Exactly a year ago, Sony dove into the GoPro-like adventure camera market only to leave us wanting a little more from its tiny Action Cam. The new AS30V comes with a few new features, including GPS connectivity and higher-resolution 12-megapixel stills. Is that enough to finally make Sony's Action Cam a real competitor?
GPS is an important addition to Sony's Action Cam because it's still not available on the daddy of all action cameras, the GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition. A geolocation chip does come built-in to the awesome Contour+2 as well as the newly announced Garmin Virb.
As before—and as with other shooters—the Action Cam has only an itty-bitty on-board display so it really relies on a Wi-Fi connected device for monitoring. The camera now comes with NFC to make pairing with smart devices easier, and the company is promising a host of neat PlayMemories branded apps that will make use of the AS30V's GPS data.
Even though the new Action Cam is the same size and weight as its predecessor, Sony has trimmed down the included waterproof housing so that the overall package is 30-percent lighter. Sony accomplished this by cutting the Action Cam's waterproof rating from epic diver-depth to just five meters, saying that almost no one uses the action camera deeper than that.
Otherwise, we're looking at the same action camera as before. It stocks a 1/2.3-inch image sensor, a 170-degree, f/2.8 lens, and video recording at up to 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps. The 12-megapixel stills are indeed an improvement over the 2MP garbage the Action Cam produced before, but it's still not really a strong selling point for the Action Cam, which most people will primarily use for video.
The new AS30V ships next month for $300. For all you bargain hunters out there, last year's AS15V will remain on the market at a reduced $200 price tag.