We’ve played with EE’s new 4G-ified Action Cam, which can live stream your life to friends and family wherever you can find a mobile connection, with plenty of appealing rugged features for lovers of the great outdoors.
EE just launched its latest connected device, a rugged action camera that can take a 4G SIM and stream photos and videos to your loved ones or the world in general. It’s a versatile little snapper that should definitely rival the likes of Go-Pro, complete with a solid range of accessories and a robust build – although it may live or die on mobile coverage.
The Action Cam is quite boxy and surprisingly weighty, but it won’t exactly ache your neck if you have it stuck on your bike helmet. The plastic frame feels suitably sturdy and boasts simplified controls. Up top you’ll find a shutter button that also selects options in the settings menu, while the power button doubles as a means of getting into the settings.
Besides that, you have a micro USB port and micro SD memory card slot on the right edge (cards up to 64GB are supported), plus a clip on the bottom to attach various mounts. The battery is removeable via a back flap, which is also where you’ll find the SIM card slot, safely buried away.
There’s no viewfinder on the EE Action Cam as it’s designed to be mounted on stuff and generally pointed in the direction you wish to film. However, you do get a little display up top which tells you how much power you have left, what shooting mode you’re in, how much signal you’ve got and so on. Cycling through the menus is pretty intuitive and we had the camera set up and adjusted to our liking in just a couple of minutes with no help.
The lens itself doesn’t retract, but it feels solid enough to survive a pounding and you can strap the camera into one of two bundled cases to make it even more rugged. The first is a rubber frame that adds extra shock protection, without bulking up the Action Cam too much or making the controls difficult to reach. The second is a waterproof case that completely surrounds the device and allows you to take the camera down 60 metres underwater, great news for scuba divers (although good luck getting 4G signal that far down).
EE’s camera can stream up to 1080p video (or 60fps video) live via apps such as EE’s own Skeegle, so your mates can watch you hurtle down a hill on your bike in real time. There’s a smartphone app for iOS and Ancroid which is suitably simple to use and allows you to control the camera with a quick tap, as well as check out the live feed. It’s best used by a nearby friend as you’re tackling some particularly dangerous manoeuvre, to keep your hands free.
However, EE has also kindly bundled a rugged watch with the Action Cam which performs much the same functions as the app. You can check out a live feed and quickly pause and record, just with a swift tap. The watch isn’t particularly attractive but it’s a solidly designed freebie that adrenaline junkies should appreciate.
EE is also releasing a bunch of accessories with the Action Cam, to be sold separately. These include a chest strap, helmet mount, bike mount, surf mount and of course the inevitable selfie stick. And if you already have Go-Pro accessories you wish to re-use, EE has bundled an adaptor with the Action Cam to do just that.
If you’ve been looking for a safe and rugged way to stream your exploits to the world, the EE Action Cam looks like a worthy solution. Of course, it all depends on how good the mobile coverage is in the area you wish to use it, or else the Action Cam loses its USP and finds itself on a level playing field with rivals such as the Go-Pro and Garmin range.
Check out our Action Cam launch piece for news on UK pricing and release date.