Field test and review
Hiking is about getting away from technology. Stuffing everything you need to survive for a day or few days into your pack and disappearing into the bush is as much about breaking free of the daily Instagram grind as it is about pushing yourself physically and connecting with nature. And while there’s certainly something to be said for really roughing it, there’s no rule that demands you give up all the creature comforts of modern living to enjoy hiking.
These days though it is almost impossible to escape into the bush without at least one, two or even more tech gadgets in your pack. For me, I always carry a GPS, my iPhone (for taking photos as well as a backup GPS, running topographical mapping apps), a headlamp, a battery power bank and of course, a PLB.
There are so many high-tech hiking gadgets available that help you enjoy your time on the trail that we really are spoilt for choice. There are solar powered lanterns, high-tech headlamps, portable espresso machines, high-tech stoves, gps watches, digital cameras, and a range of portable power solutions.
I recently received two high-tech gadgets from a company called Elinz, an online electronics store based in Australia. They sell a large range of electronic products for both everyday use and hiking.
Whenever I head out on a hike, I love to record my journey. I take photos, write notes and record gpx files. One reason I enjoy recording my all my journeys is so I can share them with you. It is the reason this site was born.
Elinz 4K/60FPS UHD Sports Action Camera
A few years ago, I ventured into the sports action camera market and bought myself a GoPro. The main reason for this is my wife and I were heading to Tonga with the sole purpose of swimming with Humpback Wales. I’d love to tell you all about this adventure as it was certainly one of those amazing lifetime events, but I won’t hijack this review with my vacation tales. The reason I mention this trip is that the GoPro was the reason I have never used a sports action camera since. There was something faulty about this one and for some reason, once I turned it on, I could not turn it off without removing the battery and reinserting it. So, on a holiday where we were swimming with Humpbacks all day and spending time in and out of the water, the battery drained quickly as the camera was on constantly. I couldn’t keep taking it in and out of the case every time we entered and exited the water and as a result, we missed capturing a few amazing encounters as the battery always died while under the water.
So, on receiving the Elinz 4K/60FPS UHD Sports Action Camera I was somewhat skeptical about using this device to record my memories. That’s was until I opened the well-presented package that it arrived in. Wow, there were so many attachments in there I didn’t know what to pick up first. I couldn’t possibly name all the parts correctly or understand their use so I have extracted the list from Elinz’s website, just so you have an understanding of how generous this package is for the price.
- 1x User Manual
- Waterproof Case
- fixed base, switch support and commutator
- 4K/60FPS Action Camera
- Remote Control
- Helmet Pedestal
- 2x 1050mah Battery (yep, that says 2 batteries)
- Australian socket Charger
- 3M Mat
- Cleaning Cloth
- Battery dock Charger
- 1x Power Cable / 1x Data Cable
- Camera Bag
Compare this to the GoPro where you buy the camera and everything else is optional and I am sure you will agree, this is a value package in terms of what items you get for your money. But I know that the number of accessories is not the only thing that determines value. It is the quality of the camera that really counts.
Here are a few product highlights:
- 4K Ultra HD Resolution
- Built-in WiFi
- Sony Imaging Sensor
- Electronic Image Stabilization
- Wrist Remote Control
- Time Lapse
- Waterproof (to 30m in the supplied case)
- Two Batteries & Dual Battery Charger
- Slow Motion
- Wide-Angle View
- Loop recording
- 264 Video Compression
- HDMI Output
The camera itself looks very similar to a GoPro or any other sports action camera on the market for the matter, and really, what else do you produce when you are designing a small, potable camera. A rectangular box with a lens, battery and controls. Elinz 4K is a lot lighter than the GoPro and the perception of quality is pretty much in line price tag of this camera. The user controls and power/device connections are all easily accessible. Removing the battery cover did initially present a challenge as I felt like I was going to break the battery cover when trying to open it. One opened, I realised I was going about things the wrong way so the second time around wasn’t so challenging. I think the battery access door design could be improved given you will be opening and closing this access door regularly. I felt lucky I didn’t break it in my attempts.
A lot of later model sports cameras are waterproof without an additional waterproof case, this one isn’t but I prefer that as out of the case, the buttons and connections are a lot easier to access. I would probably always use this camera in the case as the camera body does seem quite thin and I would hate to crack it while scrambling up a rock face.
The Elinz 4K doesn’t have a touch sensitive screen as some camera do. You operate this camera by accessing the power button on the front, an OK button on top (this button serves a few purposes) and ‘up’ and ‘down’ buttons on the side. These buttons also perform multiple functions with the up button activating the WiFi connection to the app and the down button activating sound recording. Reading the guide first is certainly recommended to understand all the control functions or you may just find yourself limited in what you think the camera can do.
As mentioned earlier, there are a whole range of mounting options including head-mount, wrist-mount, helmet-mount and chest-mount so I am certain you will find a mountain style that suits your style of adventure.
Recording with the Elinz was straight forward and didn’t require a lot of manual reading. Simply hold down the power button for a few seconds until the camera powers up. Then press OK, to record. To stop recording, press OK again. Pretty simple. To switch between still and video mode, you press the power button quickly. Holding the power button down will power off the device. The camera menus are also easy to follow, and you can easily step through all of the settings.
To connect the camera to your phone, download the XDV PRO app and connect via WiFi. Unfortunately, the app doesn’t give access to all the camera settings, so you’ll still have to drill into the camera menus to find all the settings you want. Would be nice if you could change settings via the app and sync them to the camera.
This is a fixed lens, portable action camera so you do only get one choice of lens width; 170 degrees. A wide angle like this will always give you a slight fisheye effect so I wouldn’t expect the same image integrity you would from your phone or digital camera. For the HD buffs; the camera records in 4K 60fps, 4K 30fps, 2.7k 30fps and then down to 1080p and 720p at anything from 120fps down which provides you with plenty of options.
The wrist remote is a great addition and it allows the camera to be operated remotely. Perfect for solo or group hikes where you want to be in the picture.
Looking at the Elinz website, this camera looks like it really packs a punch in terms of versatility. The applications for using this camera are really limited by your imagination. I know you are probably asking ‘well how did it perform?’
I am not a professional photographer or video professional so I can’t go into technical detail about the image performance. But I do have eyes and what I see, I am really happy. The 4K video footage seemed crystal clear, so much so that I couldn’t believe that it came out of the tiny black box. Even in low light, the camera worked extremely well at controlling the exposure in both capture modes.
The Elinz 4K/60FPS UHD Sports Action Camera is a great camera that provides a ton of features for very little outlay. At $122, this camera provides an excellent entry point into sports action cameras. Perfect for anyone wanting to record their outdoor adventures.
Maxxlee 20000mAh Portable Power Bank
Whether you’re camping or hiking, you’re likely to bring at least one electronic device with you. Taking electronic devices in the wilderness might contradict your reasons for heading out there in the first place but let’s face it, we don’t seem to be able to live without them.
On day hikes, power banks possibly don’t provide any benefit but for multi-day hikes they have almost become a necessity. Power banks (also referred to as portable chargers) can charge your portable devices while you’re on the move. Some even come with solar panels to charge the charger. There are literally hundreds on the market and everyone’s device charging needs will vary so do your research before purchasing the best solution for your hiking needs.
I have been happy so far with the Portable Power bank that Elinz sent me to test. At 20000mAh it is able to easily keep my phone and wrist GPS charged over several days in a single charge. When charging my iPhone alone, I managed to charge it seven times (from flat) before the power bank needed a recharge. Once flat, the recharge process took close to ten hours.
The power bank is quite heavy (378g) compared to the 10000 mAh pack that I generally use but that is obviously a result of 20000mAH output capacity. The size of the power bank renders it too large to carry in your pocket but at 164(l)x81(w)x18(h)mm it will fit easily in your pack. The charge output is 5V/2.5A across 3 USB outputs and supports 2.5A fast charging. This is great f you carry a few devices that you need to keep charged.
This power bank features simultaneous charging and discharging capabilities that allow you to charge handheld devices while being charged. It’s also equipped with various safety features which ensure that you will be able to charge your device without any worries of it overcharging or short circuiting.
There are a lot of power banks on the market for a range of applications. If you are looking for a high capacity power bank at an affordable price, then check this one out. As I have only just received this power bank, I cannot quote on performance life but I will update this review if the performance changes.
Field Tested by
Darren Edwards > www.trailhiking.com.au