Review of the Vivitar DVR 794HD V4 WiFi Sports Action Cam

Review of the Vivitar DVR 794HD V4 WiFi Sports Action Cam

vivitar action cam

What we love…

Lots of features for the price

What we would love to see….

Remote able to switch camera on, more image stabilization.

Summary

The Vivitar DVR 794 HD V4 is a good starter action cam. It comes with a waterproof case, variety of mounts, rear viewfinder screen, WiFi and remote control. In bright sunlight the colors and picture quality are good. The video is a little shaky, but you can use image stabilization software or Youtube image stabiization to tidy it up. If you are looking for an action cam to record your family adventures that won’t break the bank the DVR 794 HD V4 is good value at just over $100.

recommended-by-the-imums

If you drool over the latest Go Pro but not over its ticket price, it is worth checking out some of the less expensive alternatives. I recently tested the DVR 794HD V4 WiFi action cam, which is one of several affordably priced action cams from Vivitar.   It takes both video and still pictures- up to 14MP and 1080 HD video. It comes with a waterproof case, bike mount, helmet mount, charging cable and wristband remote. I tested the camera in a variety of situations- on a horseback ride, at a dusty campsite and out swimming & paddling at the lake. Although the camera can be used without the waterproof housing I kept it in the housing during testing as that is how I typically use an action cam. The housing not only protects the camera from water and dust but also allows you to connect accessories. The waterproof housing has the same mounting system as Go Pro cameras, so you can use the readily available Go Pro mounts, selfie sticks and other accessories.

The DVR 794HD has a built-in rechargeable battery that charges via a standard micro USB- USB cable (included.) The battery is removeable so in theory you could get a 2nd battery for longer recording time but you would also need to purchase a special charger to allow it to be charged outside of the camera (it is not the same size battery as Go Pro so not compatable with its chargers.) It uses a Micro SD for recording (not included ), I used a Samsung 64GB EVO Class 10 Micro SDXC Card with Adapter up to 48/MB/s (MB-MP64DA/AM) purchased from Amazon for under $20.

Camera operation and settings

The camera can be operated in a variety of ways- via buttons located on the camera (or on the outside of the waterproof case), via the wristband remote or via the Vivitar ActionCam smartphone app.

The camera has 2 buttons on top and 2 on the right hand side. It is a little confusing at first as the buttons have multiple functions depending on whether you are using them to change settings or to operate the camera. For operating the camera the top left button is the power button, top right starts/ stops recording. The lower side button switches on the WiFi and the upper one opens the menu. The power button is also used to switch between video, photo and playback modes. Although the 1.8″ rear screen is relatively small, I found it useful to check the camera was pointed where I wanted it. In bright sunlight I was hard to make out the details on the screen and then viewing it via the smartphone app worked better.

Remote Control

The remote control is worn like a watch and has 3 buttons- these allow you to take a still picture, start/ stop video recording or switch the camera off. The user manual says it also allows you to switch the camera on remotely, but my camera would not do so (and when I contacted customer service to ask about it they said it only switches it off.) I thought the wristband remote was a great idea and worked well for controlling the camera, as long as the camera was already switched on. When using the camera on a horseback ride I used the helmet mount, and the wrist remote was great for taking pictures/ video at the start of the ride whilst keeping my hands on the reins. However, when I tried to take video later in the ride it was frustrating because the camera had automatically switched off after 3 minutes of inactivity, so the remote didn’t work and there was also no way of telling if it was recording or not without removing my helmet to look at the camera. I later discovered that it was possible to switch off the auto-off function, which makes the remote much more useful during action sports where you may not be able to reach the camera to switch it back on.

Vivitar ActionCam app

The Vivitar ActionCam app requires connecting your smartphone to the camera via WiFi. Once connected you can view livestreaming from camera viewfinder, view videos and photos (taken with the camera or with your smartphone), adjust settings for the video or still camera and start/ stop video and still picture recording, you can also download the user manual. When using the camera in a situation where I could access my phone, I found it much easier to adjust the settings via the app rather than on the camera itself. The preview video is also larger making it easier to check you have just the shot you are looking for. You can also adjust the white balance, set the video resolution at 1080p 30fps,  720P 60fps or 720P 30fp, set the still resolution at 14M, 12M, 10M, 8M, 5M or 3M, set up  continuous shooting mode (3,5 or 10 photos) and also set a self-timer for 2 or 10 seconds. I had no problems using the app with my iPhone 5, it worked well, the only downside was I couldn’t use WiFi to connect to the internet whilst the app was in use.

Photos

These photos were taken with the DVR 794HD on the default setting of 5MP (just over ⅓ of the MP of the max possible quality) and I was happy with the picture quality and color balance. Because, like most action cams, the DVR 794HD has a wide angle lens (120 degrees) you will notice some curvature in the still pictures.

Vivitar county fair
vivitar horse

Video
This video was taken using the DVR 794HD on the default 1080P setting. It was in bright sunlight, the colors are good, I did also take some videos in a shaded woodland and here the colors are more muted. The video is a little shaky.

Viewing and Downloading Pictures and Video

The images can be viewed on your TV directly from the cam via a HTML cable. The action cam bundle includes a CD-ROM with the Vivitar Experience Image Manager software which can be installed on Windows or Mac computers if you have a CD-ROM drive. If prefer to keep all my pictures and video in iPhoto, so I downloaded them directly from the Micro-SD card my my Mac’s SD card slot (using the adapter included with the micro-SD card). They imported  into iPhoto from the card with no problems and required no special handling.

Price and availability

The DVR 794 HD V4 is available from Walmart and other retailers for approx $111.

Summary

I think the Vivitar DVR 794 HD V4 is a good starter action cam. It comes with a waterproof case, variety of mounts, rear viewfinder screen, WiFi and remote control which is good value for its price point. In bright sunlight the colors and picture quality are good. The video is a little shaky, but you can use image stabilization software or Youtube image stabiization to tidy it up. For a little over $100 I think it does a very good job and it is inexpensive enough that I am happy to let my kids use it too- I look forward to seeing the skiing videos they make with it next winter.

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).
The Case Logic Kontrast Action Camera Case- a Great Solution for Organizing Your #GoPro and Accessories

The Case Logic Kontrast Action Camera Case- a Great Solution for Organizing Your #GoPro and Accessories


Case-Logic_Kontrast_action-cam-case-environmental

Summary

The Kontrast Action Camera Case is a great option for organizing and carrying your GoPro and accessories, the moveable compartment dividers allow it to be adjusted to fit other action cams.. My favorite features are the padded, moveable compartment dividers, the tough waterproof base, and the detailed organizational features with lots of pockets, compartments and removable zippered pouch.

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

GroPro and other action cameras are very popular at the moment and there are huge numbers of accessories available for them. I bought my husband a GroPro for his birthday, and his solution was to carry it and its accessories in a cardboard box so I have been searching for a better solution! I found it in the Kontrast Action Camera Case from Case Logic.

The Kontrast is a very well designed case for organizing your GroPro, mounts, chargers, spare micro-SD cards and other accessories. It is black with neon green trim. The case has dual zippers which can be closed with a luggage lock for extra security.

It is a zip-up case with a padded carrying handle, quite compact in size at 10.6 x 3.7 x 6.9 in and weighing 0.79 lb. The outer case is made from black polyester material and it has a solid, waterproof base which is great for keeping everything dry when putting it down in wet or snowy environments.

CaseLogic Action Cam.2

Inside the main compartment is divided by padded barriers – these velcro in place so can be moved to whatever configuration works best for you. There is also a smaller zippered pouch that fits inside here and velcro’s in place. This is a great place to store charging cables, battery chargers and other small important items. Although the main case is black the lining and dividers are grey and bright green  making it much easier to spot things than with a black lining. Inside the lid there is also organized storage – with a long narrow zippered pocket and 2 smaller pockets with velcro closures perfectly sized for Micro-SD cards and readers.

CaseLogic Action Cam.3

Overall, the Kontrast Action Camera Case is a great option for organizing and carrying your GroPro and accessories, and the moveable compartment dividers allow it to be adjusted to fit other action cams. My favorite features are the padded, moveable compartment dividers, the tough waterproof base, and the detailed organizational features with lots of pockets, compartments and removable zippered pouch.

Available from  Case Logic, Amazon, B&H Photo, Fry’s Electronics and other retailers RRP $39.99

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

 

Case-Logic_Kontrast_action-cam-case

 

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

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