The GoPro Hero4 Black action camera has been on my wish list for some time now, and I’m one of those people who have been drooling over it since it was released a little while ago. I do not do skydiving or scuba diving, nor do I snowboard, nor do I surf. At US$500, it is a bit on the high side for someone who doesn’t do many activities that would benefit from the high-definition video. In any case, I was intrigued when I heard about Vivitar’s much less expensive Wi-Fi enabled action camera the DVR794HD (£75.99, US$99), and quite happy when they offered my review units, even though it’s not yet available Check out the DVR794HD in the Apple ecosystem to see how it works (or doesn’t).
The DVR794HD is tiny – 62 x 40 x 32 mm, just 2.44 x 1.57 x 1 inch. That’s not unusual for action cameras. The bare camera weighs just 2.8 ounces (79.4 grams) with the battery installed. Vivitar ships it with a clear plastic waterproof housing because an action camera would not be complete without water resistance. They do not include one necessity – a MicroSD card that is used to store photos and videos. You can also attach a helmet mount to capture your skydiving adventure and heliskiing, as well as mount your bike to capture your mountain bike ride through the woods. In contrast, the SD cards are quite inexpensive, with class 10 cards selling these days for less than $25 on Amazon. Setting up the camera is easy you simply plug the battery pack into the back of the unit, wait for a small blue LED to go out, and then your camera is ready. This waterproof case fits easily on the phone, and it comes with a snap-on lock that keeps it secure. A case like that is good to 30 meters (about 100 feet), so you shouldn’t have any issues taking a dip in a swimming pool or
In fact, cameras like these are intended to be able to shoot video that is incredible from a wide angle. A fixed focus 2.9 mm lens at F3.1 is readily available on the DVR794HD, so there is no question it It is fairly straightforward to use the controls. The power button and a button for connecting to the camera from an iOS device with the free Action Cam app can be found on one side of the camera. You can also use the button at the top to toggle between video and still photography, and start or stop video when you want to take a In addition to the tiny LCD display in the camera, there is no other display. A small icon that indicates video/photo mode, battery capacity, and the remaining time for a filming session shows if the camera was on or off. There are almost microscopically small icons that show when the camera was on or off. It says the 64 GB microSD card will give me 11 hours and 3 minutes of shooting capacity (although the battery won’t last that long), but when I looked at the display it just showed 1 minute. Additionally, on the other side of the DVR794HD is the microSD card slot, an external microphone port, a micro-USB port for charging and an HDMI port for viewing the output directly. To turn the camera on, simply press and hold Approximately five seconds is what I mean by long-pres. You can hear a barely audible beep when the camera is turned on, and the LCD shows that it is on. When you press the Wi-Fi button, the camera’s Wi-Fi light will begin to blink on and off, and you’ll be able to stream videos over the network. A steadily red light appears on the Wi-Fi light when you select the camera (ActioncamXXXXXXX) in the Wi-Fi settings. The iPhone 6 Plus did not display the usual Wi-Fi icon on my iPhone 7 Plus when connected to the DVR794HD. It appeared, however, that the camera was successfully connected when I opened the Action Cam app. The camera sent me an instant image of what it was seeing after I pressed the button. A toggle for switching between video and photo modes is at the bottom of the screen. There is also a red record button, a time remaining indicator, and some controls for setting white balance and resolution.
This software was of relatively little use to me However, the Wi-Fi connection dropped out on a regular basis, so the app cannot be used as a remote control. There is only one thing it would be useful for setting the resolution, since the only way to accomplish this manually is to repeatedly press the power/mode button to display those tiny icons on the LCD display. Although WiFi was enabled and actually working properly, the battery indicator on the camera sometimes still showed a low battery, even if power had just been plugged in. Could you please suggest something? Use the Internet but not the WiFi. This is simply pointless since iOS app is terrible and connectivity is an issue. Around this time, I also began seeing issues with the app and camera. There have been occasions when the camera has totally locked up to the point that it has had to be reset by removing the battery pack. A device would sometimes shut itself off when it was idle. It looks like an auto-power saving mode, but there’s no way to set the time for the automatic power-off. This makes the iOS app pretty useless does it have Mac software, aka “The Vivitar Mobile Experience?”? The brilliant minds at Vivitar have included an installation CD, which proves how out of touch they are with There have been no optical drives included with Macs for years, and none of them can read the “mini-CD” that came along with them. I also found the Vivitar website to be less than helpful – without even listing the DVR794HD as a current model, and with no software available for download in the scanty online support forum. The search engine wasn’t much help, since the majority of the links to Vivitar Experience Image Manager software for Mac actually went to Windows download sites or to questionable sites that I could not even see the point of downloading anything from. It is available for iPad, but I chose not to download it just out of spite at the moment. However, there was a way I could get the photos off the camera and onto my Mac – the microSD card had an adapter I could use. What are the pros and cons of the DVR794HD? Starting out, all images – whether video or still – are going to be highly distorted because wide angle lenses have a wide field of view. I can understand that, since you want to use the device on a helmet or bicycle to get action videos by the way? Images taken with this camera are small – 400 x 300 pixel – so they won’t be viewed on large screens. Images on the iPhone 6 Plus are about 8 MP and have a resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels. It is not a guarantee that good photos will come from high resolution. When images were taken with the DVR794HD, the grainy images and different colors masked the actual scene, and the shutter speeds were quite slow in some instances, so handheld shots were distorted. A portion of two images (scaled according to the page size, of course) of the same subject taken under similar lighting conditions are shown here. Here are a few facts about
The DVR794HD photo still looks like something I would have shot with my first camera phone from the early 2000s, despite all the additional pixels. Do you have any thoughts on Two short clips were captured under the same lighting conditions from the same spot. Here are a few facts about
You are right the iPhone 6 Plus cannot act like an action camera. The camera is not as good as a video camera, however. The iPhone 6 Plus shows less distortion, and the iPhone 6 Plus reacts to changes in light intensity much faster. The colors are also far more real than those in
The Vivitar DVR794HD is yet another example of “You get what you pay for”, and its $99 price tag should not entice you to purchase this action camera, unless you want to give it as a Christmas present. I cannot recommend the DVR794HD due to poor image quality, bad Wi-Fi connectivity, a very limited iOS app, no Mac app, the occasional lock-up and/or shutdown, and an on-device display that practically requires a magnifying glass to decipher. There is an infrared remote, bike and helmet mounts, and a waterproof case, so I will award it a half-star if that is all you need. The entry-level GoPro Hero will make you much happier, even without Wi-Fi, if you truly want to shoot action videos. For $30 more, you can get a GoPro Hero, which is exactly what you need if you want to shoot action videos.