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Uten 4K Ultra HD snap verdict
You can now buy the Uten 4K Ultra HD action camera for less than £50. For that price, you get 4K video at 30fps and 1080p at 60fps and it arrives with all the mounts you could need to get started and a spare battery, so what’s the catch? Low light performance isn’t great and there are quite a few glare issues with the lens housing. The image also gets rather soft towards the edges and theres very evident signs of chromatic aberation especially towards the corners. If you’re looking for a cheap action camera then the Uten is certainly that, but despite the low light issues that result in high grain and flare the motion is good and smooth. As long as you’re not expecting GoPro quality the Uten could be a good first camera.
For GoXtreme Vision 4K
- Very low price
- 1080p at 60fps
- Spare battery
- Basic feature set
- Screen difficult to see from an angle
- Poor low light performance
Recently I’ve seen a massive influx of low priced action cameras, but amongst them, the Uten 4K Ultra HD caught my eye. On the surface and as with other sub-£50 action cameras, the Uten looks the business, but can you really get a fully fledged action camera for this price?
The Uten 4K Ultra HD certainly looks the part and running through the specifications and features everything seems to add up fine.
I was expecting the build quality to be a little flakey around the edges, but a quick cursory look and all seems to be good.
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Let’s start by looking at those features, first of all, this camera boasts 4K resolution at a very reasonable 30fps. That’s more than many cameras twice the price.
It also features 2.7K at 30fps and more importantly 1080p at 60fps – for me that places the camera into the true action camera arena rather than it being purely a camera that looks like an action camera but can’t do the job.
As well as the video mode it shoots stills at 16MP and fronting the camera is the usual 170º wide angled lens. This lens gives a slight fish-eye perspective of the world which is a common action camera trait.
Delving deeper into the features and there’s also time-lapse, loop recording, slow motion and timed shooting.
The slow-mo mode which is always the one that draws the most interest is offered at 1080p at 60fps and 720P at 120 fps.
One thing that’s common amongst cameras in this price range is the volume of extras, and the Uten is quite reserved – it also arrives in a very nice box that is one up from what I’d usually expect.
Back to those accessories, as well as an array of useful mounts you also get the Wireless wrist remote. This is pretty standard stuff and enables you to start and stop recording.
Keeping the cameras safe is a 30m waterproof housing, with the flat lens on the front.
Power is supplied by a 1050mAh lithium-ion battery, and this supplies an hour and a half of camera use depending on the mode. They also include a spare battery in the box which is a nice touch.
What stands out is that Uten is so confident about the quality of their camera that they offer 1-year money back guarantee.
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Build quality and handling
£50 or less, in this case, isn’t a great deal to pay for an action camera but then with such demand and competition, it’s a hard market.
On balance, the Uten has plenty to offer when it comes to specifications and when looking closely at whats on offer it’s very close to the GoXtreme Vision 4K and the ODRVM.
This two camera proved that you could get a true action camera for less than £100, but now the Uten seems to offer the same for less than £50 and with more. There really must be a catch.
Taking a look at the camera and as ever it’s encased in a waterproof housing. This is of a good design with a nice flat lens which makes it easy to clean and wipe crud from in the british winter. It also features a single action lever lock which is good.
Once open the case shows it’s of a decent enough quality with pads to ensure that the camera stays put and doesn’t rattle around, it does, however, lack some of the finer features such as a rubber pad around the lens insert, but then I wouldn’t expect that at this price.
Dropping the camera out and it seems of a reasonable quality no better or worse than the two cameras I mentioned earlier. Again additional details such as doors to protect the ports are absent, but at this price does that matter? Not really.
Looking at the camera and the button layout is very familiar, one shutter button on top, power button on the front and navigation buttons up and down on the side.
Powering the camera up and the world comes alive on the small LCD. Again this is a surprisingly good quality with a quality preview and easy to read options.
The interface as with the button layout looks remarkably familiar and gives you the basics which due to the button layout are extremely easy to navigate.
The camera appears to offer everything you could need, it’s of decent quality without the thrills, but in essence, this is a true action camera, and I feel confident that it will stand up to the abuse I’m about to put it through.
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In recent years I’ve turned into a bit of a fair weathered rider – suns out I’m out, the first touch of rain and I’ll find something else to do.
The good thing about action camera reviews is you’re forced out in all sorts of conditions to see how they perform. The unfortunate part is that most action cameras also hate the Britsh winter, not so much the cold and rain more the complete lack of light.
For me, low light is the least of my worries when winter riding but that low light can dramatically effect image quality especially when it comes to action cameras.
The Uten doesn’t handle low light well with the image showing plenty of chromatic grain in the shadows, even in brighter conditions this grain is apparent.
But that isn’t the only issue I came across, the housing which had so much promise through the design seems to enhance the amount of flare produced by the lens and gives footage a very distinctive look.
In brighter condition, you could also see that the edge of the frame was definitely soft and there was quite an apparent sign of chromatic aberration.
One plus point for the grain is that it’s very uniform and gives footage an almost filmic look.
Also looking at the positives colour, tone and contrast are handled well.
Although the camera struggles with low light, it does manage to redeem itself when it comes to the quality of the motion capture, and even at 30fps, the footage shot looked smooth.
Ramp up the framerate to 60fps or even 4K at 30fps and the smoothness of the footage is still good.
The camera was also able to adapt to light changes quickly although riding through the woods did show that the Uten had quite a limited dynamic range.
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The Uten is a great looking camera, and although it shows obvious signs that it is at the budget end of the market it still has plenty to offer.
In use, the LCD enabled easy navigation and used with the buttons made making changes to recording options quick and easy.
The LCD does the job but it can be difficult to make out the footage if not viewed direct, look at it from a slight angle and the image on screen will start to fade and disappear.
As you start to get familiar with the camera, you start to realise that the build quality is just OK, and I did find that there we’re a few issues with the waterproof housing.
The housing did protect the camera from water, mud and crud but the protective lens contributed to some of the image quality issues especially when it came to the increased flare and some slight internal reflections in bright conditions.
Light plays a major role in the quality of the footage that this camera is capable of capturing as does the contrast of the conditions.
If the light is low such as late afternoon or anytime British winter then the small camera struggles, and all footage shows a heavy and unavoidable grain.
Even in increased light conditions that grain is still apparent but at a slightly lesser and more acceptable extent.
That all being said, let’s not forget where this camera is placed on the market. At £50 it’s about as cheap as you can get but still offers you the features of cameras twice its price.
It does supply you with impressively smooth footage, and, for the most part, I quite liked the grain but the limitations of dynamic range I found to be more of an issue.
This is a camera for the summer, at £50 it’s cheap and does the job. However, spend a little more, and the increase in video quality does improve even if the features remain much the same.