaving the physicalities behind and the actual handling of the camera is good.
Once switched on the camera is easy to navigate. Tap the centre bottom of the screen, and four options appear, video, photo, settings and playback.
Tap the one you want, and further options appear. Each section is well thought out and easy enough to navigate to find the settings you want.
As ever there is an accompanying app. iSmart DV, this is the same App that GoXtreme use for their Pioneer camera and is perfectly good.
Through the app, you get a decent live view and access to all the usual controls over settings and remote recording.
In the test, this all worked well. There were a few occasions when the signal would drop out.
This happened quite a few times, especially when trying to preview footage.
[nextpage title=”Performance” ]
If the review sounds a bit down about the GoXtreme Barracuda 4K, it’s due to the design and not the performance.
Video quality is excellent for the price and switching between 4K for scene setting and 1080p at 60fps for shooting action proves that there is a good camera within the dull exterior.
4K is, of course, the big headline resolution and it’s good to see it appear not just as a token value but as a real usable option.
Shooting at 4K produced some tremendous detailed footage, and even in the low light conditions of the test, the footage showed the potential quality of the camera.
At just 25fps the 4K footage is good but the limitation of the 25fps does start to show. If you have too much movement in the scene you’re filming then you will start to see the jerkiness through lack of frames.
In our footage you could also see the grain, this grain although visible is excactly what I expected to see and is, for the most part, better than many cameras in this price range.
Drop the resolution down to 1080p at 60fps and the image quality is excellent, the addition frames make a difference to the quality of motion.
Drop the resolution again to 720p and the framerate up to 120fps, and you can start to have some fun with slow-motion, although the image quality does start to suffer.
Checking the actual video quality and it proves that there is a good quality camera packed inside.
The video quality is good, with high levels of detail, tone and colour. In lower light, you can start to see the introduction of grain but nothing too overbearing or worrying.
Lens distortion is very apparent, giving the stereotypical action camera look. I’d go as far to say that the distortion from the GoXtreme Barracuda 4K is untamed and it’s nice to see this extreme fish-eye perspective appearing.
Chromatic aberration is an issue in the corners and along the high-contrast edges, but again no more than expected for this type of camera.
[nextpage title=”Verdict” ]
The GoXtreme Barracuda 4K is a hard one to judge. On the one hand, you have a great camera with excellent video quality, an amazing set of features and it ultimately does the job.
On the other, you have a black box that needs some serious design intervention to make it a true action camera.
GoXtreme seems to have gathered all the best bits from the action camera world and then given the list to a computer to put it together. It’s essentially got it right but forgotten about the soul of the camera.
It has great potential, and despite the design flaws – the irreplaceable lens being the major one – it’s also at its heart a great camera. .
If you’re into extreme sports, then because of that lens this camera is a definite no.
However, when you consider the price, it is a good offering and should certainly appeal to families looking for a great quality camera to take away on a beach holiday.
Because of the video quality, the GoXtreme Barracuda 4K does redeem itself.
There is also one other major factor that suddenly elevates the GoXtreme Barracuda 4K, and that’s the price. When you’re dealing with the list of features that the Barracuda has to offer it’s all too easy to forget that it costs just over £100.
When you consider that, then despite the flaws I have to admit it’s a bit of a bargain.