Once upon a time, GoPro was king of the action camera market. However here in 2021, there are several GoPro alternatives offering better value, reliability and features.
The latest GoPros have unresponsive UIs, fixed screens, no 4K/120p mode and batteries that aren’t backwards compatible. They’re also expensive!
Delivering 360-degree footage and first-rate image stabilization, this durable little camera is ready for adventure.
However, if you want to rival the electronic image stabilization and video recording quality of the GoPro Hero 9, you need to be prepared to spend as much, if not more on an action camera.
In this guide, we’ll introduce the best GoPro alternative action cameras, as well as some cheaper options if you’re on a budget.
Let’s take a closer look at the recommendations.
Best GoPro Alternatives in 2021
Insta360 One X2
- Superb image stabilization
- Fully waterproof
- Excellent image quality
- 4 x microphones for spatial sound
- Fully spherical, 360 footage
- Impressive video editing app
- Inferior low light performance
- Audio quality not the best
Imagine being able to mount your action cam anywhere and grab footage in 360 degrees. You’d never even have to worry about which direction the lens was pointing.
Pretty neat, huh?
That’s just one of the major upsides of the Insta360 One X2, which we’re calling the best GoPro alternative available right now.
The Insta360 works by taking a completely spherical recording. Later, in editing, you can choose which perspective of the recording you want to showcase in your footage.
That also means you have the option to cut several different angles from the one recording, limiting the need to take multiple action cameras on your adventures.
The solid, rectangular shape of the Insta360 makes it highly pocketable as well as durable. It’s also waterproof to 10 meters (32 feet) so no worries about using it for watersports or in heavy downpours.
The Insta360 records in 5.7K, delivering excellent video quality when lighting is good. In low light, footage does suffer and image quality declines somewhat.
Where the Insta360 really breaks ground is in its electronic image stabilization. Take it on any extreme sports adventure over rough terrain and the FlowState 6-axis gyro-based stabilization will ensure smooth footage every time.
As well as video, you can capture images at 18MP resolution, with the option to shoot in Raw for more flexible post-processing.
Audio-wise, this action cam doesn’t win any awards for its sound quality – although the inclusion of four mics for spatial sound does put it a step up over some other GoPro alternatives.
Another thing we love about the Insta360 is its mobile app. It’s both intuitive and powerful, with inbuilt effects and AI tools that take away much of the hard work.
The app also includes an inbuilt social media platform for sharing all your awesome footage, plus plenty of tutorials in case you get stuck.
Being able to quickly and easily process your videos and images on the go is a huge added bonus to this already impressive action camera and another reason why it tops the list of best GoPro alternatives in 2021.
DJI Osmo Action
- Super rugged build
- Colour displays on both sides
- Voice control function
- Excellent image stabilization
- No live streaming
- No tripod socket
- No stabilization in HDR mode
This very worthy GoPro alternative offers the kind of durability every dare-devil wants from their action camera.
Dive with it up to 11 meters (36 feet) deep and do gnarly ski jumps with it in temperatures of -10°C (14°F).
Video resolution is highly commendable, with 4K footage at up to 60fps and 1080p slow motion at up to 240fps.
The DJI Osmo Action also allows for HDR video recording – a feature your GoPro camera may well not have. (Note, though, that HDR footage doesn’t feature image stabilization.)
Want to use your action cam to shoot vlogs or selfies? With full-colour screens on both front and back, the DJI Osmo Action ensures your compositions are always on point.
The 1.4-inch front screen doesn’t include touch functionality, while the 2.25-inch rear screen is touch-sensitive and has a waterproof, fingerprint-resistant, hydrophobic coating.
For moments when you’re too busy gripping the handlebars (or, you know, chasing your kids around) you can use the voice control function. Shout out “Start Recording,” “Stop Recording,” “Screen Switch,” “Take Photo” or “Shut Down” to operate the camera.
Download the DJI Mimo app (available for both Android and iOS) and you can even use your smartphone as a remote control, making it easy to change shooting modes and settings from afar.
Unlike the Insta360, this action camera doesn’t capture a spherical view – but the 145-degree wide-angle lens does a good job of fitting both an action hero and plenty of scenery into the footage.
It’s also super easy to add and swap out filters for the lens, allowing you to use an ND filter to take advantage of 24fps even in very bright conditions.
DJI’s RockSteady electronic image stabilization makes for super smooth videos, and video quality doesn’t disappoint. Unfortunately, you can’t live stream video with it – but that’s one nitpick against a long list of positives.
In all, the DJI Osmo Action deserves its place high on our list of best GoPro alternatives.
Oclu Action Camera
- Sleek, low-profile design
- Rich, vibrant colours
- LiveCut feature for editing on the fly
- Easy to mount
- Interchangeable batteries
- Magnetic charging
- Great value
- Glitchy mobile app
- No 4K image stabilization
- Mediocre battery life
As we’ve seen, action cameras these days come in all shapes and sizes. The OCLU Action Camera aims to shake up the market further with its “sleek, aerodynamic design” and low-profile format.
The OCLU measures a little more than an inch high (2.8 cm) and 2.4 inches across (6.1 cm). On top of the camera body, you’ll find a small but bright LCD screen that gives you key information and allows some basic editing (more on that later).
This budget GoPro alternative shoots still images at 12MP and records video at 4K (maximum frame rate of 30p). Using the action cam’s full HD video mode, you can shoot super-slow-mo at 120fps.
You also get modes like timelapse, burst mode, loop recording, and a motion sensor mode that’s great if you only want the camera to start rolling once you get in front of it.
The OCLU Action Camera comes with basic image stabilization but it’s not available in all modes – in fact, it only works at 1080p. If you’re shooting 4k video, you’ll have to sacrifice the smoothness of the footage for the higher resolution – not an optimal scenario if you need optimal video quality.
Another downside of the OCLU is that battery life is not the best. While the shooting time is fairly standard (you can manage just over an hour of shooting at 4k), the battery runs down much quicker when using particular functions – like if you use the built-in wifi to connect to your smartphone.
On the plus side, image quality is clear and bright with vibrant colours, which adds much to the OCLU’s reputation as a worthy sports camera. The magnetic battery charging function is efficient and useful, although we couldn’t get the file transfer to work via the magnetic cable, having to resort to using an SD card reader instead.
The OCLU offers a neat feature called LiveCut that allows you to cut footage on the go. This is great for when you’re capturing an action repeatedly (like a skateboarding or snowboarding trick) and you want to delete all the failed attempts immediately to save space.
The OCLU Action Camera has an IPX7 standard waterproof rating (1 meter for 30 mins). Add the OcShell waterproof case, and you can take it to depths of 50 meters (164 feet) and do some awesome video underwater.
The OcShell has a hydrophobic coating that protects against impacts and dirt as well as water, so it’s a worthwhile accessory to have. Unfortunately, it has to be purchased separately (approx. US$39.99), but considering the budget price of the camera itself, this isn’t such a bad thing.
If you intend to use your action camera in wet or muddy situations, be sure to pick up the waterproof housing, as well as one of the other optional accessories – our favourite is the chest harness, which is comfortable, well made and easy to use. Having tested it for hours on multiple bike rides, you almost forget you’re wearing it.
OCLU’s accompanying app isn’t not the best one we’ve tried, suffering from some connectivity lagging issues – we solved this by engaging Airplane Mode, but this obviously isn’t ideal if you need to use your phone for calls etc.
On the whole, though, this action camera makes for a very decent GoPro alternative – especially thanks to its sleek, easy-to-mount design and on-the-fly editing.
It’s also frequently on sale, so f you’re looking for the best budget GoPro alternative, this is definitely the one to get.
Insta360 Go 2
- Plenty of mounting options
- Tiny, light and inconspicuous
- Superior image stabilization
- Case works as charger and remote control
- Short battery life
- No screen
If this teeny, tiny device doesn’t look like other action cameras, that’s because it isn’t. But don’t let its inconspicuous appearance fool you: depending on your needs, it might well be the best GoPro alternative for you.
This thumb-sized action cam weighs in at just 27 grams (under an ounce). For comparison, the GoPro HERO9 Black weighs 158 grams (5.6 ounces).
The small size and light weight of the Insta360 Go 2 means you can mount it just about anywhere, and it comes with three versatile mounting options included.
One of the mounts is a clever magnetic pendant that allows you to hang the camera around your neck and have it stay firmly put as if by magic. There’s also a clip mount and a pivot stand.
This action camera also comes with its own protective case that does double (quadruple?) duty as a mini-tripod, remote control and battery charger.
While poor battery life is one of our main complaints with the Insta360 Go 2 (it dies after about 30 minutes of continuous shooting), the charging case does add an extra 2.5 hours in run time. You can then recharge the case via its USB-C port.
The Go 2 is relatively rugged, and you don’t need a waterproof housing to shoot underwater scenes with it – it’s waterproof to 4 meters (13 feet). Just leave the charging case ashore.
Video quality on the Insta360 Go 2 is excellent given the size of the device. While you won’t get 4k video, you get 1440p – a nice step up from the 1080p delivered by its predecessor (the Insta360 Go).
Despite being a smaller and cheaper sibling in the Insta360 family, the Go 2 takes advantage of the same incredible FlowState image stabilization technology as the One X2. That means you can count on smooth footage and shake-free photos.
Other features include a horizon lock, timelapse and hyperlapse modes, slow motion at 120fps, and easy AI-powered editing using the paired app.
The spy-cam-style size of the Go 2 means you have to sacrifice something, and that something is a screen. You can’t preview what you’re shooting or set up a neatly composed frame with this action cam.
How suitable that makes it really depends on what you want to use it for. If you need a camera you can mount inconspicuously or in tiny nooks and crannies, this is definitely the GoPro alternative you need.
We’ve found that thanks to its unique design and incredible versatility, the Go 2 can quickly become your “go-to” for a variety of situations.
- Super durable and waterproof
- Bright, tilt-out LCD screen
- Good image stabilization
- Built-in LED headlight
- Good battery life
- Fixed f/2 aperture
- Some distortion and vignetting due to ultra-wide-angle
The Olympus tough range prides itself on durability: these cameras are waterproof, shockproof, crushproof, freezeproof, and dustproof!
So what does that mean in practice?
With the Olympus TG-Tracker, it means you can take it diving to 30 meters (98 feet), drop it from a height of 2.1 meters (7 feet) without it smashing to bits, crush it under 100 kg (220 lbs) of weight (don’t ask us how you’d do that), and use it in freezing conditions of -10°C (14°F).
If extreme adventures are your bag… your bag will welcome this little action cam.
The camera features a fixed ultra-wide-angle lens with an aperture of f/2.0, which makes for some nice bright shots. As you’d expect from a 204° angle, the lens gives quite a fisheye effect to your images and footage.
It also results in some distortion and vignetting in the far corners.
The TG-Tracker lets you record videos in Ultra HD 4K, but it’s limited to 30fps. That bumps up to 60fps if you shoot in FullHD video.
Regardless of how rough-and-tumble your adventures get, the commendable electronic image stabilization keeps your footage smooth and steady. Image stabilization isn’t available for shooting stills, however.
Two features that give the Olympus TG-Tracker an edge over the other best GoPro alternative cameras are the flip-out LCD screen and the built-in headlight – both handy for extending the possibilities of your action shots.
The 1.5-inch LCD monitor tilts out to 90°, which gives you more versatility in capturing difficult shots. Flip it out to better compose your frame or to quickly change your camera settings.
The headlight is another bonus not sported by many other GoPro competitors. When you find yourself in low-light or dark conditions, activate the front LED to light the scene. You get 60 lumens of brightness when you need a quick burst of light (up to 60 seconds), or 30 lumens for up to 30 minutes.
Depending on what you’re shooting, you may need a more complex or powerful lighting setup – but it’s comforting to know you always have the in-built light source handy if you need it.
Battery life is good, with the 1350mAh-rated battery offering 95 minutes of recording time. You can charge the battery with a standard MicroUSB cable.
Other features include built-in wi-fi and a range of sensors to track your activities – temperature sensor, accelerometer, barometric pressure sensor, GPS and e-Compass among them.
The Olympus TG-Tracker may not look like your standard action cam, but at the end of the day, it’s built for serious adventures. The biggest downside is the price.
If you’re not deterred by the expense, it makes for a very worthy GoPro alternative indeed.
- Superior low-light performance
- Ultra wide ZEISS Tessar lens
- SteadyShot stabilization
- 4k timelapse
- Remote control sold separate
- No viewfinder
The Sony cameras you most hear about these days are the superb mirrorless models, but let’s not forget that Sony also has its finger in the pie of the action camera industry too.
The HDR-AS50R/B may be an awkwardly named and fairly dull-looking action camera, but what Sony lacked in creativity, they made up for in features.
You get a ZEISS Tessar lens with a f/2.8 maximum aperture, two viewing angles (wide and narrow), and a power combination of 1/2.3″ Exmor R sensor and BIONZ X processor.
Spec-wise, it’s not going to rival your DSLR or Sony mirrorless – but then again, no action camera is. The purpose of this device, as with all the very best GoPro alternatives, is to capture the action as it happens.
The sensor quality on the HDR-AS50R/B makes for better-than-average low-light performance, and Sony’s proprietary SteadyShot stabilization does a great job of minimising camera shake.
This action cam isn’t waterproof, but it does come bundled with a waterproof housing that allows you to submerge it to impressive depths of 60 meters (197 feet).
You can purchase it with or without the live view remote – a wristband accessory (called RM-LVR3) that allows you to change settings, start and stop video recording, take photos, and view a live video image.
The live view remote will set you back about an extra US$80, but it does add volumes to the experience of using the camera. If you’re going to make the investment in this Sony, we’d definitely recommend grabbing the remote as well.
Another feature of the HDR-AS50R/B is 4k timelapse capture. Use the Sony-supplied software tools (Action Cam Movie Creator or Action Cam App) to mash the images together into a timelapse film.
The camera body has no viewfinder – just a small LCD for displaying shooting modes and settings. This isn’t one of those action cameras where you can carefully compose shots or review footage on the go.
That means it’s more a case of setting it up, hitting record and hoping for the best! But if you’re after a tiny, unobtrusive camera where you don’t have to think too much, the Sony HDR-AS50R/B is well worth checking out.
Akaso Brave 4
- 4k video & 20MP images
- Adjustable view angle
- Deep underwater shooting (with housing)
- Waterproof housing necessary
- Poor audio quality
If you’re after a cheap GoPro alternative, check out the Akaso Brave 4. Coming in at under US$100, this is an affordable action camera that’s perfect for beginners.
On the surface, it looks a lot like a GoPro camera: boxy design, rear IPS screen and small front LCD, and dimensions of 59 x 40 x 23.1 mm.
Under the hood, the specs are also impressive given the price point. You get a 20MP sensor, 4k video recording for HD video, and a built-in gyroscope.
While the electronic image stabilization and gyroscope are definitely helpful in smoothing out camera shake, they don’t rival the technology delivered by other GoPro alternatives (like the action cams from Insta360).
Still, you can definitely get some decent footage — and have plenty of fun — with this affordable device.
The Akaso Brave 2 comes with a number of shooting modes including Video, Photo, Burst, Time-lapse, Loop, and Underwater.
The view angle of the camera is adjustable: choose from 170°, 140°, 110°, and 70°.
One nice inclusion on the Akaso Brave 2 is the wireless remote control which is in the form of a wrist strap, so you can easily start and stop recording without having to touch the camera.
You can also use the smartphone app (available on Android and iOS) as another remote control option.
The camera itself isn’t waterproof, but snuggle it into its waterproof case, and you can go deep diving up to 30 meters (100 feet).
Note that the wrist strap isn’t waterproof.
Another benefit of the Akaso Brave 4 is the bounty of accessories it comes with. As well as two rechargeable batteries, you get a 19-piece kit with various mounts, stands and cleaning accessories.
The batteries themselves are 1050 mAh batteries that allow you to record one hour of footage at 4K – not a terrible battery life given the affordability of this little action camera.
One area you do have to compromise on if you choose this device is the audio quality. While it does the job, it’s average at best, and definitely not the best GoPro alternative if you need to record talking a lot in your videos.
Overall, the video quality and sound quality of the Akaso Brave 4 won’t rival that of many more costly action cameras, but it offers an impressive set of features for the price.
Dragon Touch 4K
- Very affordable
- 4k video
- Wireless wrist remote control
- Waterproof housing included
- Dual batteries
- No image stabilization
- Wrist remote not waterproof
- Not Mac compatible
Here’s another budget GoPro alternative that looks the part, acts the part and offers impressive value for money.
You can pick one up for around US$65, making it less than half the price of even the cheapest GoPro!
Despite the low price, you can shoot 16MP still images and high-quality videos up to 4k (limited to 30fps).
The image quality isn’t as good as what you’ll get from high-end action cameras – sometimes pixelation is evident, and the lack of image stabilization definitely impacts the smoothness of video recording.
Of course, some compromises are inevitable given the price tag of this action cam!
Like other action cameras, the Dragon Touch 4k has multiple modes – driving mode, image rotation, time-lapse, loop recording, slow motion and drama-shot among them.
If you want to take it diving or on watersport adventures, you’ll need to pop it in the waterproof case (included). Once inside, you can go to depths of 30 meters (100 feet).
The camera body itself is made from a mix of rubber and plastic and features a 2-inch LCD display on the back. Unlike some action cams, this one doesn’t have a front display.
Like the Akaso Brave 4, the Dragon Touch 4k comes with its own wireless remote control wrist strap. It’s not waterproof, so don’t go scuba diving with it – but for easily activating the camera from dry land, it’s a nifty thing to have.
The wireless remote operates at 2.4GHZ and syncs with the camera to a distance of 10 meters/33 feet. You can use it to start video recording or to capture still images.
Another benefit of the Dragon Touch 4k is the bundle of accessories that comes with it.
Without having to fork out any extra, you’ll get a bunch of mounts, clips and tethers, as well as a bicycle stand, helmet mount, protective backdoor, a remote control and waterproof housing with the refreshingly affordable Dragon Touch 4k.
Battery life is decent: you get two 1050mAh rechargeable batteries that last up to 90 minutes each. The best part is that you can use them both at once for a combined 180 minutes of run time.
As far as action cameras go, this one won’t be suitable for pro-level movie-making and it certainly won’t nab you the smoothest footage or clearest images of bumpy action sports. The audio quality is also pretty iffy.
However, if you’re on a tight budget and looking for an action camera to shoot fun adventure videos with, to take on family beach holidays, or to use as a dashcam, webcam or surveillance camera, this little device is as bang-for-your-buck as they come.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is GoPro still the best?
These days there are plenty of GoPro alternatives that rival – or even beat – the original in terms of features, quality, and reliability. Depending on your needs, there are several great action cameras on the market today that are better than GoPro.
Which GoPro is the best for the money?
Despite being launched in 2018, the GoPro Hero7 White is still an excellent budget option that offers great value for money. It’s rugged and reliable and available at a much lower price than other GoPro cameras.
Does GoPro take better pictures than iPhone?
It depends on what you’re shooting. For standard still photography, an iPhone is a better choice – GoPro’s wide-angle view is better suited to action scenes. However, if you’re shooting on the move, GoPro takes clearer pictures with less camera shake thanks to its image stabilization.
Which is better GoPro Black or Silver?
The GoPro Black includes all the same features as the Silver, plus some additions – like a higher frame rate, additional front LCD screen, HyperSmooth stabilization, Wake on Voice command, and removable battery. So feature-wise, the Black is better. The only downside is that it’s more expensive.
So you’ve packed your supplies and your sense of adventure, and all that’s left is finding the right action camera for proving your courageous feats really happened. (And for sharing them on social media, of course!)
Odds are, you initially gravitated toward GoPro as the original and most well-known action camera brand. But, as we’ve just discovered, there’s a whole world out there with plenty of options to suit every need.
We hope this article has expanded your horizons and showed you a wider range of what’s available in the action cam market.
From here, think about what’s most important to you. Is it steady footage? Long battery life? Extreme durability? An affordable price?
Whatever your requirements and whatever type of adventures you want to shoot, we’re confident there’s a GoPro alternative above for you.
What type of adventure camera are you looking for? And what do you plan to shoot with it?
If you have any questions or comments, just leave them below – we’ll be sure to get back to you.
Delivering 360-degree footage and first-rate image stabilization, this durable little camera is ready for adventure.
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.