Amkov AMK5000S WiFi HD Action Camera Review @ ModSynergy.com
The action camera market is fierce competition. There's many action camera players vying for your hard earned money because they all want a piece of the huge pie dominated by top dog in the segment who started the trend, that is GoPro. On the market there's only a handful of legitimate action camera options to choose from, all similar in that their top models sell upwards of $500. People just don't have that type of money to spend in today's economy, but no one wants a stripped down model if they can't pay full price.
I reviewed the original Polaroid CUBE HD lifestyle action camera and that drove the price down to only $99 USD, but that wasn't in the usual form of a conventional action camera. CUBE had no bundled accessories, no waterproof casing, a small battery because of its miniature size, and was targeted to a different crowd.
Well across the other side of the world in China, the story is a bit different. There's tons of action cameras from companies you've never heard of, hundreds upon hundreds popping up so often you cannot count. And who can blame them when there's a market of over 1.3 billion right where they are. However, because there are so many, you never know what you're really getting, some are good, some are decent, and some are downright horrible.
So far we've looked at one Chinese action camera in the Zeblaze iShot1 which impressed us greatly with its overall value and features such as integrated waterproof case body design, aluminum alloy front panel, dual LED flashlights, 2.4GHz wrist watch operation, and WiFi for only $115 USD, however, it did have some drawbacks and things that needed to be improved upon.
Today I have the chance of sharing with you another action camera alternative from China from a company called Amkov. The AMK5000S I will be reviewing today comes at an even greater value, an even more affordable price of around $68-75 USD when found on sale through Chinese online retailers such as Aliexpress, but if you're not so keen on that channel, the AMK5000S can be purchased through my personal favorite, Amazon.com for $98.99 USD regular price and $79.99 USD when on sale!
So what are some of the things you can you expect from an action camera that sells for under $100 through Amazon? Well how does WiFi capability, a 170-degree wide angle lens, 20-megapixel photos, 1080p, 720p, 720p/60 fps resolutions, micro SD card slot (up to 64GB), 1150mAh capacity battery with up to 2.5 hours of battery life, waterproof camera housing (up to 30 meters) and a bundle of mounting accessories sound? Remember this is priced exactly the same as the original Polaroid CUBE, and the CUBE comes with zero accessories. It sounds too good to be true right? Well please read on to find out if the Amkov AMK5000S 1080p WiFi HD Action Camera is as good as it sounds!
About Amkov (Amkovery Technology Co.,Limited)
Based on Shenzhen, China, Amkov is a professional manufacturer for sports camera, action camera, dash cam, digital camera, camera lens and other cameras for over 10 years. This website is built for presenting our nice cameras and solving our consumers' problems and questions. Amkov will keep providing nice products with competitive price and good quality to you.
Amkov AMK5000S Product Overview & Features
I've never heard of Amkov before this review, so I had no clue what to expect.
The Amkov AMK5000S comes packaged in a compact and nicely designed corrugated cardboard interior and outer slip on layer that definitely gets the point across with this meant for outdoors with a picture of downhill skier. A window showcases the action camera and a highly visible red WiFi symbol, words Sports Cam, Full HD 1080p,and Excellent Mate For Your Phone & Tablet further gets the point across with exact certainty to what this is. If placed on store shelves, this would definitely be catchy to the eye of the customer. I'll admit that this is one of the better designed packages I've seen in some time. The only thing missing and quite puzzling to me is the omission of the Amkov brand name anywhere on the box.
Turning to the back we find a full breakdown of the AMK5000S specifications and a visual breakdown of all the accessories included in the box. The side of the box contains two QR codes that when scanned allow you to download the Amkov WiFi app for Android and Apple devices.
So what's included for $98.99 USD? Here's a list of all items you get...
The Amkov AMK5000S comes with more than enough accessories to get started, and with how easily accessible and interchangeable this mounting system is (it's the GoPro mounting system), you'll have no issues finding a plethora of extra accessories to purchase in the future. It's certainly more than what other competing action cameras are bundled with. The accessories that are bundled with the AMK5000S are very good quality and don't feel cheap but rather tough and should be able to withstand any abuse you throw its way.
The user's manual is translated into five different languages; English, French, Spanish, German, and Chinese. I can only speak for the English portion, but it does a good job at covering everything including the WiFi application. The booklet is small so it gets straight to the point. There's symbols, diagrams, tables, all in a organized fashion. Surprisingly the English isn't half bad than other Chinese manuals.
The Amkov AMK5000S resembles that of a more conventional action camera design, it's basically a replica of the older GoPro Hero 3 with minor differences to the body. I wish they applied some at least some form of uniqueness to their action camera design that the Zeblaze iShot 1 managed to do with their aluminum alloy faceplate, integrated waterproof housing, and dual LED front flash, however, it is what it is. I guess you can't expect that much uniqueness and originality when its under $100.
Amkov AMK5000S comes in three different colors of black, silver, and gold, but the color differences are applied to the faceplate, the rest of the body is black. The whole body and paint is of smooth finish. All three of them are the same in that it contains a silver lens ring, which I don't understand on the black and gold versions, the rings should match the body color. Now with the gold and black version (as I'm reviewing today), it sticks out like a sore thumb.
The Amkov AMK5000S (naked) measures approximately 2.32" x 1.61" x 0.83" and weighs 55 grams (0.122 lbs) without the battery, and 80 grams with the battery (0.176 lbs). When placed inside the clear waterproof housing the weight increases to 147 grams (0.324 lbs). Attach one of the quick release buckles and a thumbscrew and we see a final weight of 166 grams (0.367 lbs).
The AMK5000S is constructed entirely out of plastic and admittedly it's not the strongest or beefiest body out there, if you try you can feel creaky sounds but that's if you really try. You can run the action camera naked out of the housing without any problems just as long as you keep it away from extreme weather conditions and obvious harm from impact. For the most part any durability questions are put to rest when the camera is placed in the waterproof housing. The housing is good for up to a rated 30 meters and is super thick, thus very strong and will protect the AMK5000S with ease. It's a plastic constructed waterproof housing but it seems so thick and tough that I'm leaning towards it being polycarbonate. The housing comes pre-attached with a sealed back door, but a second and vented back door is bundled with the camera to allow audio to be recorded better than with the sealed shut back door. The whole back door is sealed with a white color silicone o-ring so in tandem with the locking mechanism that requires a lot of force to open and close, it gives the AMK5000S watertight seal. The housing gives access to the power and shutter button which is all you need to get recording.
The weakest part of the action camera is the battery compartment door. Unfortunately, outside of the waterproof case, the battery door on the AMK5000S is so thin and flimsy that it rattles whenever any movement is given to the camera. So you hear loud rattling noise in your recordings, and that's just not right. Thankfully this problem can be solved by placing a small piece of tape against the battery door and frame.
Another negative is the battery door release latch mechanism, it just doesn't work. You're supposed to simply push the latch and the door is supposed to pop out, but it rarely ever does. As a solution, you're forced to either use your fingernails to slide in between and pry the door open or use something very thin like a needle to pry the door off.
Thankfully the above problems associated with the battery compartment door and battery door release mechanism are minor problems that can be rectified rather easily, but they shouldn't be there in the first place.
Focusing on the very front of the camera, we are first drawn to that silver lens ring that encompasses the 170° ultra wide angle lens. Again as I've stated before, I have no clue why this silver ring is present on the camera, the lens ring should be the same color as the camera itself. If you're looking for a design that is completely discreet, this silver lens ring has other ideas.
Amkov AMK5000S records video at resolutions of 1080p/30 fps, 720p/30 fps, and 720/60 fps making it the first action camera I've tested that is capable of recording at 60 fps, although only at the lower resolution of 1280 x 720. This mode is ideal for recording fast moving subjects, let's say that of hockey game, or movement coming from a Quadcopter drone. The theory and idea behind 60 fps recording is to produce video that has fluid movement eliminating the motion blur associated with regular 30 fps recordings.
To the left of the lens there is a small LCD display which acts as the menu screen where you change modes along with the mode button directly beneath. The menu system is very straight forward and basic, there's only four (4) modes to choose from (1080p/30 recording, 720p/30 fps recording, 720p/60 fps, and Photo Mode). Simply press the shutter button to start executing whatever mode you desire to record video or take a photo.
Amkov AMK5000S does not come with a rear live view LCD display, such as that of the Zeblaze iShot1 I reviewed, so this front LCD display is where everything you have access to happens. Because the lack of live view screen, there's a compromise in terms of not having the ability of changing complex camera settings within the camera itself. So out of the box it's basically just turn on and record, everything is handled automatically. Amkov has decided that the AMK5000S is best used in combination with a Smartphone or tablet through the use of its integrated WiFi capabilities if you want a full experience.
All other camera settings that can be changed such as white balance, AE metering modes, file recording length, EV compensation value, and more, are only possible to change outside of the camera itself and only through the use of the Amkov WiFi app. This can be viewed as either a positive or negative depending on who you ask. If you ask me, I see both sides as on one hand the AMK5000S is dead simple to use because there's only four modes to choose from, however, on the flipside where this becomes a negative is when you can't even change something as simple has EV compensation or white balance without having to whip out your Smartphone, enabling WiFi on the action camera, connecting to it, and then launching the Amkov WiFi app. The unnecessary amount of steps to change one setting eventually becomes an annoyance to the user. Furthermore, as you'll see later on, the Amkov WiFi app isn't the most intuitive out there, and there's a lack of settings found on other action cameras that are missing or not supported from the Amkov WiFi app.
What is even worse, is that a feature supported by the Amkov AMK5000S which allows the video image to be flipped (for when you are recording upside down or using it as a car dash cam) is conveniently not mentioned anywhere in the User's Manual, Amkov WiFi app, and even on the camera itself through an icon on the LCD display. This is so puzzling to me why Amkov would not mention this Image Reversal setting anywhere, it's like they completely forgot. I found out about this feature when I read the press material I was given about this camera for this review. If I was never given this material to read, I would have never known this feature existed, and surely how would any customer know they could flip the image (in real time) on the AMK5000S? Such a strange thing for any company to leave out features for their product, makes no sense to me.\
To the right of the mode button on front of the camera we have two LED lights, one is a charge indicator light, and the other is an activity LED light for when it's connected to the computer and transferring files, and for when the unit is recording video. Lastly we find a WiFi and 1080p symbol.
Coming to the very top of the AMK5000S we a diamond pattern that makes it way around the camera, we have microphone holes and we find the shutter button for taking a photo or recording video. Just above to the right of the shutter button we find another LED indicator light that blinks when recording video or when taking a photo.
Coming to the very bottom of the AMK5000S we have more vent holes at the bottom which allows the microphone to pick up more audio.
On the right side of the camera we find another LED indicator light up top and a WiFi symbol button on the lower portion of the camera. Press once to turn on the internal WiFi and the LED light up top will come on to flash. The LED on this side is only meant for WiFi operation.
Now we come to backside and find an Amkov AMK5000S logo, some input and output information, we find the battery compartment door, battery compartment door release latch mechanism, and another LED activity light on the lower left hand corner.
Rounding off we come to the left side of the camera and find yet another LED activity light, micro HDMI output jack (cable is not included), micro USB charge port, and micro SD card slot. If you've counted, there are four (4) LED activity lights all throughout the action camera.
The amount of LED activity lights included on the AMK5000S has to be appreciated. There's an LED activity light on every side of the camera other than the bottom which doesn't really need one. So you know what is going on with the camera, and they can be seen easily in every angle so there's no confusion to what is currently happening. Continuous blinking lights means video is being recorded, and a quick flashing of LED means a photo is being captured. Obviously there's one LED for WiFi operation as well.
One of the things I would have liked added to the AMK5000S was if Amkov would have provided some audible beeps to work in tandem with the LED activity lights when the camera is turned on, when it starts recording, when it shuts off. It's a small thing that could have been added that would have helped with the overall experience, something similar to what the Polaroid CUBE had would have sufficed. I thought not having audible tones would have been okay, however, after using the AMK5000S for a while and not having a rear LCD screen, I found myself wanting an implementation of what the original Polaroid CUBE used despite the number of LEDs on the action camera.
The Amkov AMK5000S - Is It Any Good?
The firmware version of the Amkov AMK5000S I am testing is version 2.13 and is the latest one at the time of this review.
After using the Amkov AMK5000S on and off for about two months, and taking into account everything I've experienced in terms of its performance, features, and bundle, I have to say the Amkov AMK5000S action camera presents a very good value, especially for the price of being under $100 (well under if purchased on sale). I think it meets and exceeds what a good action camera should provide and do well on.
In terms of its performance capabilities alone, the Amkov AMK5000S is the best action camera we've tested so far when taking into account its video and audio performance compared to the other action cameras we've already tested. The Amkov AMK5000S records both video and audio at higher bit-rates than any other action camera we've tested to date (December 2015).
However, nothings perfect and the AMK5000S is no different in this regard. Overall AMK5000S has got more positives than negatives, but some may find it's negatives can be too distracting and annoying that it may become a deal breaker. Most of its problems stem from its software application, and one of it is hardware related (WiFi). I will leave that for you to decide for yourselves. I'll provide all the things I've noticed and experienced, including real world test footage samples, and you can make an informed decision on your own.
Amkov-icam WiFi Software App
The Amkov-icam WiFi app can be found on the Apple App Store for Apple devices, and Google Play Store for Android devices. They should be the same exact application and the Android version is what I've been using for this review.
I think this is a trend that I've started to see in that Chinese action cameras don't have the best WiFi applications. I find they are not as intuitive as they could be, they are usually very basic, and I find that they have bugs in them that causes them to crash during certain operations. The Amkov WiFi app is no different and follows this unfortunate tradition.
As I've stated earlier, the Amkov AMK5000S does not come with a rear live view LCD screen, so therefore the Amkov WiFi app must be used in order to have the full user experience. It's kind of a double edged sword forcing users to use this app in order to have access to all of the functions and features of the action camera, even just changing the most basic setting requires the use of this app.
To connect wirelessly to the AMK5000S simply follow these steps...it's very easy and should take under 1 minute to do initially, subsequent attempts will take under 15 seconds.
Amkov-icam allows you to have a live video feed of your action camera with your Smartphone or tablet device to do the following...
Whatever Amkov has done, or maybe it has more to do with the OV4689 sensor and newer Sunplus 6330M chipset combination, the WiFi live video feed delay performance with the AMK5000S is excellent. The delay or lag I experienced with the other Chinese action camera I tested before with the Zeblaze iShot1, that one had a very noticeable 1 second delay from whatever happened in real time to when that change was shown on screen. With the Amkov AMK5000S, the delay or lag is virtually non-existent, it's almost instantaneous, let's say in a blink of an eye fast! This is quite the accomplishment to have, an excellent implementation by Amkov.
Unfortunately, the Amkov-icam application is not stable. I've encountered numerous scenarios where the application has crashed and its always random. The first time it crashed was when I pressed the video record button. The second time it crashed was when I went to play back video and pictures. The third time it crashed was when I was downloading from the camera to my Smartphone. Other times it would work without issue, so it's very randomized.
When the Amkov-icam app crashes, a simple app restart should do the trick. However, there would be times when the app froze and I went to restart the app, but the app would not re-connect back with the action camera, it said that the camera WiFi is off, even though it's SSID was still connected to your Smartphone or tablet. You just have strange behaviors at time with WiFi operation.
The worse occurrence I've observed with the Amkov AMK5000S in conjunction with Amkov-icam was hardware related. On one instance of using Amkov-icam, the app crashed. I restarted and it still would not re-connect. So I check the action camera itself and try to turn off and back on WiFi. I press the WiFi button and it would not respond to my commands. I try changing modes by pressing the mode button, no response. I then try to turn off the camera itself by pressing and holding the power button until it would shut off. It would NOT shut off. As a last resort and to rectify the issue, I had to pull the battery out physically from the AMK5000S. That blip was hardware related, it's one thing for the app to crash, it's an entirely different thing for the hardware failing to respond and requiring the user to pull the battery out.
So overall WiFi operation with the Amkov AMK5000S is spotty at best, when it works then the user experience is great, but when it crashes or fails to respond, it's a pain to deal with. If you don't have to deal with WiFi, then all the better for you the user, because outside of WiFi, the Amkov AMK5000S has been faultless.
In terms of available options to change between Video Recording Mode and Picture Modes, the Amkov AMK5000S provides a fair list of in-camera options to modify, although I still felt it was lacking, very basic, and missing some further options as I'll talk about later. Furthermore, I found some of the app settings somewhat puzzling.
For example it was not clear to me whether or not options available in the Picture Mode settings had any transferrable affect on the Video portion of the camera. For example, the AE Metering Mode option is shown in the Picture Mode settings menu, but NOT shown in the Video Mode settings menu. This is where I get confused because why is it in one menu but not the other? Does it mean AE Metering is only offered on Picture Mode? Or does settings set in Picture Mode transfer to Video mode as well? In the end I did figure out that in the case of AE Metering, it does transfer between both pictures and video. This is the type of confusion I was having with the application. Having a live video feed allowed me to confirm what kind of changes were happening in real time.
Another setting that wasn't very clear and needs improvement is the Date Stamp setting. OFF, Date, and Date and time, are the only three settings offered for this setting and there's no ability whatsoever to manually set a date and time. So where is the date and time coming from? When you select Date, or Date and time, the values are being pulled from your respective device at the time of selection, either on Smartphone or tablet device. So whatever date you have on your phone for instance, is what the Amkov-icam app will place for the action camera Date Stamp. While there's no ability to manually set a time within the app, I did figure out a way to have a work around. If you change your date and or clock on your device, that would be a way to "manually" set the date and time for the action camera.
Amkov advertises that the AMK5000S can take 20-Megapixel still photos, and while it is possible to take 20-Megapixel photos at a resolution of 5152 x 3864, this value is grossly exaggerated as this nowhere near the true native resolution. The OV4689 sensor's native resolution is 4-Megapixels.
Funny enough there's no 4-Megapixel photo resolution available to choose from, the closest you have to native resolution to choose from is either 5-Megapixel or 3-Megapixel. Obviously choosing the 5-Megapixel value will be a slight software interpolation but not bad overall. It's best to stick with 3-Megapixel photos with the Amkov AMK5000S.
Choosing to take photos at 20-Megapixel interpolated resolution will result in an image that is filled with strange pixels, blockiness, fuzzy, and filled with artifacts. It will just look bad and should be avoided at all costs.
The Amkov AMK5000S still photo settings, by using the WiFi app Amkov-icam, lets you change the following...
I've come to realize that with all of the action cameras I've reviewed so far, all of them just take decent photos, nothing really amazing that stands out, those are best left for real cameras. With that said, the AMK5000S does manage to have the best photos (at native resolution) of the action cameras I've tested to date, this is in large part due to the strength of the sensor and chipset combination choosing the correct white balance and therefore being able to correctly render colors that are true to its form. Photos have good color saturation, good detail, and images are sharp from end to end.
After testing the Amkov AMK5000S for about two months now, I have a good grasp of the action cameras strengths and weaknesses. There's something I've noticed about the AMK5000S and it's not just isolated to its photo capturing capabilities, it's a problem that affects its video quality as well. The AMK5000S has a tendency in bright sunny conditions to be prone to lens flare and therefore you'll have and notice on occasions red spots and circles in photos and videos taken with this action camera. It's only under these conditions that you'll notice the lens flare and slight chromatic aberrations being very pronounced. Amkov could have done a better job at either selecting or applying a better coat of AR (Anti-Reflective) coatings to their lens to prevent and lessen these lens flares from showcasing their way in AMK5000S footage.
The only hiccup I can spot with the AMK5000S photo taking ability is that in some scenarios the photos come out looking really washed out and just really awful looking. I've attributed this to the autofocus system on the camera just simply missing and not selecting the correct ISO and shutter speed for the photo. Sometimes photos are sharp and good looking, other times as I've said they look dreary and dull and that's because the camera's autofocus system is getting fooled for its photos. This does not happen in video.
If I were to suggest anything for Amkov to add in the still photo settings menu, it would have to be options to change the following...
Amkov should add these options in the still photo settings menu in Amkov-icam...
Camera Sample Images ("20MP" Resolution)
In my last two action camera reviews of the original Polaroid CUBE and Zeblaze iShot1, I had talked a lot about "bitrates" and how they affected the video quality of the two action cameras. Bitrates alone are not the be all and end all of video quality, because there's other factors at play such as lens quality, chipset, etc, however, I would consider bitrates a major contributor to why a particular video is as good as it is because bitrates capture numerous facets of detail. Think of it in terms of compression. The more video bitrate, the more detail that is being recorded in the video file, resulting in a better video image in terms of cleaner video with less artifacts and grain, better sharpness, cleaner looking video when it comes to fast moving scenes (blocky video). On the flipside, higher video bitrate recordings also means that the file size will increase and this has an effect on battery life if you can believe it. There's always a compromise to deal with.
If you read my Polaroid CUBE HD action camera review, you would recall that its video quality suffered not only because of the actual lens unit causing general softness in the video, but because of the decision to record at a really low fixed bitrate of 8 Mbps. This meant that the recorded video was too compressed and suffered as a result, one way being blocky pixel artifacts introduced in a windy blowing leaves scene for example.
Lack of sharpness on the Polaroid CUBE HD was a big problem. An example I gave in that review was that of examining a brick house. With the CUBE's low bitrate and lack of sharpness, you could not make out the lines separating the individual bricks. You couldn't even distinguish what the house number was. That is an affect of bitrate and how it plays in with detail.
The Zeblaze iShot1 improved on this video bitrate compromise seen with the Polaroid CUBE by recording at a fixed video bitrate of 12Mbps, but it still wasn't the best it could be, even though we definitely saw the fruits of having higher video bitrate. The Zeblaze didn't suffer the faults that were seen with the Polaroid.
Now for today's review of the Amkov AMK5000S, it sports OmniVision's 4-megapixel OV4689 CMOS sensor in conjunction with a Sunplus 6330M chipset to record video in H.264 MPEG-4 AVC 1080p/30 fps with a video variable video bitrate. This is the first action camera that I've tested that does NOT have a fixed video bitrate and therefore I've seen bitrates ranging anywhere between 17.0 - 23.2 Mbps in normal typical outdoor video footage, but then I've seen in some uncommon dark indoor footages I've taken where the recorded video bitrates jump as high up to an impressive 34.0Mbps making it the Amkov AMK5000S the only camera I've tested, and by a country mile, to even record this high of a video bitrate. The Amkov AMK5000S is the clear leader in this aspect compared to the Zeblaze iShot1 and Polaroid CUBE, a huge jump up in video bitrate.
A typical 5 minute video file recorded by the Amkov AMK5000S equals 635 MB, compared to 469 MB on the Zeblaze iShot1, and only 290 MB on the Polaroid CUBE. The difference in file size is based on the variable video bitrate recordings of the AMK5000S and because it's variable and not fixed, the size of recordings can change depending on the type of scene. Therefore I'd suggest getting a larger micro SD card for the Amkov AMK5000S as you get less footage per SD card.
Amkov says the AMK5000S offers 170° vision with its ultra wide-angle lens and I have no reason not the believe them, the frame is very wide, even wider than supposed same 170° Zeblaze iShot1 and the 124° Polaroid CUBE. Therefore, if this Amkov gets an even wider shot than the Zeblaze by an extra inch and their both claiming 170°, I'm going to assume Zeblaze was lying on their spec sheet and that they really only have a lens offering maybe 130-140° of vision.
With the Amkov AMK5000S not having a rear live view LCD screen, even despite not knowing exactly how to frame the video, you end up getting everything you want in the video with the super wide angle lens. The lens is extremely wide so objects and lines have a slight curvature to them and the closer you go the more fish eye effect you'll see.
The AMK5000S excels in a number of different areas, the first being that the AMK5000S consistently picking and having better automatic white balance than I've experienced with the Zeblaze iShot1 and Polaroid CUBE. It's just superior and will usually pick and choose the most natural white balance correctly.
Second, the AMK5000S offers superior color rendition compared to other action cameras I've already tested. Having a higher video bitrate has certainly helped the AMK5000S in this regard, colors are more saturated, but not over the top, it still has a very natural looking affect and still visually appealing when played back on an HDTV.
Third, low light footage on the AMK5000S is the best out of the action cameras I've tested so far and by a large margin, again this is one of the areas where the AMK5000S' higher variable video bitrate helps the AMK5000S be superior in this aspect. Side by side in the same night time scene with the Zeblaze iShot1's front LED lights illuminating the subject, the Amkov comes out on top having cleaner video, less grain and artifacts, and better overall detail even when the scene is in low lighting. I wish the AMK5000S had some sort of HDR mode as that would have helped its low light capability even further. Night time footage with the AMK5000S still requires light of some source to make things look decent and as I explain later on, I feel the AMK5000S has too harsh of a contrast so shadows are often non-existent. Low light capabilities are usually bottlenecked by the capabilities of the image sensor and these action cameras are using too small of a sensor to be wizards in the night making it look bright.
I will say that the Amkov AMK5000S I feel is not as sharp on its image compared to the Zeblaze iShot1 action camera, though just by a tiny margin. I think it's a tiny bit softer. But this comes down to firmware optimizations and I think Zeblaze chose to utilize more sharpening in their image. Sadly, the Amkov AMK5000S has no option to change the level of sharpness of its image, an option for sharpness could have easily been an added in Amkov-icam and I hope Amkov adds this to future firmware releases.
In bright lighting and typical outdoor conditions, the AMK5000S does a commendable job overall. Again the higher bitrate available to the AMK5000S helps makes its footage better in most aspects and allows it to put out very good footage overall.
Out of the box, I found that the Amkov liked to meter the sky and therefore decreased the exposure for anything below the sky a little too much as the bottom half would just get dark. I found that by default the camera was set to Multi metering mode which has a tendency to do this. I'm not a fan of this mode for these reasons, so setting AE Metering to Center and or Spot in certain scenarios is certainly recommended. I set mine to Center and things got much better afterwards.
I do however notice that the Amkov AMK5000S footage has a little too much contrast for my liking, therefore I find that it would crush blacks more than usual and the shadows therefore would be eliminated and too dark. Contrast is a bit too harsh. This can be combated with more brightness/gamma level setting or even better an HDR mode. Again, the basic settings Amkov put into Amkov-icam are missing options that could have made the camera even better than it already is. There should be contrast level option, brightness/gamma level option, HDR mode option, sharpness level option, settings like these can raise the AMK5000S to another level. Unfortunately we don't have those options available I hope Amkov will give these options in future firmware releases they might roll out.
In terms of dynamic range, the Amkov AMK5000S does a pretty good job with its 4-megapixel OmniVision OV4689 CMOS sensor, but I feel the Zeblaze iShot1 does end up having better overall dynamic range with its (older) Sony 322 image sensor as it doesn't have as much blown highlights than I've noticed with this Amkov AMK5000S. Blown highlights are the really bright areas in the video where most if not all detail is lost because the camera captures them as too bright of a color than they really are. For example, the clouds are white, but they have different shades of white. When a camera has poor dynamic range, there is no differentiations of white in that cloud, it is processed as all white, and you see more of this with the Amkov AMK5000S.
The Amkov AMK5000S is the first action camera I've tested to date that has 60 fps recording capability, although its only offered in the lower 720p modes. This 60 fps mode is ideal for recording fast moving subjects, let's say that of hockey game, or movement coming from a Quadcopter drone and the idea behind 60 fps recording is to produce fluid movement video that can eliminate motion blur associated with regular 30 fps recordings.
In terms of quality of video footage with the Amkov AMK5000S, I will say that you should ideally stick with 1080p because of the much higher video bitrate and everything associated with it at your disposal. I am disappointed with the AMK5000S 720p footage because with the drop off of video bitrate, your down to 8.7 - 10.0Mbps and because of this, the video quality suffers from all of the cons I've seen with the Polaroid CUBE such as softness, blockiness, pixelation, aliasing issues, because of the low bitrate. I would only consider using 720p with the AMK5000S only for its 60 fps recording (bumps up bitrate to around 12.0 - 13.5Mbps but still has degradation), otherwise I would not touch it because the amount of degradation seen at 720p. If you really want to have 720p footage, I would first record at 1080p to get all the benefits, and then downscale it to 720p on the computer while maintaining all of the benefits of better image quality. It will look way better than 720p footage directly from the action camera.
Amkov should add these options in the video settings menu in Amkov-icam...
These additions would help combat the harsher contrast and aid in better overall image.
1080p + 720p + 720p/60 fps Samples (YouTube)
Keep in mind the original AMK5000S video files are cleaner than what you see on YouTube. YouTube likes to compress video uploads even further to maximize efficiency on their end and therefore quality is affected. Original AMK5000S video files are cleaner and don't have as much blocky pixels and artifacts as you might see on YouTube, again this is due to YouTube compression. I do notice YouTube also likes to give more brightness to their videos, so you may see that the video is brighter than the original which is has more contrast and little bit darker. So let this be a general idea of what you can expect.
Note: You may have to "Watch on YouTube.com", to have and see the 60fps footage.
The Amkov AMK5000S does the best job at recording audio than the Zeblaze iShot1 and Polaroid CUBE action cameras I've tested and it wins by a large margin!
CUBE had a problem at sounding muffled and unclear. Zeblaze had much improved audio recording capabilities than the CUBE, less muffled but not exactly clear, and just didn't have the output.
Again, the Amkov AMK5000S has the best audio I've heard on an action camera I've tested to date and it wins by a large margin. The audio from the AMK5000S is so much better, the clarity is at a high level, and it sounds very pleasing and natural.
Surprise, surprise! The Amkov AMK5000S has better audio because there's less compression and more bitrate being recorded to file. There's also more gain in its output so its louder overall. As usual with the action cameras I've tested, the AMK5000S only records in mono and not stereo, however, it records in 16-bit PCM format with a variable audio bitrate of typically around 700 - 850 kbps at a higher 44,000 KHz sampling rate.
I would have liked an external microphone option but it wasn't the case. Also wind gusts really hurt the audio quality of the AMK5000S but this is not isolated to the AMK5000S as all action cameras are affected by wind gusts. Would have been great if Amkov-icam had some sort of wind cut option, but that was not the case. You can place a piece of foam in front of the microphone to help lessen the wind gust noise if you want.
Is It Waterproof?
I didn't have a way to test if the Amkov AMK5000S could be submerged 30 meters, however, I did manage to drop it into a small pond to test its waterproofing. It passed without issue and no water entered inside the action camera. I also dropped it into my sink full of water, and again it passed without issues. The seal around the housing door is thick and the amount of force needed to open and close the locking latch mechanism really makes it water tight. I don't think you'll have any issues as long as its inside the waterproof housing.
Amkov claims that the AMK5000S action camera can record up to 2.5 hours in the highest 1080p/30 fps setting. While I could not achieve that battery life claim, the AMK5000S was on par with what the Zeblaze iShot1 action camera achieved for its battery life with its 1050mAh capacity battery. On average with the AMK5000S, I saw battery life of 2 hours, 3 minutes before the AMK5000S 1150mAh battery completely exhausted.
For comparison sake, the Zeblaze iShot1 managed a best of 2 hours, 5 minutes before the 1050mAh battery died. So battery times are virtually identical between the two action cameras.
Where Can I Buy One? And For How Much?
The Amkov AMK5000S HD Action Camera can be purchased right now on sale through Amazon (USA) for $79.99 USD with free shipping! That's below the normal cost of $98.99 USD and makes the Amkov AMK5000S an even greater value, especially when you can purchase through a reputable retailer such as Amazon. It ships out from a third party and is fulfilled by Amazon, however, you still have Amazon's protection and peace of mind.
Beware there's only limited quantities available for $79.99 USD, silver model has 17 left in stock, gold color has only 18 left in stock, and black has 19 left in stock.
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If you are thinking of purchasing the Amkov AMK5000S HD Action Camera, or anything else for that matter, please use our Amazon link above, it will help us out greatly.
If you are an overseas reader living outside of North America, you can purchase the Amkov AMK5000S action camera through Aliexpress and the Official Amkov Global Flagship Store for $73.93 USD and $79.99 USD if you want it with the extra optional carrying case.
Some Amazon Deals That May Interest You!
The Amkov AMK5000S presents a serious value in the action camera market especially as it sits under the $100 price bracket. Even better is when it can be purchased for around $68-75 USD when it goes on sale making it extremely hard to beat at that price point. AMK5000S records in 1080p, 720p and 720p/60fps and it contains integrated WiFi that will give you a live video feed through a Smartphone or tablet. The WiFi video feed delay is surprisingly almost instant so in that aspect kudos to Amkov for getting it down perfect.
Sure the Amkov AMK5000S may not bring anything new or original to the action camera segment, it isn't the strongest build out there, but at the end of the day the AMK5000S will do most things very well, the high points being its 1080p, audio recording quality, and battery life meeting a little over 2 hours.
Yes the Amkov AMK5000S is not perfect, and yes it does falter in a number of different areas, including WiFi operation and app stability, and it does lacks functions and settings which could have made it better than it currently is as I've gone through in this review, however, it's up to you the user to see whether or not you can live with those drawbacks and issues. I really wish you didn't have to take out your Smartphone or tablet every time you wanted to change a setting, I wish those could have been changed from within the camera itself, but it is what it is. And don't forget about that "Image Reversal" feature that I found out reading Amkov's press material for this review, if I never read that, I would have never known you could flip the image by pressing the WiFi button for 3 seconds. This feature was never mentioned in the User's Manual nor does it even have its own setting anywhere on the Amkov-icam WiFi application.
All in all, I think Amkov AMK5000S fills a niche for those who don't want to spend 2-5x more money for something that may get damaged and destroyed down the line as we're talking about an action camera here, and I think the Amkov AMK5000S is hard to beat for those wanting such a device at a price point of under $100. I would say the Amkov AMK5000S is a good action camera overall.