The GoXtreme Pioneer is an entry level action camera, and the price and specs are ideal for anyone just getting into the genre.
The Pioneer looks the part, but the features and specifications mean that it’s right on the edge of what would usually deem as acceptable for an action camera.
It may be built for action, but it’s only capable of capturing footage at relatively low frame rates.
The overall built and footage quality is a step-up from many other budget cameras, so despite the price and framerate limitations, it could still be a good choice for any budding action camera user.
Even entry-level action cameras need to provide users with a tough go anywhere camera that’s capable of capturing the action.
I have a baseline for true action cameras when it comes to specifications, and part of that at present is 1080p at 60fps and 4K at 30fps.
These frame rates and resolutions are needed to capture action with smooth motion; however when the price mark dips below £50, then certain allowances have to be made.
What does the Pioneer offer? 4K at ten frames per second (fps), 1080p at 30 fps and 720p at 30fps, these all fall well short.
The sensor inside is just 5mp meaning that it’s possible to capture 5mp and 2mp still images. The camera also offers 8mp and 12mp options although these are interpolated.
There are also options for burst shooting and a time-lapse mode.
The camera is fronted by a 140º lens; this offers a smaller field of view than many action cameras which are usually around 160-170º.
The cameras physical size is comparable with most other action cameras measuring 59 x 24 x 40 mm. It also comes with a decent waterproof housing that offers 30m of water protection.
The camera weighs in at 58g or 116g with the waterproof housing.
On the back is a 2.0”/5cm Display which enables you to compose the shot as well as review footage and sort through the menu screens.
As you’d expect, as well as visuals, the Pioneer also records audio.
Storage is provided by a MicroSD card, and the camera requires a class 10 card with a maximum capacity of 32GB.
As ever the camera features Wi-Fi and there’s an app for iOS and Android that enables you to take full control of the camera.
Connection wise alongside Wi-Fi you also have USB 2.0 and HDMI.
Power is supplied by a 900mAh lithium battery, and additional batteries can be purchased.
Build Quality & Handling
The specifications of the Pioneer are certainly conservative especially when you consider I’ve recently tested cameras that are only a touch more expensive, yet framerates are more than double.
However – coming from GoXtreme you know there has to be a reason, and as you break the camera out of the box and get started you instantly see that quality is at the heart of this budget offering.
Starting with the case, almost everything about the removable waterproof housing fits the action camera brief. The lever lock secures the door firmly, and there is little or no possibility of accidentally releasing it.
The spring-loaded buttons are a decent size, and all make contact through the case with the camera positively.
The lens on the front is flat, so wipes clean of mud easily and the round design proved it was able to reduce the effect of any flare well, something that many other cameras recently have had a real issue with.
Release the camera from the housing and it instantly feels of a better quality than many other cameras I’ve recently seen, with good positive feeling buttons, and a clear layout.
Switching the camera on and the GoXtreme bootup screen appears before you’re able to start using the camera.
The bootup sequence takes a couple of seconds.
Once confronted with the menu screens I found it was easy enough to find my way around using the two navigation buttons on the side and the shutter and mode button on the front of the camera.
The rear LCD is of a surprisingly good quality for a camera at this price. The live view is excellent for composing the shot and using for navigating settings as well as review footage worked equally well.
The live view shows the usual fish-eye distortion that’s common with action cameras, but as this camera only features a 140º field of view, the distortion isn’t overbearing.
This shows a good thought process for the camera as the video will show fewer signs of distortion than cameras with a wider field of view. It’s also easier to control image quality properties such as chromatic aberration, contrast, colour and flare.
Loading the app and it’s all surprisingly easy and straightforward.
During the camera’s test the weather was mainly quite dull, probably the worst conditions for any action camera as the small sensors can struggle with the limited light.
I have to say that the GoXtreme Pioneer faired exceptionally well. The footage looked a little soft due to the low light rather than the quality of the lens, far better than footage from cameras that cost twice as much.
Switching settings was also easy with the camera being fast and responsive. There was never any doubt about the resolutions, settings or operation of the camera.
I was worried about the 30fps at 1080p, but looking through the footage and the Pioneer once again proved itself, you could see a little jerkiness and break up but to be honest, on the ride we really weren’t moving that fast in the cold UK winter conditions.
Although the 1080p performance was good, the 4K footage did look stilted with the 10fps playback. If 4K is to be used with this camera, it should really only be for scene setting and not capturing the action, or you really will be disappointed.
The small lens performed exceptionally well showing a little blue chromatic aberration around the edge but nothing too drastic or unexpected.
The quality of the footage captured by the GoXtreme Pioneer was good, especially the tone, contrast and colour.
Did it make me re-think my minimum specs for an action camera? Not really – I prefer to think of the GoXtreme Pioneer as an exception to the rule.
These days I, as should you, expect an action camera to be able to capture the action with smooth motion.
The Pioneer has the quality of visuals, and for most situations filming at 1080p, the 30fps is more than enough.
But push the speed of that motion, and the video will start to break up, and you’ll lose some of the quality that we now come to expect from this type of camera.
Saying that the GoXtreme offers, for the most part, everything that most action camera users could want.
If you’re a family and want an action camera to capture a holiday in the snow or sun, then this camera is ideal.
For divers filming underwater, for anyone needing an action camera for fun then this is a camera that is seriously worth some attention.
If you’re into true extreme sports, then this isn’t the camera for you, but for pretty much everyone else there is little to fault.
The GoXtreme Pioneer is an excellent camera at a fantastic price.