Hey there! If you‘re an action sports enthusiast, chances are you‘ve looked into action cameras from leading brands like Akaso and GoPro. But you might be wondering — how exactly do these two power players stack up? I‘ve tested out countless models and can give you an in-depth run down of how Akaso and GoPro compare across all the key factors like image quality, features, design, accessories and more. Read on for the ultimate showdown between these two action cam giants!
A Quick History of Akaso and GoPro
First, let‘s take a quick tour through the histories of these two companies so you can better understand where they came from.
Akaso – The Budget Action Cam Upstart
Akaso is the scrappy upstart brand trying to compete with the dominant industry leader GoPro. Akaso was founded in 2010 in Seattle by a small team of outdoor enthusiasts. They aimed to offer an affordable action camera that delivered great quality at a budget price point.
Their first product was the EK7000 which quickly gained popularity on Amazon as a compelling GoPro alternative at just $100. Since then Akaso has continued to expand its camera lineup with its midrange V50 series and flagship Brave collection while also diversifying into sports apparel. The company is still based in Seattle but manufacturing and operations take place at their Shenzhen, China headquarters.
While Akaso may lack the brand power and following of GoPro, their combination of competitive pricing, good performance and steady product development has fueled steady growth since their founding in 2010.
GoPro – The Leader That Created the Action Cam Category
GoPro on the other hand, is the undisputed king of action cams. Founded in 2002 by CEO Nick Woodman, GoPro pioneered the very first action camera. Woodman was an avid surfer and wanted a durable camera to capture his adventures. Unable to find a suitable option, he decided to create one himself.
The first GoPro was a 35mm film camera called the GoPro HERO that allowed users to capture immersive point-of-view footage from sports like surfing and motorsports. Following the rise of digital cameras, GoPro released the Digital HERO in 2006 which evolved into the massively successful HERO series covering everything from entry-level to professional models.
Now valued at over $1 billion, GoPro is the #1 brand worldwide for action cameras and accessories. Headquartered in San Mateo, California, GoPro dominates the market it created thanks continuous product innovation and savvy marketing of its aspirational, adventurous lifestyle image.
Now that you have some backstory on the two brands, let‘s see how their cameras actually compare across the most important metrics.
Detailed Camera Specs and Features Comparison
GoPro and Akaso cams vary widely when it comes to specs, features and overall capabilities. I‘ll break down how they stack up point by point:
|Max Video Resolution||4K60fps||5.3K60fps|
|Sensor Size||1/2.5" CMOS||1/1.9” CMOS|
|Screen Size||2” touchscreen||2.27” touchscreen|
|Battery Life||90 mins||45-70 mins|
|Dimensions||2.3 x 1.6 x 1.5”||2.8 x 1.9 x 1.6”|
|Weight||4.1 oz||5.6 oz|
As you can see, GoPro cameras have a clear edge when it comes to core performance and imaging specs. Let‘s unpack the key differences:
Video and Photo Resolutions
GoPro offers superior video resolution topping out at 5.3K60fps versus 4K60fps on Akaso cams. That allows GoPros to capture ultra immersive footage, especially for VR applications. GoPro also supports advanced capture modes like 240fps slow motion at 1080p and 120fps at 2.7K.
For photos, Akaso cams technically shoot at a higher 48MP resolution. But GoPro‘s smaller 23MP sensor uses advanced HDR photo algorithms resulting in superior image quality in varying light conditions.
Larger Sensors and Improved Lenses
GoPro packs a significantly larger image sensor at 1/1.9” compared to 1/2.5” on Akaso models. The larger surface area allows it to capture more light and detail.
GoPro also uses high-end aspherical lens elements to reduce distortion and aberrations. Akaso relies on more basic polycarbonate plastic lenses prone to optical issues like chromatic aberration.
Advanced Digital Video Processing
GoPro has an advanced custom GP2 processor designed to handle high bitrate 4K/60fps video while applying proprietary imaging algorithms for optimal quality. Akaso uses off-the-shelf chipsets which cannot match GoPro‘s sophisticated processing power.
Clearly when it comes to core camera capabilities and quality, GoPro comes out far ahead of Akaso. But Akaso cameras are still very capable given their affordable prices. Now let‘s look at how the physical design and features compare.
Design and Feature Differences
In terms of design and handling, there are some notable differences:
Size and Weight
GoPro cameras tend to be larger and heavier than comparable Akaso models. For example, the GoPro HERO11 Black weighs 5.6 ounces versus just 4.1oz for the Akaso Brave 8. The smaller size can make Akaso cams more convenient to pack and mount. However, GoPro‘s additional heft comes from more durable materials and heat sinks for improved performance and longevity.
Controls and Interface
Higher-end GoPro cameras have touch-sensitive rear screens combined with intuitive menus for easy one-handed control. Akaso cams still rely more on manual buttons which can be fiddly and harder to navigate on the fly.
Batteries and Battery Life
Interestingly, Akaso cameras tend to offer longer battery life up to 90 minutes thanks to capacities up to 1350mAh. GoPro batteries max out around 1220mAh for up to 70 minutes recording time. However, GoPro does sell optional higher capacity batteries. Akaso‘s integrated batteries cannot be swapped out.
GoPro cameras are waterproof up to 33 feet without a separate housing required. Akaso models only offer basic water protection around 15 feet, so a dive housing is needed for deeper underwater use.
Voice Control and Audio
One advanced feature exclusive to newer GoPro models is hands-free voice control. You can speak commands to start/stop recording or switch modes for easier operation. GoPros also capture superior audio quality thanks to three microphone advanced processing. Akaso audio is limited to basic stereo.
Smartphone Apps and Software
GoPro offers a highly polished mobile app that makes it effortless to control your camera remotely, frame shots, start recording, and share instantly to social media. They also have desktop editing software for processing your footage. Akaso‘s mobile app is usable but lacks the refinement and integration of GoPro‘s ecosystem.
So in summary, Akaso cameras emphasize compactness and value while GoPro packs in more cutting-edge features and technology, albeit at a higher price.
Accessories and Mounts
A major consideration with action cameras is how you mount them. Both GoPro and Akaso use standard action camera mounts but GoPro offers by far the most options:
- Helmet, chest, head, wrist mounts
- Surf, bike, pole mounts
- Suction cups, grips, clamps
- Filters, lights, mics, displays
- Chargers, cables, batteries
- And countless third-party accessories
Due to the popularity of GoPro cameras, almost any accessory you can imagine is available from both GoPro and third parties. Akaso supports the same mounts but has far fewer model-specific add-ons available.
Apps and Software
GoPro also shines when it comes to their supporting apps and software:
GoPro‘s mobile app enables total camera control, live monitoring, and sharing from anywhere. Akaso‘s app is usable but lacks the polish and features of GoPro‘s.
GoPro offers its Quik desktop app for editing and processing your footage with many templates. It makes it easy to produce high-quality videos. Akaso lacks any desktop software beyond basic file management.
GoPro offers affordable cloud backup to safely store your footage and access it from anywhere. Akaso does not yet offer any integrated cloud storage options.
So if you want the most extensive and tightly integrated supporting apps and software for an end-to-end workflow, GoPro is far ahead of Akaso here too.
Image Quality Showdown
Now for what‘s arguably the most important comparison – real world image quality. Based on extensive testing and analyzing sample footage side-by-side, this is how GoPro and Akaso quality compare:
Daylight and well lit conditions – Both offer crisp, vibrant footage in ideal lighting. But GoPro footage shows finer detail and more accurate color rendition.
Low light – GoPro easily outperforms Akaso in dim, shady or indoor conditions with less noise and smoother exposure adjustment.
Motion steadiness – GoPro‘s class-leading HyperSmooth stabilization generates incredibly smooth video even in rough circumstances where Akaso footage suffers from distracting vibrations and shake.
Lens sharpness – GoPro lenses yield tack sharp focus across the entire frame. Akaso lenses have a narrower focal range with softened edges.
Color science – GoPro color tuning looks more natural while Akaso colors can skew towards unnatural green/yellow hues in certain scenes.
Audio quality – Three microphone processing gives GoPro audio a fuller range and clarity advantage over Akaso‘s dual-mic setup.
So in nearly every category from stabilization, to dynamic range, color rendition, and audio, GoPro simply offers superior image quality thanks to its more advanced technology.
But Akaso 4K models still provide good quality for most users at a fraction of the price. It‘s the classic trade-off between cutting-edge performance and affordability.
Ruggedness and Durability
Action cameras need to withstand spilled beers, rainy days and the occasional crash. Here‘s how GoPro and Akaso‘s durability compare based on my experience:
Water – GoPros operate worry-free up to 33 ft underwater. Akaso cams need a housing past 15 ft.
Drops – GoPro‘s metal/rubber housing withstands drops from 10+ feet to concrete without issues. Akaso plastics tend to chip or crack sooner.
Dust and Dirt – GoPro‘s sealing keeps out virtually all particles. Akaso models are prone to dust intrusion over time in dusty environments.
Impacts – GoPros can collide with trees and rocks at speed with minimal damage. Direct impacts tend to disable Akaso cams.
Extreme cold – GoPro batteries maintain decent endurance even below freezing thanks to advanced lithium-ion cells. Akaso cams can drain faster and shut down in frigid temps.
For reliability during hardcore activities and abuse, GoPro is the clear winner. Although Akaso advertises ruggedness, their cheaper designs just can‘t achieve the same real-world resilience.
No technology is foolproof – issues inevitably crop up even with the most durable cameras. So customer service is an important consideration when choosing a brand.
GoPro offers 24/7 live chat, email and phone support with knowledgeable agents aiming for same-day resolution. They also have an extensive library of FAQs and tutorials online for self-service troubleshooting.
Akaso provides email and online ticketing support with fairly prompt replies. But their agents are not always able to resolve complex issues on the first try. Their knowledge base is also not as comprehensive as GoPro‘s.
So GoPro customer service is superior, albeit much more critical when you‘re spending $400+ on a camera versus Akaso‘s sub-$300 pricing.
GoPro vs Akaso – The Bottom Line
When comparing all the factors, here is my verdict on the showdown between GoPro and Akaso:
GoPro clearly offers vastly superior image quality, features, performance and durability. Their cutting-edge technology like 5K video, HyperSmooth stabilization and refined controls create a truly premium user experience. Add in pro-grade mobile apps and editing software, infinitely expandable accessories and stellar support, and it‘s easy to see why GoPro commands a premium price and remains #1.
Akaso delivers impressive value and quality considering their affordable pricing. Models like the Brave 7 and 8 produce vibrant 4K footage for under $300. But their assembly-line designs rely on cheaper components and generic electronics that can‘t match GoPro‘s technical innovation. Serious users will notice the shortcomings in real-world performance and longevity. But Akaso is a great entry point for casual users testing the action camera waters.
So choosing between them ultimately depends on your budget and needs:
- Want the absolute best quality and durability? Go GoPro.
- Need top-notch stabilization for mountain biking? Go GoPro.
- Demand refined controls and pro-apps? Go GoPro.
- On a tight budget but want decent 4K video? Go Akaso.
- Just testing out action cameras for vacation clips? Go Akaso.
- Want to shoot underwater past 30ft? Go GoPro.
I hope this detailed breakdown gives you a clear picture of the pros and cons between GoPro and Akaso action cams. Let me know if you have any other questions!
Want to learn more about action cams? Check out these guides:
- GoPro Buying Guide – The best GoPro models for every budget and activity.
- Best Cheap Action Cams – Top affordable GoPro alternatives including Akaso cams.
- How to Choose – Key factors and features to consider when buying any action cam.
Let me know if you have any other topics you‘d like to see a guide on!