The best wearable action cameras for extreme sports and more

Take great action shots wherever you are with these awesome connected cameras
Best wearable action cameras

Wearable action cams and head-mounted cameras are big business, and with 4K video, underwater recording and some of the best frame-rates on the market, you can see why.

Whether you're snowboarding down Mount Fuji, swimming with dolphins in the Caribbean or just spending quality time with the kids on your holiday in the Med, the first person videos created by wearable cameras capture the most natural memories when they matter most.

Read this: How to choose the best wearable camera for you

Their diminutive proportions, robust design, simple mechanics, ultra-wide fields of view and ability to be worn on the body and used from almost any vantage point help give video footage and stills a real sense of drama.

Here's our pick of the top wearable action cameras on the market...

GoPro Hero4 Black

GoPro Hero4 Black

GoPro is still the manufacturer to beat in the action camera market, and its Hero4 Black is the most advanced model yet: a maximum resolution of 4K at a rate of 30fps is the headline feature, but you get all of the GoPro build quality and a wide range of accessories to pick from as usual.

Read this: GoPro Hero4 Black review

The Hero4 Silver is worth a look as well — it doesn't offer quite the same level of video quality (1080p at 60fps is as good as it gets), but it is the first GoPro to offer an integrated LCD screen, and it's $100 cheaper as well. Whatever model you pick, you won't be disappointed.

$499, | Amazon

Garmin VIRB XE

Garmin took the covers off of two new action cameras in April. The Garmin VIRB X and VIRB XE both feature full HD recording, slow-mo modes and built in sensors, which add extra data from your extreme sports to the footage. The duo work with Garmin wearables – such as the Garmin Fenix 3 – to pick up data such as changes in altitude or speed from Garmin's Vector data.

First look: Garmin VIRB XE review

The VIRB XE is designed for professionals, and provides a small boost in quality with 1440p recording at 30fps and Full HD 1080p at 60fps.

$399,| Amazon

Nikon KeyMission 360

Nikon is one of the few traditional camera giants to try its hand at action cameras. The reason we've chosen to highlight the Nikon here, before its release, is that the KeyMission is capable of 360 degree video capture, which means it has one (fish)eye on the upcoming VR revolution.

It boasts 4K resolution even during 360 capture, is waterproof to 30m and will withstand drops of up to 2m. If the idea of playing back your adventures on a Google Cardboard or Oculus Rift appeals, it could be worth waiting for the Nikon. It was originally set to launch in spring but the latest from Nikon Australia is that it's getting a release in late June. No price yet.


TomTom Bandit

The Bandit's 16MP sensor shoots 4K videos as well as 1080p footage at up to 60fps and 720p at up to 120fps. It rocks slow mo (1080p/720p), timelapse (4K/1080p) and burst modes, as well as Bluetooth Smart and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Essential reading: TomTom Bandit review

What sets it apart is a built-in media server, processing and auto-editing on the camera itself. That means the footage stays on the camera and you can review your mini movie on a smartphone companion app before shaking it to get an edited highlights reel.

$399,| Amazon

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-Tracker

This new action cam from Olympus is mid range in price but impressive on features. First up, there's a 1.5-inch LCD that tilts out, which you don't get on most rivals. The 8MP CMOS sensor shoots 4K video at 30fps and has a 204 degree wide angle lens and 5-axis image stabilisation.

As for the TG-Tracker's action capabilities, it's waterproof to 30m, shockproof to 2.1m, dustproof, freezeproof to -10 celsius and even crushproof up to 220 pounds of force. There's GPS/GLONASS for geo-tagging, Wi-Fi to connect to your phone and a separate housing accessory available. Look for a review on the site very soon.

$350, | Amazon

Panasonic HX-A1

The HX-A1 weighs just 45g, coming in a tiny cylindrical form factor to maximise shooting situations. It's a rugged little machine, too - waterproof to 1.5m without the need for extra housing, shockproof, dustproof and even freezeproof down to 10 degrees below.

It captures footage up to Full HD and has a slo-mo mode that shoots 60fps at 720p or 120fps at 480p. It also has a Lux Night Mode and includes an IR filter, which can be used with an infrared light source.

$199,| Amazon

GoPro Hero

A GoPro on a budget, these scaled back action camera doesn't offer quite the same power as its big brother but can be yours at a bargain basement price. You still get full 1080p video at 30fps and 720p at 60fps, and all the same timelapse and burst modes, plus it's waterproof to 40m.

$129.99,| Amazon

Drift Stealth 2

The latest model from British outfit Drift has a lot to recommend it and offers a less expensive alternative to the GoPro range. The design is solid and rugged, so it should survive all of the weather conditions you can throw at it, and the simple integrated display lets you know what mode you're in.

Check out: Our full Drift Stealth review

High-definition video, photos, time lapses — the Stealth 2 can handle it all. There's even a dedicated car dashcam mode that you can make use of, where new footage is recorded over old as you motor down the road. There's an app for controlling the camera via your smartphone as well. The price has recently been slashed too.

$199,| Amazon

Sony X1000VR

Sony's line of action cameras have slowly but surely been growing in quality, and the X1000VR is its best effort yet. It can cope with 4K video recording at 30 frames-per-second, comes in a compact bullet-shaped case, and offers extras such as GPS, NFC and Wi-Fi (for remote control).

The camera includes shot-steadying technology for your video and wind reduction for your audio, and Sony is a company that knows its camera optics. As with its rivals, there's a free mobile app available, and GoPro executives will be looking over their shoulders with concern.

$399,| Amazon

4GEE Action Cam

The UK's biggest mobile network is taking a slightly different tactic to TomTom, Panasonic and Garmin by making its 4GEE Action Cam cellular connected and, if you pay monthly, seriously affordable.

It shoots 1080p (30fps)/720p (30/60fps) footage and 13MP stills, and is connected to the internet via 4G from EE. That means you can livestream footage straight from the camera without the need for a smartphone. Livestreaming is limited to 720p video at 30fps.

From £9.99 with contract,

Shop for recommended action cameras on Amazon

GoPro Hero5 Black
GoPro Hero5 Black
Drift Stealth 2
Drift Stealth 2
Garmin Virb Ultra 30
Garmin Virb Ultra 30
TomTom Bandit
TomTom Bandit

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  • Cam says:

    The Sony HDRAS has gotten some really positive user reviews and is only $199. Is it an older model?

  • WillNews says:

    Drift Stealth 2 has the longest battery life, which is up to 3 hrs and it’s the most important feature for me. I use it both as an action camera during motorcycle rides and during every day commuting to work.

  • Lazybear says:

    You missed the Contour +2 - Awesome camera and it looks so much better than most of the cameras on this list.

  • dave316 says:

    Appreciated to your pretty professional and practical review about ten best wearable Action cameras,we really learn a lot and do know what it is and how to pick one preferred.

    I am a elephone fan and i am accustomed to visiting a brand supplier named Elephone specializing in sale of tons of fashionable latest cell phone ranging from Andriod 3G to Andriod 5.0 5.1 6.0 4G and cell phone accessories including camera and charger etc,i bought a featured sports action camera coming with 4k (3840*2160) 24FPS(4 k achieved by chip and sensor software optimization, physical hardware resolution at 2880 * 2160 P) sold at significant discount at

  • Vedran says:

    Hi all! 

    This is great comparison of wearable cameras for action sports, extreme conditions in which you have a helmet or some head-mount.

    What we are doing is trying to change this and make it even simpler. Our product can be easily attached to any glasses people already have.

    Vyoocam is small and easy to use wearable camera for hands-free live video streaming, conferencing or simply video recording.  

    Check: and :) 

    Thanks! ;) 

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