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Best GoPro and action cameras 2024

Which device should be in the frame to capture your next driving adventure?

If you’re going on a driving adventure somewhere spectacular, you’ll want to capture the action so you can relive the experience and share it with friends. You could even be aiming for a bigger audience on social media or YouTube.

Having decent footage will also help if you want to review your performance on a track day or rally stage to see how you can improve those times on the stopwatch. Relying on wobbly phone footage isn’t going to impress anyone, so you’ll need a dedicated action camera.

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Unlike a dash cam, these units have mountings that mean they can be attached to almost any point on your car or even a crash helmet, where permitted. They are also weatherproof, so they can withstand rain and any off-road adventures. We tried six action cameras at various price points to see what you get for your money. Which is in the frame to be our best buy?

How we tested them

We fixed the cameras to the inside and outside of a Land Rover and drove on and off road to check for stability and clarity. We checked how easy it was to control the cameras when filming and to download footage, as well as measuring the battery life.

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While editing, we evaluated the clarity of the footage and sound quality in different light conditions and over various road surfaces. Finally we assessed the price and accessories included.

Reviews:

Insta360 ONE X2

  • Price: Around £265  
  • Capture: 5.7K (30fps), 360o
  • Rating: 5 stars 
  • Website: insta360.com

The ONE X2 is a brilliant camera which allows anyone to create professional-looking action videos using clever software, two lenses and a magically disappearing selfie stick. But things move fast in the tech world, and inevitably our winner from two years ago has been replaced by the more sophisticated ONE X3. 

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The new model is undoubtedly the better camera and the extra features will make it worth the additional expense if you are a regular or professional user. Yet when we checked prices, the newer model was £144 more expensive, which we think is too much for the average amateur to justify.

Buy now from Amazon…

Insta360 ONE X3

  • Price: Around £409  
  • Capture: 5.7K (30fps), 360o
  • Rating: 4.5 stars
  • Website: insta360.com

If cost is no object, the ONE X3 with the optional Car Kit should be at the top of your wish list. In addition to an updated version of our Best Buy, the package includes a very secure triple-suction-cup car mount, the clever disappearing selfie stick and a lens cap – but it costs a whopping £839 as a bundle.

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Compared with the X2, the upgraded X3 has a bigger touchscreen, better video resolution, more sophisticated time lapse, extra battery capacity and higher-quality slow-motion footage. Those features are all desirable, but you’ll need to decide if it’s worth spending the extra cash. 

Buy now from Amazon…

GoPro Hero12 Black

  • Price: Around £400 
  • Capture: 5.3K (60fps)
  • Rating: 4 stars   
  • Website: gopro.com

We were really torn between the DJI and this GoPro, but ultimately put the Hero12 fractionally ahead. Both cameras are aimed at the more serious user who wants no-nonsense high-quality action footage (with prices to match), but in daylight conditions the GoPro can capture higher-quality video and is easier to use than the DJI.

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It can also produce amazing slow-motion films and has Bluetooth support for Apple AirPods and other headphones. This allows you to record sound and give remote voice commands even if the camera is outside the car. Battery life is good, too, at around 70 minutes, although the Hero12 doesn’t recharge as quickly as the Osmo or Insta360s.

Buy now from Amazon…

DJI Osmo Action 4

  • Price: Around £380  
  • Capture: 4K (60-120fps)
  • Rating: 4 stars  
  • Website: dji.com

We wouldn’t blame you if you chose the Osmo Action 4 over the GoPro, not least because it would save you £20. The DJI might have ‘only’ 4K capture capabilities compared with the 5.3K of its similarly priced rivals, but the exceptional image stabilisation and low-light capabilities mean that the quality of the footage it captures is sometimes better. 

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It’s tough, too, and waterproof to 18 metres without needing a case – that’s going to give you confidence if you’re off-roading or driving in the rain. If you plan to do a lot of filming in dark conditions and need professional-quality results, the DJI would be our choice. 

Buy now from Amazon…

AKASO Brave 7 Action

  • Price: Around £160  
  • Capture: 4K (30fps)
  • Rating: 3.5 stars  
  • Website: akasotech.com

The AKASO costs less than the accessories of some of its rivals here, yet the camera comes packed with features and extras. It doesn’t have the ultimate footage quality or features of the Instas, DJI or GoPro, but the Brave 7 Action does a decent job of getting clear footage if you are driving on a smooth surface or talking to the camera while stationary. But rough surfaces show up the AKASO’s lack of image stabilisation sophistication.

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The lower price doesn’t mean you miss out on equipment, however. The Brave 7 Action also has dual screens to help when you are framing shots, a choice of mounts, a remote control and two batteries. 

Buy now from Amazon…

Apexcam 4K Action Camera

  • Price: Around £50 
  • Capture: 4K (30fps)
  • Rating: 2.5 stars  
  • Website: amazon.co.uk

The Apexcam seems to be amazing value for money. Besides a camera with full 4K capabilities, it features a huge range of accessories, including a wireless remote control, separate microphone, various mounts and a soft case to keep it all in. The battery capacity is only enough for around 40 minutes’ use, but there are two batteries supplied with a dock, so they can be charged away from the camera.

But there’s a big problem: the Apexcam has no discernible image stabilisation, so any footage taken on the move becomes an unwatchable blur. The sound quality is poor, too. We’d recommend it’s only used for static filming, which makes the beefy mounts and accessories pointless. 

Buy now from Amazon…

Verdict:

For the specific task of filming from a car, the Insta360 ONE cameras are still our favourites. The ability to capture high-quality footage through 360 degrees with a disappearing selfie stick is great fun. We’d take the X2 over the new X3 simply because it is temptingly cheap.

Professionals and serious amateurs might prefer the GoPro or the DJI’s no-nonsense performance. The cameras are very closely matched, but we went for the Hero12 purely based on its footage quality in daylight. 

  1. Insta360 ONE X2
  2. Insta360 ONE X3 
  3. GoPro Hero12 Black

Looking to take your 4x4 off-road? Click here for our off-road driving tips...

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