iSAW Touch Snap Verdict
Action cameras have evolved, and the Isaw Touch is a testament to this. One button operation, glorious touchscreen, decent specification and a price that makes this an ideal entry-level action camera.
For Isaw Touch
- Huge touchscreen
- One button operation
- Compatible with GoPro mounts
Against Isaw Touch
- Interpolated 4K
- Average low light performance
- No advanced features
Action cameras have changed, and this change has been orchestrated by the market leaders GoPro with touchscreens, GPS, motion sensors and big-hitting resolutions and framerates.
However, unlike the first generation of action cameras, many of which were mere clones of the GoPro design and feature set, manufacturers these days have a more significant grasp of what users want and have adapted their models to suit.
The Isaw Touch is an entry-level camera, not one that tries to cram in the features in detriment to the overall quality of the camera; instead, it’s tuned to give those entering the action camera market the best possible experience.
This experience is apparent from the outset, with a quality waterproof housing and simple design that’s easy for anyone to use and understand.
It has features such as a resolution 4K and noteworthy framerates that hit 120fps, the headline feature, however, is the large touchscreen.
In a packed market are the Isaw Touch’s touchscreen and ease of use really what people want? Or would they prefer a cheap action camera that crams in everything? We put the Isaw Touch through its paces to find out if it can make an impact.
Many of today’ entry-level cameras pack in vast amounts of options and settings. All well and good until you come to use the camera out in the wild.
The Isaw Touch also packs in the options but manages to keep it all well organised, so like the GoPro Hero 6 Black it does at first seem that options are limited, but delve in and everything is revealed.
Delve into the settings, and you’ll soon discover Ultra HD 4K at 24fps, although interpolated. It also has 2k; I’ve yet to meet anyone who uses this resolution, Full HD 1080p at 60, 30fps and 720p at 120, 60 and 30fps. Finally, there’s even VGA at 240fps.
It certainly offers the video options….
Powering the quality is a Sony 12MP image sensor fronted by a 170° degree field-of-view lens with 7 Glass elements.
Keeping the camera safe is the 100-feet 30m waterproof housing. As this model is all about the touchscreen, there’s an alternative touchscreen backdoor that can be attached. While this will retain waterproofing to some extent, it’s recommended that when the touch door is used purely for surface activities rather than diving.
As well as straight video the Isaw Touch can also capture stills at up to 16 million pixels and features other shooting modes including time-lapse and burst photos.
The big selling point for the Touch is the built-in 2.5-inch LCD touch screen which is larger than the Yi 4K+.
The camera also features built-in WiFi so that you can connect to your iOS or Android device using the OKCAM app.
Other nifty features include built-in stabilisation, motion detection, effects modes and a decent amount of manual control over the exposure settings.
In the box along with the camera, there are all the usual mounts and accessories, including, bike, helmet and surf.
There’s also an Isaw wrist remote that enables you to start and stop recording without touching either camera or your phone.
Build quality and handling
The Touch features a good quality case, one slight oddity that instantly stands out if that the lens cover is portrait rather than landscape orientation.
The orientation of the lens cover doesn’t make any difference to the quality of the footage or indeed the way the camera works; it’s done this way as the lens on the camera is closer to the edge of the body that you’d typically expect to see.
An excellent feature of the lens cover is that it is entirely flat so can be wiped clean quickly when covered in mud.
The rest of the case is pretty standard and straightforward; one shutter button on top, a level lock holding it all secure and a GoPro mount on the base.
The lever lock on top features a small secondary lock ensuring that the case won’t accidentally pop open, and the rear door can be replaced with the touch screen compatible version if required.
As ever when it comes to swapping these doors be prepared for a bit of a battle to remove and replace the securing pin in the hinge.
Once the case is open, there’s a good rubber seal around the opening, and the rear door features a foam pad to keep the camera from rattling about inside. There isn’t, however, a pad around the lens opening, not an essential but a feature often seen on premium models.
The lens cover is replaceable with four Philips type screws keeping it secure; these are only accessed once the camera is out of the case.
Quality finish to the camera
The camera itself has a good quality feel to it. All plastic with a textured edge.
The plastic finish of the front of the camera looks great, and the texture and large touch screen elevate the overall quality feel above other entry-level cameras.
The shutter button on top is small but has a positive action when pressed and is the only button.
The lens looks excellent quality.
On the left side of the camera as you look at it from the back is the USB and Micro HDMI ports and on the base is the door to the battery and MicroSD card slot.
These doors feel of a lesser quality to premium models but are in line with this level of camera.
Also on the base is a standard 1/4-inch thread so a selfie stick or tripod can be attached.
The overall build quality of the Isaw Touch is above many other entry-level cameras elevated by an outstanding housing and good overall finish to the camera.
The touch screen elevates handling
Although action cameras have been designed so that you can shoot footage in places and situations that would otherwise be impossible, until the latest generation the handling of these cameras has often been far from user-friendly.
Touch screens have been one of the most significant innovations for these cameras, and this is definitely true when it comes to using the Isaw Touch.
The camera is quickly switched on with the dual use shutter/power button, and then all functions and features can be accessed through the touchscreen.
Clicking the small cog enables you to access the shooting settings such as resolutions and framerates, while the bar at the bottom allows you to select the shooting mode. On the far left is the review option.
If you need to connect to the mobile app, then a quick swipe down enables you to access the Wifi and a few other options.
In use, the Isaw Touch was almost identical to the Yi 4K+, incredibly intuative and easy to use.
In use you have to remember that the Isaw Touch is an entry-level model, it feels like a premium product with the solid casing and large touchscreen.
Navigating settings, especially with the touchback fitted onto the case made it one of the most accessible cameras on the market and very like the top end Yi 4K+.
Reviewing footage and the quality shows the Isaw Touch fits more closely into the entry-level sector.
Starting with the interpolated 4K, (Interpolated means that the footage is stretched to fit the resolution). Despite the pulling and stretching the quality is still pretty good and as long as you’re not comparing directly side-by-side with true 4K footage you’d be perfectly happy with the results.
The more critical resolution is 1080p at 60 and 30fps. Although Full HD may seem a little long in the tooth these days, it’s still the most popular format.
At 1080p, 60fps the camera performs well, although I did find that the standard sharpening applied to the image is a little over the top.
Drop the sharpening down to soft, and it lessens some of the pixelation that appears.
The motion capture at 60fps is excellent with smooth frames that look great.
Shooting in typical British winter conditions, so dull, means that the sensor has to work a little harder. The result is reduced video quality.
In brighter conditions, pixelation eases, and quality rapidly improves.
Drop the frame rate to 30fps, and again there is an increase in quality. Compare video shot in bright and lower light conditions, and there is a big difference.
To be fair to the camera, it performed well and with a little tweaking of the manual settings for sharpness and exposure compensation the results were excellent.
In the past, I have been impressed with the quality of the Isaw product range. They have consistently produced cameras that have balanced quality with usability and price.
The Isaw Touch is an innovation in the market, and there are elements of the camera that are very familiar.
The Touchscreen is exceptional, in the same way as the Yi 4K+’s touch screen is outstanding, but here on the Touch despite it being a cheaper camera, it’s larger.
Navigating the settings, and filming couldn’t be easier and for anyone wanting an action camera to get started the Isaw Touch offers a great deal.
It manages to keep things simple but still offer plenty of options and control. It should find appeal with anyone wanting a first action camera or anyone wanting a compact video camera to life events.
In use you do have to remember that this is an entry-level model so doesn’t pack in those additional features such as voice control, GPS or motion sensors.
You also have to remember that the image quality isn’t going to be up there with the Yi 4K+ or GoPro Hero 6 Black especially in low light.
Despite this the visual quality is good especially in bright conditions, the footage is clear, bright and crisp with plenty of detail. Play around with the manual settings especially the sharpness, and you’ll see a significant improvement in the pixelation.
At a touch under £140, the Isaw Touch is an exceptional action camera and one that follows on from the legacy of the Isaw edge. It’s also one of the first of the new generation of action cameras that ups the game when it comes to what we should expect when it comes to usability and features.