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GoXtreme Black Hawk 4k Action Camera review

30 Nov 2018
Verdict:

Great footage, but limited battery life and fiddly to use

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
• Great videos • Cheap • Rear screen • Wi-fi app
Against 
• Limited battery • Not the most intuitive to use • Poor sound • Not natively waterproof

To suggest the GoXtreme resembles the better-known GoPro is to say that the latter probably doesn’t have quite the patent lawyers you’d expect of it. The Black Hawk looks almost identical to the larger brand’s Hero 4 model. Like it, the GoXtreme isn’t waterproof in its own right, instead relying on a waterproof snap-case to keep out moisture.

In fact, it’ll keep out all water down to a depth of 60 metres.

On the back is a screen to help in framing shots. The companion iSmart DV app is also useful for composing your videos, especially once the camera is mounted onto a handlebar or helmet.

Buy the GoXtreme Black Hawk action camera from Amazon

It also allows you to adjust the camera's settings, such as the frame rate, white balance, and other features. To get either on such a cheap camera is impressive.

Of course, the GoXtreme’s other big trick is the ability to shoot in sharp and fast 4k at 60 frames per second.

Working via wi-fi, I found the set-up via a phone to be easy, although it’s slightly annoying to find adverts displaying on the app. This is because rather than develop its own, GoXtreme uses generic software.

Regardless, once you’ve captured your videos and pictures, it still makes reviewing them in the field a far more enjoyable experience.

Lens and resolution

The GoXtreme’s 170° fixed wide angle lens will be familiar to most existing action camera users. Like a sawn-off shotgun, it’s wide enough to capture anything you point it at.

However, it can’t be adjusted down, so your images will always have a slight fish-eye quality.

The GoXtreme’s impressive maximum resolution of 4k works at 60fps. This is plenty for regular viewing, but you’ll have to step down to 1080p if you want to start playing around with super slow-motion effects.

There’s also a timelapse feature which is easy to set-up and customise via your phone. It generally makes for some interesting footage.

Similarly, the burst photography feature can either create sequences of shots or take the chance out of capturing those crucial moments.

Image and sound quality

The videos that come out of the Black Hawk are good (see example above). They’re clear and the colours are rendered well in most scenarios.

The camera also deals acceptably with changes between light and dark. Certainly, its performance seems to be up there with equivalent rivals, even those costing a fair chunk more.

Annoyingly though, the maximum duration of any video is around half an hour, after which time the camera will automatically stop recording.

This means you won’t be capturing the entirety of any alpine climbs, although, on the plus side, your friends and relatives will be spared hours of you grunting away.

Speaking of grunting, encased within its housing waterproof housing, the stereo microphone on the GoXtreme is acceptable rather than stellar. I’d leave it off, and stick some music over the top of your videos.

Another thing that can have a big effect on the watchabilty of your videos is stabilisation. Models like GoPro’s new Hero 7 Black are now so smooth you’d previously have had to employ an auto-stabilising gimbal, a contraption of pivots and motors, to get such stable shots.

At £380 GoPro make you pay for it. However, if you want to mount a camera to your bike or helmet the difference is huge.

Given the vast disparity in price, the comparison might be limited, but it’s still worth bearing in mind. As it stands the GoXtreme does an average job at smoothing things out.

Handlebar mounted shots being only moderately headache-inducing as long as you stick to smooth tarmac.

Battery life

I couldn’t find a quote for the battery life on the GoXtreme. Having left it filming the clock at 4K 30fp I got a runtime of 47 minutes.

However, using the screen and repeatedly launching the wi-fi will see it last far less. That’s not great. Luckily, it’s possible to exchange the battery, so as long as you’re happy to carry a spare, this needn't ruin your day.

Extras

The GoXtreme arrives with a huge number of different mounts. There are two sticky-backed flat mounts that allow a quick-release sledge carrying the camera to clip into place.

These more permanent options are ideal for fitting onto a helmet, or directly to a vehicle. With two lockable straps and two velcro options, there’s also plenty of scope for fastening the camera in place to odd shaped items.

There’s also a handlebar mount, lots of different adaptors, and a fixing for a tripod or gimbal.

Conclusion

Probably the Black Hawk’s closest rival is the £179.99 GoPro Hero7 White, and in some ways it runs it pretty hard. The GoXtreme’s headline specs are far better, and the images sharper.

However the usability on the GoPro is easier to get on with, it doesn’t require a case, the sound is a level up, and the battery life better.

Buy the GoXtreme Black Hawk action camera from Amazon

By the time you start looking at the Hero7 Silver at £220 the GoPro streaks ahead. So where does that leave the GoXtreme Black Hawk 4k?

All things considered, you get a lot of features and excellent image quality for not much money. However, the final polish seen on other brands is slightly lacking. Whether that bothers you will likely depend on whether you priotitise the headline specifications or the less tangible qualities that make a camera nicer to use.

Find out more: goxtreme-action-cams.com

Technical specifications

4k @60fps/30fps
2.7k @60fps/30fps
1080p @120fps/60fps/30fps
720p @240fps/120fps/60fps/30fps
14MP, 12MP, 10MP, 8MP, 5MP, 2MP
12MP sensor
Enhanced Image Stabilization
Waterproof case up to 60m
3/4cm display
Built-in microphone
Stereo sound
170° fixed wide angle
WiFi function
Time lapse video & photo / Burst / Continuous shot
Interface: HDMI, USB 2.0
Micro SD U3 card support up to 64GB (not included)
1050mAh lithium battery (exchangeable)
Dimensions 61 x 42 x 23 mm, 78g (incl. battery)

Price: 
£169.99

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