While there are countless of news about GoPro losing it’s value, SJCAM seems to be gaining it. They have yet again come out with a new action camera. And this time their smallest one ever. It’s called the SJCAM M20. It’s main target is group is extreme sports enthusiasts who require a small and light camera that can be attached anywhere. Much like the GoPro Hero Session. Which is exactly why I’m really excited to review the SJCAM M20. I’m a huge fan of the Hero Session so it will be interesting to see how those two compare. But for now, just the M20.
- Dimensions: 48×40×37mm / 2.1×1.6×0.9″
- Weight: 55g / 1.9oz
- Sensor: Sony IMX206
- Chipset: Novatek 96660
- Field of View: 166°
- Video resolutions: 4K 24fps (interpolated); 2K 30fps; 1080p 60/30fps; 720p 120fps
- Bitrate: 60Mbps
- Photo: 16MP
- Modes: Single Shot, Burst, Timer, Continuous, Underwater, Car
- Features: WiFi, 1.5″ LCD screen, Digital Image Stabilization
- Ports: MicroUSB, MicroHDMI, MicroSD card slot
- Memory: MicroSD with Class 10 and SDXC cards, up to 128GB
- Battery life: 81 of 1080p at 60fps
- Price: $119
In The Box
- SJCAM M20 Action Camera
- Waterproof Housing up to 30m / 98ft
- Quick Release Buckle, Vertical Quick Release J-Hook buckle
- Handlebar Seat post mount
- Curved & Flat adhesive mounts
- 3-Way Pivot Arm mount
- Frame mount, Quick release clip for frame
- Univeral 1/4″ Camera Tripod mount, Tripod Mount adapter
- Cleaning cloth
- MicroUSB-USB Cable
Design & Accessories
As I mentioned before, the M20 is SJCAM’s smallest action camera. You can think of it as the Session for GoPro. In average it has similar dimensions but a totally different design and shape. You can probably tell that it’s not a cube from the size of 48×40×37mm / 2.1×1.6×0.9″. It kind of reminds me more of a dashcamera. Which it can also be used for as it has a car mode. But more about that later.
It’s smaller size if actually a huge advantage compared to their normal size SJ series. It’s small size and slim body make it a fantastic action camera for anyone looking to record extreme sports. You can mount it to even the tightest spots. It’s super light weight of 55g / 1.9oz also reduce the risk of the action camera flying off a moving object. For example you can easily attach it to a bicycle or even a motorbike.
So about the design, the action camera is made out of pretty standard plastic. Definitely nothing fancy or noteworthy about the materials used. Perhaps the “coolest” part is that you can choose between 7 different colors. So there is definitely a style for everyone. They have also added a ridged texture to the sides which really improves grip.
The front side has the lens and LED lights that let you know if you are recording or not. Back of the camera has the 1.5″ LCD screen. It’s just a plain screen that is used to view live feed and change settings. The left side has also got the buttons for navigating through the menu. One of the buttons is also used for turning on WiFi. Right side has all the ports and slots for MicroSD, MicroUSB and MicroHDMI. Top part two buttons, one for turning on the action camera and the other for recording. And finally the bottom side, which holds a compartment for the battery.
The SJCAM M20 comes with a waterproof case and plenty of different accessories. There is no tripod mount built into the action camera so you’ll need to use the case if you want to mount it. The accessories that you get with the camera are definitely enough to get started. The SJCAM M20 has also got a remote control available. However, you need to purchase that separately if you want one. Accessories are definitely SJCAM’s strong point.
Video & Features
First of all, I want to point out that the SJCAM M20 is a $119 action camera. This mean’s that don’t expect some insane video quality. Nor that it beats the GoPro Hero5 Session, that’s literally impossible. So the M20 action camera is able to record at a video resolution up to 4K at 24fps. Pay in mind that the so called 4K resolution has actually been interpolated from 2K. This means that the camera takes the 2K resolution and adds fake pixels to create the bigger 4K resolution. This is really typical for cheaper action cameras to do. If any action camera company claims to have 4K resolution and it’s cheaper than $150, then it’s fake and they use interpolated as well. So don’t be fooled by that.
Besides the interpolated 4K, there is also 2K at 30fps, Full HD 1080p at 60 and 30fps. There is also 720p at 120fps if you want to record something in slow motion. My main focus is on the Full HD 1080p as that’s the one I personally use the most. If you want 4K then I’d recommend looking at something more expensive.
For $119, the SJCAM M20 is fantastic. I really like the vibrant colors and if you take a look at the motorcycle, it’s crisp and sharp throughout the video. There is almost zero blur. So the action camera stays focused and that’s really good for a budget action camera. I also like how well it handles the sun, even when pointed directly at it, you can still see everything around. Some cameras have the footage go super dark, almost as if it’s night time. Video quality is definitely a thumbs up from me.
The SJCAM M20 is also packed with different shooting modes and features. For example, it has a digital image stabilization system which is pretty much a necessity on every action camera now. I’m really glad that it’s available on even the cheaper action cameras now. It does really help you capture smoother videos. PS! It only works with a resolution up to 1080p. A note worthy shooting mode would be the Car mode. The Car mode transforms your action camera into a dashboard cam. What it does is enable movement detection. It basically makes your action camera start recording whenever it notices movement.
As I mentioned before that the action camera settings can be changed from the LCD screen. You can also do that from your iOS or Android smartphone via the SJCAM ZONE app. Just enable the WiFi on the action camera and connect it to your smartphone. The app itself is really easy to use as SJCAM has been on the market for a while. You can also use your smartphone as a remote control to start recording from a distance.
If you are looking for a small action camera and don’t require 4K resolution, then the SJCAM M20 is an excellent choice. It’s cheap enough that you can mount it to anywhere you want and not have to worry too much about breaking it. And I do want to add that the SJCAM M20 is actually very durable as well. I have dropped it multiple times and nothing has happened to it. Apart from a few scratches on the body. So he M20 is the perfect action camera for anyone that does extreme sports.