Action cameras have become extremely popular nowadays, especially with the vast range of GoPro products available in the market. I will show you below my Eken H6S 4K action camera review.
Regardless of whether you are a professional photographer or simply an enthusiast looking to capture your most enjoyable moments, owning an action camera is a must.
While it is true that the cost of GoPro models can easily turn you off, the fact that there exist a variety of other companies offering similar features at much lower prices is a welcome boon.
As the action camera market continues to shift its focus to the wider populace around the world, companies are pressured into producing more and more alternatives at affordable rates.
Chinese brands, for instance, have realized the potential of the action market quite early, which has allowed them to garner a dedicated fan base earlier than others.
Eken, a Chinese manufacturer, first came into the limelight with their H9 model. It was affordable, had impressive features, and performed better than its contemporaries at that range. It helped Eken establish their identity in the field and made them a popular choice in the low budget action camera market.
The latest camera from Eken is the H6S 4K model. The V series launched by the company had done reasonably well, especially with the Eken V8S. Now they have replaced the V series with the H series, and have come out with the H6S, which, in retrospect, is not much different from the V8s.
Let’s Jump to the Review!
Product: Eken H6S Action Camera
My Rating: 9/10
Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon.com
If you are familiar with the rugged, rubberized design of the GoPro Hero series, you are in for a huge disappointment. Faced with the challenge of cutting manufacturing costs to make the camera more affordable, Eken had to opt for an average quality design in order to accommodate the striking technical specifications like 4K and EIS.
The back face sports a silver grey color, which looks fancy but not too much. It’s small, compact, and lightweight, so you can easily fit it inside your pocket.
In fact, the camera is so lightweight that you’d almost find it difficult to believe that it’s not hollow inside. To the touch, it seems like a plastic body, and not a great one at that either.
Coming to the technical specifications, the Eken 6S measures 5.93 x 2.14 x 4.11 cm and weighs 66 g with battery. It flaunts a 2 inch monitor at the back and a 1 inch status screen on the front.
It boasts of 170 degrees wide angle lens coupled with an Ambarella A12S75 chipset. The most remarkable feature is the 4K resolution that this camera offers at 25 frames per second.
The fact that you are getting 4K resolution under $120 should be enough reason to get excited about. Few cameras in this day and age offer 4K, let alone at this price.
The Eken H6S also comes with Electronic Image Stabilization, which is a pretty fancy feature in a camera like this. I’ll explain what the EIS does in the later segments, but if you are into action cameras, you will probably know how useful it is. The 4K feature and EIS, in addition to the Panasonic MN34110 image sensor, make up the USP of this product.
It has an extendable storage space of 64 GB, and lacks an external mic support.
Navigation and Controls
There are only three buttons on the body. Thankfully, the buttons appear to be of superior quality than the body of the camera itself.
If you are not accustomed to Eken models, navigating with the help of only three buttons can be a bit confusing at the beginning. It’s an acquired taste, and after a couple of months, you won’t find it inconvenient at all.
The display is bright enough for outdoor usage in the sun. Unlike most cameras in this price range, Eken H6S takes care of the monitors and the viewing angles so that it’s easy for you to see the pictures in broad daylight.
However, the H6S does not have signal LEDs around the camera which may confuse you at times about whether the camera is recording at not.
Just like the three button issue, this is an acquired taste too, which ceases to become a headache after a couple of months of usage. But if you are looking to move on from a GoPro, this is not the kind of product you should be looking forward to buy.
Navigation is a tricky affair, as can be expected. The record button serves the purpose of selecting a certain option, and you can use the power button to move down the list thereon.
It’s not the most convenient, nor the quickest way to navigate the menu, but that’s what you will have to contend with if you are buying Eken. It may somewhat come as a relief that the Menu does not offer too many settings anyway.
The best thing about the controls in this camera is that Eken have added a remote control feature to it. The device comes with their set of accessories, and can be used to access the camera without physically touching it.
This comes in handy when the camera is mounted in an inaccessible position or you have your hands too full. The remote device can be used in the rain because it is splash-proof. The signal range is restricted to 2-3 meters but the accuracy is pretty impressive within that range.
Video, Image and Sound Quality
As I mentioned under the technical specifications, this is the segment where the Eken H6S scores brownie points. It offers 4K resolution at 30 fps (you will need to get down to 25 fps if you are looking to make use of the EIS), 2.7K at 30 fps (along with EIS) and 1080p at a maximum of 60 fps (with EIS). This is an upgrade from the Eken V8S which otherwise had the same features.
The electronic image stabilization (EIS) is an useful feature that will need some explanation if you are not familiar with it. This technology helps the camera to compensate for jerky recordings by cropping into the image.
So if you are recording footages at places whether you are expected to have a lot of camera movements, this feature is going to come in handy. The EIS in the Eken H6S cannot be turned off manually, and it’s a bit of a bother because it drains the battery too quickly.
However, on practical application, the Eken H6S falls short on the performance it promises on paper. Despite the 4K technology, the recordings haven’t improved drastically from what they used to be on the V8S.
The colors are acceptable, but not top notch. This is certainly of concern, considering the amount of effort manufacturers invest in video quality of action cameras these days. The quality becomes even poorer in low light conditions, thus making the camera completely useless at night.
Just like the V8S model, the video time-lapse feature is there, although its utility is questionable considering the awfully short battery life.
The camera also offers burst mode (a maximum of 15 photos/ 4 seconds) and time lapse photo. It may be pertinent to mention here that the H9 series like the H9S didn’t possess the time-lapse feature.
The photo resolution with the H6S is 14 MP. The image sensor has been upgraded to a Panasonic variety which is a major improvement from the previous H series products.
The camera does not have fancy features like RAW support and Wide Dynamic Range mode, but offers just enough to be classified as one of the better products in this price range.
The light levels are well managed, and the colors, albeit not as vibrant as flagship products, are reasonably good. There are not a lot of details, and it is recommended to not use the H6S as a primary photo camera.
As mentioned previously, microphone input via USB and A/V out via USB are not available in this product.
Apps and Editing Features
The Eken H6S has built-in Wi-Fi that allows you to pair your smartphone with the camera and control it remotely. It works well within a range of 3 to 4 meters.
You need to keep in mind that you are only allowed to record, playback or change modes, and cannot access the more intricate features using this connection. The app is unstable, and crashes frequently enough to make it unusable.
Accessories and Mounts
The accessories included in the camera package consist of a tripod, a waterproof case, a plastic frame, two clip mounts, three screw mounts, two 3M mounts stickers, one handlebar mount, one remote control device, one USB cable, and a manual.
Unlike the actual camera, the quality of the accessories is good enough to be comparable with GoPro products. Also, the fact that Eken includes a tripod in the accessories package makes the entire deal complete from the perspective of a camera lover.
You can use the frame to attach the camera to a quarter-inch screw, and mount it on the tripod. One shortcoming is that the frame lacks a window for the USB cable; so you will not be able to charge the camera while it’s mounted inside the frame.
This can turn out to be an issue if you are looking to capture time-lapse videos where the battery drains out pretty quickly. Of course, you can buy a separate frame from a third-party manufacturer, or even drill one in the given frame itself, should you feel the need to do so.
One of the major problems that action camera lovers face is that the battery life on these devices is usually not too great. Even GoPro, which is considered to be the premium manufacturer of action cameras, have repeatedly fallen short of impressing in this category.
The Eken H6S comes with a 1050 mAh battery which takes as much as 130 minutes to recharge fully. Recording at 4K drains the battery in all but 46 minutes while shooting at 1080p at 30 fps with EIS on allows only 140 minutes of usage.
The fact that there is no hole for USB in the frame makes it impossible to shoot time-lapse videos with this product straight out of the box.
Here’s a YouTube video by SuperdanTech showing the Eken H6S in action:
It’s extremely important to understand the specifications of a camera before you decide to purchase it. Chinese products can often turn out to be deceiving, and therefore, you need to ensure that the seller is genuine and trustworthy before you invest money.
Summarizing the review above, it is clear that the Eken H6S isn’t the best in the business when it comes to action cameras. If you are serious about pursuing your passion for photography, you need to look for other alternatives, which, in spite of being slightly more expensive, are going to provide better and more reliable performance. Eken products are definitely not the way to go if you are in the market for the best experience.
On the other hand, if you are considering an upgrade from the V8S or H9 series, this is definitely worth a shot. The H6S costs almost double than what the H9 does, but it offers far better image resolutions than the latter. Moreover, the 4K resolution and the EIS are lucrative features in favor of the H6S.
Eken comes with its own set of pros and cons, but honestly, it’s rather foolish to expect a lot of pros under the $120 mark. The Eken H6S is a nice camera as a starting point for beginners, introducing them to the basics of 4K and EIS, but certainly not an option at an intermediate or semi-professional level.
If you are looking to purchase the Eken H6S online, here is a coupon code 2Y2KBKZE for availing a discounted price of $108.99 ($11 off on the current price on Amazon). It is valid till December 31, 2018.
I hope you liked my Eken H6S 4K action camera review! If you have any questions then feel free to leave a comment below 🙂