AKASO Brave 7 LE Review

So much potential but far from a GoPro competitor

AKASO Brave 7 LE Review
Review
Website: Akaso

Price when reviewed

£139

$139
Check current price

Our Verdict

Everything about the AKASO Brave 7 LE Looks right, a subtle mix of the GoPro and OSMO action cameras, paired with a decent specs list. Outwardly the camera looks to have shed the waterproof housing that's common with many entry-level action cameras. But, this isn't quite the case, it is IPX7 rated but this means that it's weatherproof rather than waterproof, but at least a step in the right direction. The Camera does come with a traditional waterproof housing but this is in stark contrast to the camera it's self, bulky and badly designed, a peculiar mix. Getting the camera out into the field and the user interface and ease of use do boost the camera's potential. The cameras image quality, however, is mixed, you won't be disappointed, but neither will you be blown away. The additional features of the front screen and no need for housing in most situations, do make this a very usable camera but the far cheaper Brave 6 Plus seems to have far better video quality.

For

  • Good interface
  • Water-resistant without the supplied housing

Against

  • Poor results at frame rates above 30fps
  • Poor waterproof housing design
What is the AKASO Brave 7 LE

The AKASO Brave 7 LE is an all-new action camera from one of the fastest-growing manufacturers in the sector. It looks the part with a weatherproof body, dual screens, EIS, easy to use touch screen and functions.

Checking the sales blurb it looks like this Brave 7 LE is AKASOs flagship camera and at least when it arrives, it certainly has that feel.

The AKASO Brave 7 LE looks to be the action camera designed to take on the market leaders in both looks and function, but at this price can it really come anywhere close?

The Brave 6 Plus and the Brave 7 LE arrived at the same time, two new cameras for the AKASO. AKASO specialise in entry-level action cameras, and some that I’ve looked at in the past have been very good, some OK, and some best avoided.

The Brave 6 Plus was a good entry-level camera, pretty decent for filming family and friends, having a bit of fun and even using as a vlogging camera with an external mic.

The Brave 7 LE arrived in similar packaging and from the price and designed difference I thought it was going to be a considerable quality enhancement over the cheaper camera.

However, it doesn’t take long to discover that this is not the camera you think it is.

Check out the official product page at https://www.akasotech.com/brave7le /

Specification

  • Camera type: Action cam
  • Maximum video resolution: 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps
  • Stills resolution: 20Mp
  • Stabilisation: 6-axis
  • Screen: 2-inch rear touchscreen, small front screen
  • Connectivity: 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, HDMI
  • Weatherproofing: IPX7 water-resistance, waterproof case for down to 40m
Features

Let’s do a quick run-through of the camera and features.

On first seeing the camera you’d think that it was, like the GoPro Hero 8 Black and OSMO Action, waterproof without the need for a casing. It’s not! It’s, in fact, IPX7 water-resistant, which is a step in the right direction but does require a waterproof housing to enable the camera to be submerged into water.

The waterproof housing is big and bulky but will protect the camera down to a depth of 98ft/30m.

What instantly gives the camera a premium feel are the Dual screens, one front and the other back, very similar to those found on the excellent OSMO action. These are both full colour with the one on the rear being a large 2-inch touch display.

The idea of the front screen is that it can be switched to when you want to check your composition or if you’re shooting selfies or vlogging.

Image and video specifications are not bad, at 30fps at 4K and 60fps at 1080p. It can also shoot stills at 20mp.

Image stabilisation on GoPro and the DJI is a huge feature, and here AKASO includes their 6-axis stabilisation which is good to see.

A standard feature for all action cameras is the app, and here AKASO has supplied a fully-featured offering that ‘s available for iOS And Android systems.

There’s’ also an HDMI port so you can plug the action camera directly into a TV.

In the box, along with a good volume of accessories, you’ll find a wrist remote that enables you to start and stop recording.

Powering the camera is a powerful 1350mAh battery, and a nice touch here is that AKASO has included two batteries in the box, which is more than enough.

Build and Handling

The AKASO Brave 7 LE is well built, feels solid and has a good weight to it. The quality of the plastic body feels good. Although there are some design style hints that show that this camera is not at the same level as the GoPro Hero 8 Black or OSMO action, it’s not far behind.

Powering the camera up and flicking through the screens and options and again it all looks pretty good, there’s really no faulting the responsiveness of that rear-facing touch screen.

To active the front screen, the M button on top needs to be held down for a couple of seconds before the rear screen goes blank and the front screen springs to life in full colour.

The camera seems impressive, it certainly has the looks, and with plenty of accessories, it’s easy enough to mount to a bike or for that matter anything else you wish to attach it to.

Mounting the camera onto the bike in the first instance I used the waterproof housing. This housing is large and looks cheap, and after the first ride out it proved that it was definitely something that should only be used in the water. The housing caused rattles and noise from the frame made that essentially made the audio unusable.

Also, however tight the mount is tightened, that rattle and vibration through to the camera were unavoidable. This is due to a far from snug fit for the camera inside the housing.

For the next outing, I took the camera out of the housing and screwed in the 1/4-inch through mount onto the base and used an official GoPro mount instead. The difference that made to the audio and visual quality was huge. I’ll talk about the quality in the performance section.

Despite the initial teething issues with the camera, I have to say I was impressed with the ease of use. The camera, especially out of the waterproof housing was easy to navigate and use.

On the bike or filming a vlog, the ease of use of the camera is excellent and although small, that front display screen is incredibly useful.

There’s no doubt that this camera performs, out on the trail and the direct access to the back screen makes it simple and easy to navigate with the touch screen.

By swiping up on the screen you get direct access to the resolution and quality settings along with the ability to switch on and off the EIS.

The build and handling of the AKASO for a camera at this price is good and shows a marked improvement in the market for entry-level cameras.

Performance

While the build and handling of the camera installed the impression of quality when it came to the first test of the video the results were shocking.

Starting out with the camera in the waterproof housing and the results we’re near unusable due to the rattle. The fit for the camera just isn’t great and if used on a bike off-road, then even with the EIS on, the volume of vibration makes the footage a slushy mess.

After this first failed venture the camera was removed from the case and placed back on the bike using only the 1/4-inch mount.

The improvement is instant, watching back the footage there is now a usable audio track and the amount of vibration is vastly reduced.

Checking the quality of the footage and the results are interesting. At 4K 30fps the quality of the footage is good, full of detail, although just a little over-sharpened. Checking through the settings there’s no option to adjust.

Reducing the resolution to 1080p 30fps and again the footage is good, with the ability to upsample the footage comfortably to 2K without noticing the effect too much.

However, at 1080p 60fps the footing starts to show its limitations. The video is fine played back at 1080p but scaled up to view on a MacBook Pro screen and you can see the clear reduction in detail and even some pixelation.

The effect of light levels was also dramatic on the quality of the video footage, in low light the quality of video plummets.

Overall the video quality at 4K and 1080p at 30fps is good and mediocre at 1080 60fps. Likewise pushing that resolution and framerate to 720p at 120fps and again the footage saw another drop in quality.

Verdict

The AKASO Brave 7 LE is a mixed bag. The design of the camera itself and usability is excellent. The waterproof housing is not a great design but does the job of keeping the camera safe underwater, and once you’ve stuffed some rag in the side it helps improve the audio quality and vibration.

The water-resistance of the camera without the housing is reassuring and means that in most activities you have direct access to the touch screen which probably explains the additional cost over the Brave 6 Plus.

The usability is the real star of this camera, the interface is well worked out and incredibly easy to use. The fast access to the resolutions and framerates is handy and means that you can swap and change as needed depending on the activity.

The quality of the footage is an issue, as we’ve seen with previous AKASO cameras. The high 4K resolution was good as was the 1080p resolution at 30fps but go above this to 60fps and that quality does start to fade.

There are also a few odd choices first highlighted by the waterproof housing which seem to have come from a different generation of camera. Then there’s the old style micro USB connection on the side instead of a USB Type-C, a very odd choice for a flagship camera.

The AKASO Brave 7 LE is an OK camera, it can shoot decent quality footage and you have the ability to use the camera without the housing which is a real benefit. But at the price, it still seems a touch too much for a camera that struggles with video quality even at a relatively mainstream 1080p at 60fps.

The AKASO Brave 6 Plus is far cheaper and a far better choice.

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