ISAW Edge 4K action camera review
The ISAW Edge is aiming to offer the same as the leading action cameras – solid design, performance and features – but for a less purse pounding price. It promises a lot, but does the ISAW action cam actually have the Edge over the others?
Looking at the ISAW Edge you can definitely tell that it is cut from similar cloth to the GoPro Heroes and Rollei ActionCams of this world with its box shape. I can understand that there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, especially one as popular as the GoPro, but does the Edge have the chops?
What really caught my eye amongst the Edge’s high-end features was the boast of 4K capture. Other than that it also offers 120fps slow motion at 720p resolution, Wi-Fi (and a companion app) and a small live view LCD.
That’s quite an impressive list of features for a camera at this price point.
ISAW Edge 4K action camera design
As I’ve already said, the ISAW Edge is your usual box camera with a little screen on the back, but that’s a good thing – there must be a reason for so many companies following this design.
The camera is encased within a waterproof housing that enables a maximum dive depth of 40m, should you feel so inclined.
The quality of the case is pretty decent and has good seals on the back door to stop any liquidy ingress. The compression lever lock provides a solid snap when closed and takes a little effort to re-open, so little chance of catching it by accident and letting anything camera-destroying enter.
There are three sealed buttons that control the camera and each of these is, again, well designed and works as it should. The two on the front and one on top are surrounded by a raised ridge to avoid accidental knocking of the buttons and each features a firm spring to offer some resistance when pushed.
Unlike some of cheaper cases of similar design, pushing these buttons gives a decent amount of feedback but without having to use excessive force.
On the base of the case is the standard GoPro-style mount, which enables this camera to take advantage of the vast array of mounts already on the market, as it does look like it will take most GoPro accessories.
In addition to these mounts ISAW states that there will be a range from its own company but this Edge does come bundled with an amazing array of accessories already. Just check out the unboxing video below:
Taking the camera out from its protective case the ISAW Edge is almost identical in size and weight to a GoPro, although the button layout is different, also the build quality is not quite as high as the GoPros.
On the base is the battery hatch, which holds the small 3.7v 1,000 mAh cell.
ISAW Edge 4K action camera performance
Looking at the camera, to the left are the setup and mode buttons and on top is the bright orange record button which doubles as the power switch.
Camera operation with these three buttons is really quite straightforward once you get used to it – the manual certainly helped in this matter; hitting the Mode button toggles you through the video, stills and review modes, while the Setup button takes you into the camera options. Navigating through these options is far easier than it is on the majority of other action cameras of this design, even the GoPro Hero, as the two buttons on the front can be used to navigate up and down, with the shutter button being used to confirm the selection – so there’s no carousel style navigation, which is a welcome change.
Switching between some options requires you to hold buttons down for a couple of seconds (again, thank you manual) – for example, to turn on Wi-fi you hold down the Mode button. Likewise, in the Settings menu, holding down the Mode button switches through the Video, Photo, My Tune and Settings options.
Out in the field, the small LCD on the back proves useful both for composition and checking the settings. It’s also a great reference for checking the camera’s status and enabling you to quickly see if you’re recording, and how much battery life you have left.
Video quality is handled automatically by the camera, and this is common with action cameras – but there is an option called MyTune that gives you greater control over the visual quality of the footage you capture.
MyTune enables the adjustment of Sharpness, Exposure, Sensitivity, Metering and White balance. All these options will appeal to advanced users who like to fine-tune the quality of the footage that they’re capturing.
GoPro Heros offer a similar Protune feature, and for many professionals who use action cameras this feature is invaluable – so to see a similar feature here on the Edge is an interesting development, especially at this price point.
Images – both video and stills – are captured with impressive clarity by the Sony Exmor 16 million pixel CMOS sensor inside the camera. Video quality at 1080p was definitely sharp, bright and useable. See the video clip taken from a moving bus below – why isn’t there any action footage? Read on.
The plan was to attach the impressive suction attachment to a skateboard and record some video like that. Unfortunately, the sticker/sucker took the paint off the skateboard we tried to test it on and it fell off – you can still see some of the grip tape attached to the sucker in the photo above.
Thankfully, we tested this with gentle knocks before the kid took off down the concrete skate park.
Low light performance is limited, as it always is with these small cameras, as the footage looks noisy and has limited dynamic range with dull colour. In bright conditions, however, the colours pop with a good balance of saturation and contrast without the over-saturation or the loss of detail that is common with many cheaper action cameras.
Using the different resolution and frame rate settings gives you a good variety of options. The biggest disappointment was that 4K was a joke at the available framerate.
As soon as the pace of action picks up, this camera’s 10fps limit for 4K video really starts to become apparent. Reducing the resolution down to 1080p allows 50fps in PAL, 60fps in NTSC, and the smoothness of footage really improves and looks great.
What was impressive about the ISAW Edge is that it comes with a fully featured app that works through Wi-Fi. ISAW Viewer 2, as it is called, enables the usual range of features such as Live View and complete control over the camera’s operation and settings. Sometimes this found it hard to keep up with tracking so the picture on my mobile would stop and then catch up, but it is a handy tool and allows you to swap from video to still and activate the camera’s shutter remotely.
Battery life is always an important consideration for an action cam and in real-word use we averaged around 80 minutes on a single charge, which is fair. This time included checking and changing settings, using the Wi-Fi connect for a few minutes, and reviewing as well as recording footage.
ISAW claims 100 minutes of battery life which would sounds like it might be achievable if you’re just recording.
ISAW Edge 4K action camera review conclusion
The ISAW Edge does have a lot going for it although the 4K claim is a dubious one on a camera built for capturing high speed shots, which is a shame as as a HD action cam it is darned good.
The user interface was not very intuitive but can be learned after a few goes with it so is not necessarily a deal breaker.
The LCD monitor, although small, works perfectly for composition and for finding your way around the menus and options.
Most importantly though is that the video quality is excellent and the camera offers a good number of options to adjust the video resolution and frame rate. Yes, the 4K video works for situations with little to no motion, but 10fps isn’t enough to capture smooth action footage.
The ISAW Edge has an impressive feature set and is capable of capturing some superb quality footage. Its design means that it will have access to much of the GoPro accessories already out there on the market.
Feature-wise it has plenty to offer and at just under half the price of the Hero4 Black there is much that you can forgive ISAW Edge for. Saying that though, what the Edge does offer is a good (if you ignore the cheeky 4K claim), solid action camera that will no doubt enable you to capture superb quality footage at a decent price.
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ISAW Edge 4K action camera availability and price
You can buy the ISAW Edge now from Stratos UK priced at £159.99.