Affordable Action: Soocoo S60 WiFi Sports Action Camera Review

Soocoo S60 action camera
The Soocoo action camera aims to provide bang for the buck with loaded feature set at affordable price. Soocoo

These days, it almost seems like everybody is a video star.

In an age of smartphones and YouTube, video is now a certifiable tool for the masses to the point that it’s almost strange to think of a time when that wasn’t the case. The lesson? Be careful abut what you do in public ‘cause ya never know...

Anyway, this combination of accessibility and tech miniaturization has led to the rise of the action camera, a segment popularized by current segment king . More compact than even small camcorders such as the JVC Everio Quad Proof HD, the action camera quickly gained popularity with outdoorsy and active folks looking to record their hijinks for posterity. It certainly didn’t take long before other challengers started aiming for GoPro’s throne, with contenders such as SooCoo now entering the mix.

For its part, the SooCoo S60 makes a good first impression of the box. The S60 comes with a nice padded hard case for housing the camera when not in use, which is a nice plus. On top of that, SooCoo attempts to sweeten the pot by throwing in a bunch of accessories with the case. These include an assortment of mounts for attaching your camera to all sorts of stuff, whether it be your mountain bike via a vice grip or even your wrist through an included wrist strap. The S60 also comes with a wrist remote, which is separate from the aforementioned wrist strap and looks almost like a sports watch except it has control buttons on the face instead of a timepiece. This is a good option to remotely control the device in case you have it strapped to a helmet, for example, and want to operate it in the middle of a recording run.

Another plus is that the camera body itself also acts as a waterproof housing. In other words, the S60 is waterproof right out of the box and does not require a separate waterproof case for underwater use. SooCoo claims the gadget is waterproof up to a depth of 60 meters, though, to be honest, I haven’t had a chance to test it quite that deep. The camera body comes with several buttons as well as a 1.5-inch screen for its interface. At the side is a screw cap that covers its microUSB ports. Note that this cap protects the ports from water and the elements but also makes your audio muffled so you may want to take it off for improved mic performance if you aren’t filming in harsh environs. At the top is a locking mechanism that gives you access to the battery and microSD slot when unlocked. Although the S60 comes with a bunch of accessories, a memory card is not one of them so you’ll need to get one yourself. The card slot is located beneath the battery and is admittedly a bit of a pain to access and use.

Video quality, meanwhile, is decent, especially for the price. It’s not quite as vibrant as a GoPro and it looks like there’s a bit of a tint to it (and yes, I made sure to take off the plastic film on the front of the lens). The difference is particularly noticeable at night, where the GoPro performs better. The fisheye effect is also much more exaggerated in the S60 than the GoPro. I recommend playing with the white balance settings if the auto WB option isn’t quite up to par for you. I also suggest using the​ 720p at 60fps setting for smoother video over the 1080p at 30fps option. Battery life is about a couple of hours.

Overall, the SooCoo is an option for folks looking for a wide feature set at a more affordable price. In addition to capturing video, for example, you also can use it as a webcam and take images as well. At a $100, it’s also $30 cheaper than the most affordable GoPro Hero but also comes with WiFi, which the latter does not. At the same time, it could use a bit of polish and video quality isn’t at the top of the class so folks who emphasize that over everything else may not be satisfied with it. Fortunately, there’s a bunch of videos taken with the S60 on YouTube so I recommend checking those to see if its video quality works for you.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Jason Hidalgo is About.com’s portable electronics expert. Follow his shenanigans on Twitter @jasonhidalgo. For more reviews of nontraditional gadgets like car scan tools and charging pots, check out the Other Devices and Accessories hub