It’s one thing to galvanize people with tales of your gravity- and death-defying expeditions. It’s another to provide visual proof. Thanks to the introduction of action cameras, pretty much anyone with a thing for the outdoors — novice climbers, intermediate cyclists, veteran X-Games athletes and the lot — is utilizing these point-of-view shooters for hi-def footage of mesmerizing scenery and insane stunts.

With demand for first-person adrenaline recaps rising, the market for these action cams has vastly expanded. Fresh faces and reputable imprints have largely followed in the footsteps of industry leader GoPro, but each new entry offers a different experience that caters best to a specific demographic. Fortunately for you, we’ve managed to narrow down the top offerings based on performance, suitability, features and price. Take a break from planning that next base-jumping adventure and get a closer look at the six best action cameras available now.

Additional contribution by AJ Powell.

Yi Action Camera


Best Budget Camera: At only $81, the Yi Action Camera is a more affordable alternative to the GoPro Hero and it boasts similar specs — oftentimes producing a more vivid image. It functions much the same way as a GoPro and bears more than a passing resemblance. No, it doesn’t come with a waterproof case, but one can be purchased separately.

Video Quality: 1080p/60 fps
Photo Quality: 16MP
Notable Features: Built-in wi-fi

Garmin Virb XE


Best for the Stat Geek: Garmin’s Virb XE has a host of built-in sensors to both track your activity record video. The camera also has the ability to link with other Garmin devices, such as their avionics equipment, heart rate sensors and sailing equipment.

Video Quality: 1440p/30 fps
Photo Quality: 12MP
Notable Features: Wi-fi streaming, GPS, accelerometer, waterproof to 50 meters without a dive case, Bluetooth and ANT+ compatible

Sony HDR-AS50R Action Cam


Editor’s Pick: Though not quite as popular as the GoPro, it’s hard to do better than Sony’s new HDR-AS50R. Sony’s newest action cam comes with a wireless remote with an LCD screen that can mount to your wrist. The remote makes it easy to fine-tune the camera angle without having to take it off to adjust. It also features Sony’s SteadyShot image stabilization, which works well to keep your videos from looking shaky while running or mountain biking through the brush.

Video Quality: 1080p/60 fps
Photo Quality: 11.9MP
Notable Features: Zeiss Tessar Lens, ability to switch between wide and narrow lens angle, Exmor R CMOS Sensor

TomTom Bandit


Best for the Lazy Video Editor: The main benefit of TomTom’s Bandit is that it uses its collected stats and data to make your life easier. Based on GPS, accelerometer and altitude data, the Bandit automatically detects when something interesting is happening and marks it as a highlight. Then, using the app, you can edit a video together in minutes.

Video Quality: 1080p/60 fps
Photo Quality: 16MP
Notable Features: Cordless charging and data transfer, automatic detection of highlights, onboard GPS, accelerometer and altitude sensors

GoPro Hero 4 Black


The Leader of the Pack: The name GoPro has long been synonymous with the best in action cameras. And yes, the Hero 4 Black is no exception. With ultra high resolution 4K video and an innovative night mode that automatically adjust settings for low light conditions, the GoPro is decked out in top-notch features. For “prosumer” enthusiasts, it offers everything you want and more.

Video Quality: 4K/30 fps
Photo Quality: 12MP
Notable Features: 4K video, night photo mode, wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity, SuperView immersive wide camera angle



Best Action Cam for 360 Video: If you need to see virtually every angle of your next big stunt, and can’t afford something like 360Heros (plus the cost of ten GoPro’s), the 360fly is the perfect choice. It offers immersive 360-degree video and comes housed in an action-ready case that you can take just about anywhere.

Video Quality: 1504 x 1504/30 fps
Photo Quality: N/A
Notable Features: 360 degree video, editing app to help share videos directly to social media

Sioeye Iris4G


Best for the Social Media Obsessive: If you’re the type of person that wishes they could broadcast their adventures in a live stream directly from their action camera, then you’re in luck: the recently launched Sioeye Iris4G allows you to do exactly that. It connects to a 4G LTE network and can stream footage in real time directly to your Sioeye profile. If you chose not to live stream your footage, the Sioeye can also record video in stunning 4K.

Video Quality: 4K/30 fps
Photo Quality: 18MP
Notable Features: Ability to stream video live without a phone, 4K video resolution when not streaming, real-time speed and altitude overlay on video