We review the Sony Action Cam AS200V!
Sony’s AS30V impressed us when we strapped it on to our helmet and reviewed it last year. Offering a different form factor than GoPro’s Hero action cameras, Sony’s Action Cam has slowly been gathering a legion of daredevils and thrill-seekers that swear by the product. This year Sony’s gone and improved on the AS30V with the AS200V, adding a bevy of new features that the small action camera even better. In this review we’ll be taking a closer look at the AS200V, along with the Live View Remote Kit that comes with the AS200VR retail package that was sent to us for review.
A familiar design in a new, splashproof body
Sony takes a different approach in the desings of its action cameras. Instead of the flat design of GoPro’s Hero cameras, Sony’s gone with a longer, elonganated rectangular approach with its action cameras. This allows the AS200V to be mounted on the side of helmets, cars or anything else easier without protruding too much. Since we play a lot of airsoft, this allowed us to mount it on the side of our jump helmet via a custom mount using the standard 1/4 inch thread on the bottom of the case without presenting a huge target to the enemy. Unfortunately, official and aftermarket mounts for Action Cameras aren’t as plentiful compared to GoPro’s Hero offerings.
Controls for the AS200V are straightforward: the LCD display and main controls are located on the left side of the device, while the record button is located on the back. All the relative ports (HDMI, USB, 3.5mm microphone jack) are located on the bottom. To access the battery and the microSD card, you’ll need to flick the small latch on the right side of the device, near the rear.
The AS200V comes in the same water resistant casing as the AS30V. As such, it’s only rated for depths up to 5 meters, or 16 feet. Any deeper and you run the risk of water defeating the seals of the camera and potentially ruining the camera itself. The trade-off for the shallower depth rating is that the camera can record full audio without the muffling that’s typically associated will fully sealed action cameras.
New for the AS200V is its splash proof capabilities. You can actually use the AS200V on its own without fearing the elements, but we highly suggest getting the specialized hard lens protector if you decide to do so, if only to protect the ZEISS 170 degree lens on the camera. Being splashproof means that you also get a bit more time to take the camera out to the surface or out of the water if the plastic case is compromised for any reason.
Jam-packed with features
Sony has a reputation of throwing an entire kitchen sink worth of features into their cameras and the AS200V is no exception. Aside from shooting up to full HD @ 60FPS, the Action Cam can also shoot 240 FPS, though at a slightly lower resolution. Connectivity options abound on the AS200V, which include NFC and WiFi. The camera also has GPS, as well as the capability to stream direct to USTREAM with the right connection. It also has a built-in stabilizer in the form of the SteadyShot technology inside the camera.
Like the previous generation Action Cams, the AS200V can be paired to the Live View remote that gives you an LCD display and a way to control the camera without actually laying your hands on it. The Live View remote also gives you a good idea of the framing of your shot which is handy, since the AS200V doesn’t have an LCD display of its own. While the Live View remote can be bought separately, our review unit comes with it in the box (AS200VR). Like the AS200V, the Live View remote is water resistant as well, and can connect to multiple action cams if need be. You can also control the AS200V via your phone if you don’t want to hand over extra cash for the Live View remote.
Versatile, do anything camera
As far as image quality is concerned, the AS200V delivers on all fronts. It has very good image reproduction in all recording modes, as well as good color reproduction. We did notice that the water in the underwater scenes looked a bit murky, especially in places that had less light, which may be a problem for recreational snorklers, though to be fair Sony does sell an aftermarket underwater door just for that purpose which corrects that issue. Other than that, the AS200V delivered footage that’s even better than the AS30V that we reviewed around a year ago.
One feature that we were curious about but we could not test unfortunately is the image stabilization, which is great for people who like to take photos of their bicycle and motorcycle rides without the associated camera shake.
Longer battery life than its predecessor
We were a bit disappointed with the battery life of previous Action Cams, which could probably shoot only 30 minutes at a time with all of their features (WiFi, GPS) on. The AS200V is capable of going much longer, and lasted twice as long, around an hours on full HD, WiFi on. One feature we did appreciate that was missing on the AS30V was the auto-shutoff feature. Once the camera detects that it’s doing, well, nothing for a few minutes, it’ll automatically shut off, saving much needed juice for later.
Verdict: A good buy for thrill seekers, but skip the bundled Live View Remote and get the basic package if you can
The AS200V is a very capable and well rounded action camera. Sony’s improved on the original design by adding a slew of new extra features to the package that makes it an even better action camera. Unfortunately, it seems that Sony’s only selling the AS200V with the Live View remote, and this bundle pushes the price of the entire package to Php 20,999. That price may scare away a lot of prospective buyers which is a shame since the AS200V is probably one of the nicest action cameras we’ve used so far. Hopefully Sony offers the AS200V as a stand-alone product so the price can be brought down a tad.