If you are familiar with the ThiEYE brand then you may have heard of the E7 model. I wrote here a detailed ThiEYE E7 review and I tried to cover as much information as possible on this cheap action camera.
If you are new to the action camera market, you may not be familiar with ThiEYE’s products. It is a relatively new competitor to flagship giant GoPro, and has only a handful of models to its name.
As more and more photography enthusiasts join the queue for less expensive alternatives to GoPro cameras, companies like ThiEYE that promise premium features inspired by GoPro’s flagship models at a price significantly less than the latter stand a chance to flourish.
It is, therefore, understandable why the action camera market seems to be saturated at the budget segment.
With so many options available to the customer, it becomes quite confusing to compare and choose among the best, for not all cameras perform as well as they look on paper.
After the resounding success of the T5e in 2017, ThiEYE has launched two action cameras recently – the T5 Edge (considered as a successor to the T5e) and the E7.
The former is priced marginally higher, and comes at the price range of $100-110 while the E7 has become a leading product in the sub $100 category.
This is my ThiEYE E7 review where I will go through the features and analyze whether it stands up to the benchmarks set by its peers in the sub $100 segment.
Product: ThiEYE E7 Action Camera
My Rating: 4.7/5
Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon.com
Here are the ThiEYE E7 specs from screenshots taken from the ThiEYE website:
Design and Build
The E7’s design is identical to a lot of previous ThiEYE products. It is small, compact, made up of plastic with an external rubberized coating.
The rubber coating is helpful not only because it prevents slipping, but also because it lends a premium look to the camera.
The company branding on the front looks great, especially with the orange rim around the lens.
The dimensions of 60 x 42 x 23 mm ensure you can easily hold the camera in your palm and go outdoors.
This is the same size of the T5e as well as the T5 Edge, so if you have already bought accessories for either of them, you are good to go with the E7 too.
Considering the price of the extra mounts these days, that’s certainly a big relief!
At the Front
On the front of the camera, you will find the 170 degree wide angled lens with the Power/ Mode Selection button beside it.
There are two LED indicator lights beneath the Power button which indicate the Wi-Fi status and whether your camera is recording currently.
The fact that these LEDs are visible even in direct sunlight is a great addition.
At the Rear
The 2 inch IPS LCD screen makes up most of the rear side. It has a display resolution of 320 x 240 pixels.
The display is visible even during daytime; so you are not going to face any problem there.
At the Sides
On one side, you will find the navigation buttons while on the other, you will find the mini HDMI, micro USB and micro SD card slots.
At the Bottom
The bottom of the camera houses the battery, and on the top, lies the button to begin shooting.
The ThiEYE E7 is not water-resistant in itself. It comes with IP68 certified casing that protects the device up to 1.5 meters underwater.
The waterproof case comes with its own set of issues regarding muffling of the microphone, but it is indeed a savior while shooting in the rain or on the beach.
Refer to this User Manual Guide to learn how to properly operate the camera.
Video and Photo Quality
The soaring popularity of ThiEYE is founded on the fact that it provides plethora of features at ridiculously low prices.
At first glance, the E7 looks like a great value for money and it indeed goes on to prove that in reality.
It is one of the handfuls of GoPro alternatives that offer native 4K resolution at under $100.
Like the T5 Edge, this camera supports 4K recording at 30 fps, 2.7K at 30 fps, 1080p at 60 fps and 720p at 120 fps.
These are amazing numbers since the GoPro Hero 6 Black, priced at 3 times the E7, also offer 4k at 30 fps.
Gyro Image Stabilization
The E7 comes with gyro image stabilization – a feature you will mostly find in cameras above $100.
The EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization) works well in both 4K and 2.7K, thereby offering footage that are no longer blurry or smudged.
It must be mentioned here that video image stabilization requires a lot of processing power, and the iCatch v50 in the E7 does not fail to impress.
170 Degree Wide Angle
The 170 degree wide angle lens provides a wider field of view thus enhancing the beauty of your footage. The colors are vibrant, details are crisp, and the saturation is at par.
In fact, the aqua mode in this camera performs so well to automatically compensate for the low lighting conditions underwater that you may find it difficult to find a better camera in this price range for underwater filming than the E7.
The E7 also has a pretty nifty feature – distortion correction. This reduces the barrel distortion that you will frequently come across while using fisheye lens. SO make sure it’s on, if you don’t like the fish eye effect.
Here’s a comparison photo:
The E7 can shoot 720p at 120 fps. If you don’t know this already, the more frames you capture in a second (usually 100fps and higher), the better you can playback your video in slow motion.
This resolution is great for shooting fast movement activities like skiing, snowboarding or skydiving.
Capture your videos at 120 frames per second then play them back in slow motion and during editing.
This mode enables you to take great footage underwater while keeping the vivid colors of the sea. I didn’t need any additional filter to get these wonderful colors. The E7 will compensate the lost light using its built-in software.
Here’s a photo showing the difference between Aqua Mode ON and OFF:
Don’t forget to use this awesome feature when you’re snorkeling or scuba diving 🙂
I’m sure many of you are familiar with the video time-lapse feature. This is when your camera takes videos at an interval that you set over a certain period of time (usually a couple of hours), once you compile it and play it back, it will appear to be moving faster.
I love it especially when shooting sunrises and moving clouds. The E7 can capture videos time lapses at the interval of 1 / 3 / 5 / 10 / 30 / 60 seconds.
The Panasonic 34112 image sensor allows you to capture 14 MP photos.
The photo modes available with the E7 include single shooting, photo burst, self-timer and time lapse photo.
14 MP may not sound high-end, but at $100, that’s more than you should expect.
Here are the available photo settings:
Up to 3200, so shots in the dark are way better than other action cameras.
Manual, Portrait, Landscape, Outdoors, Night.
Long exposure time of up to 60 seconds, useful for moving scenes and night time shooting. Here’s a photo example:
White Balance Settings
Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten Light, White Fluorescent.
Capture 3/7/15/30 photos in a single click.
The camera can capture time lapse photos at the interval of 3/5/10/30/60 seconds. The photos taken when stitched together will look like a video.
No Wind Reduction
This is where the E7 falls behind the T5 Edge. Unlike the latter, this camera does not come with the wind noise reduction feature, and hence fails to offer the clear sound of the T5 Edge.
Wind noise is a particular headache when you are moving fast while recording.
What the wind noise reduction feature does is that the dual stereo microphones at different sides of the camera collaborate to identify and remove the wind noise.
The effectiveness of this feature is perceptible when you compare audio output from the T5 Edge and the E7.
If you are very particular about sound, the E7 may not be the best you can do. We would then recommend investing a few more bucks and go for the T5 Edge or another camera with wind noise reduction.
Sound Muffled Underwater
It must be mentioned here that the addition of the waterproof case muffles the microphone, thereby decreasing the quality of audio recorded.
While this is true for all cameras which are not waterproof themselves, it does reduce the appeal of the E7 somewhat.
If you are planning to use this as your primary underwater action camera, you must not expect great audio to complement the vivid underwater footage.
Navigation and Controls
Screen is NOT Touch
The non-availability of a touch screen display is a con of this camera.
However, considering the price bracket, it’s not much of an issue. Of course, it will be a bit of an inconvenience initially if you are familiar with touch-based controls, but once you get accustomed to the buttons, you won’t find it hard anymore.
Easy Navigation and Menu
The navigation buttons are located on the side of the E7. They look sturdy and feel durable.
The menu is grouped into categories rather than a bulky list as in the ThiEYE T5e. The user interface is so neat that you will easily find what you are looking for, after some initial practice.
Support 128GB Memory Cards
Just like the T5 Edge, the E7 cannot boast of in-built storage; so you will have to purchase a memory card separately along with the product. The E7 supports up to 128 GB of data storage.
This is a lot for a camera priced under $100, but then the manufacturers might have been forced to increase the capacity once they had included the 4k recording feature.
Finally, one of the best things about the E7 is that it comes with the Wi-Fi connectivity feature out of the box.
Not only can you view your photos on your smartphone through the ThiEYE app, but you can also turn your smartphone into a remote for the camera.
The ThiEYE smartphone app called “ThiEYE Cam app” allows you to connect over both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The interface looks clean and organized, and it’s not at all inconvenient to navigate through the various options.
In addition to performing basic actions like clicking photos, starting and stopping video recordings, you can basically do everything from the app, like shooting time-lapses, take burst photos, capture slow motion videos.
You can playback and quickly edit your clicks before uploading them on social media.
This is a nice feature to have these days when all of us prefer to stay connected even on vacations.
I wrote down the steps on how you can connect your E7 action camera to the Cam app:
- Download the app by clicking on the link above. It’s available for both Android and Apple iOS.
- Press and hold the WiFi button on the camera until you see “WiFi ON” on the screen.
- Connect your phone to the camera WiFi (WiFi Name:ThiEYE_CAM, Password:1234567890)
- Open the Cam app and click on “Connect”
360 Degree Rotating Release Buckle
Out of the box, ThiEYE provides all the basic accessories including waterproof housing, additional skeleton backdoor, flat and curved adhesive mounts, adhesive stickers, anti-fog inserts, a 360 degree rotating release buckle, a 360 degree vertical release buckle, one battery, a micro USB cable, a microfiber cloth, cloth bag and user manual.
The camera also comes with a tiny remote control that helps you to control your camera from a distance. You can drive your E7 with just the press of a button on the remote.
This is a particularly useful feature because it allows you to remotely access and change settings in your camera even when it’s far away from you.
360 Degree Swivel Mount
Another set of accessories that caught our eyes are the 360 degree swivel mounts. These are signature accessories from ThiEYE, and are perfect for those who worry about the precise angle of shots.
The flexibility and versatility of these mounts, in addition to the fact that they are available out of the box with ThiEYE cameras, have made these an instant hit among action camera fans.
As mentioned earlier, the identical dimensions of ThiEYE cameras imply, you can use your previous mounts on the E7 too.
ThiEYE E7 vs ThiEYE T5 Edge
The fact that both the T5 Edge and the E7 were launched together is an indicator to the huge similarity between the two.
Both Shoot in 4K
Both the cameras offer native 4K recording – a feature that becomes more impressive when you look at the price point of these products.
Both Have Gyro Stabilization
Both these products have in-built gyro stabilizer which goes a long way to enhance the quality of the recordings.
Both Have Same Hardware Specs
The specifications are mostly identical on paper. The same chipsets and image sensors are used in them and both come with remote control feature.
However, the T5 Edge costs around $20-25 more than the E7, and that difference becomes clear when you check out the audio quality on these cameras.
Audio Poorer Than T5 Edge
The E7 does not feature wind noise reduction, and therefore, offers a poorer audio than the T5 Edge. Check my detailed review of the ThiEYE T5 Edge here.
Overall, the performance is similar, which makes you wonder whether the T5 Edge is actually worth the extra bucks.
Here’s a video by Chigz Tech Reviews showing a comparison between the E7 and T5 Edge:
Here’s a comparison table showing the difference between the E7, the T5 Edge and the GoPro Hero 6:
|Model||T5 Edge||T5e||E7||GoPro Hero6 Black|
|Video Resolution||4K 30fps, 2.7K 30fps, 1080P 60 / 30fps, 720P 120 / 60 / 30fps||4K 30fps, 2.7K 30fps, 1080P 60 / 30fps, 720P 240/ 120 / 60 / 30fps||4K 30fps, 2.7K 30fps, 1080P 60 / 30fps, 720P 120 / 60 / 30fps||4K 60 /30 fps, 2.7K 120 fps, 1440p 60 fps, 1080p 240/ 120 /60 /30 fps, 720p 60 fps|
|Photo Resolution/Sensor||Up to 20 Megapixels||Up to 12 Megapixels||Up to 20 Megapixels||Up to12 Megapixels|
|Gyro Stabilization||4K 30fps and 2.7K||1080p 60/30 fps||4K & 1080P||YES, all resolutions|
What I Liked
The features that the E7 offers under $100 are mind-boggling, to say the least. Not only does it stand out as a budget option, but also challenges action cameras twice – even thrice – its price.
The obvious pros of this camera include native 4k recording, electronic image stabilization, distortion correction, the remote control feature, the superior processor that allows fantastic underwater recording, and the numerous customizable modes.
Also, it comes with most of the accessories you will need, and considering the fact that its dimensions are comparable with ThiEYE’s earlier cameras, you don’t need to spend extra on your mounts either.
What I didn’t Like
On the other hand, the lack of availability of touchscreen feature and the poor audio quality are definite cons of the E7.
The button control will possibly cease to be an issue after the first few weeks, but the audio quality may turn out to be a deal breaker for several people.
There is no shortage of action cameras in the budget segment, but each of them has one shortcoming or the other. Thankfully, the ThiEYE E7 scores well in the basics – video resolution and photo quality – while maintain great build and design.
The argument is simple – if you are inclined to buy a GoPro Hero 6 or 7, but do not have enough funds, go for the ThiEYE E7. If you are looking to purchase the best under $100 action camera, go for the E7.
But if you are planning to upgrade from a previous ThiEYE model, you may well consider spending a bit more and owning the ThiEYE T5 Edge instead.Check the ThiEYE E7 on Amazon
I hope you liked my ThiEYE E7 review 🙂 If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.