Did you know there are other action cams besides GoPro? It's true! And some of them are actually quite good. One such device is the Sony Action Cam. It provides an alternative look and feel for those first-person videos, and now there's a smaller, lighter version in the form of the new Action Cam Mini.
The Mini has most of the same specs as the previous Action Cam, the AS-100v, but in a body that is 30 percent smaller and weighs only 2 oz. It shoots 1080p video at 30 or 60 frames-per-second, or 720p video at 120 fps. The Mini can take 12 megapixel stills, just like the older Action Cam. It's got the same Steadyshot Zeiss lens, and the same Bionz X processor. There is actually one improvement in the Mini's specs over the regular Action Cam; it records video with the new X-AVC S codec, which should make for cleaner, higher quality footage.
For the water-seekers out there, you'll be glad to know that the Action Cam Mini is splash-proof without an additional case. That means you shouldn't take it underwater necessarily, but a rainstorm will not ruin your investment. For deeper submergences, the cam is bundled with a waterproof case that will survive up to 5 meters beneath the surface of your favorite body of water.
As with most miniaturizations, the controls had to be re-tooled for the Mini. The Action Cam's large LCD display has been downsized in favor of a teeny-tiny one on the Mini. But Sony really would rather you use its View Remote anyway, which straps to your wrist and provides live previewing, full controls, and even playback of recorded clips.
The Action Cam Mini on the left, the original Action Cam on the right
The biggest sacrifice in the Action Cam Mini is the battery life. When using the camera with WiFi turned on and paired with the Live View Remote, you will get a paltry 70 minutes of record time. Yikes. Without Wi-Fi, that will get bumped significantly, but still. The larger version of the Action Cam would run for at least a couple of hours before dying.
Expect the Action Cam Mini to ship in October for $250 bundled with the waterproof case and a tripod mount. If you want it with the Live View Remote, it will cost you $350, which is $100 less than buying the two separately.