Let me introduce you to Eken H6s – one of the recent action cams released by EKEN. The Chinese manufacturer has been around for a while. They established their reputation with H9 model which was one of our best cheap action camera picks. That particular model made the company famous and increased their sales substantially.
In this review, I will be taking a look at the H6s from a bit different perspective.
First I want to tell you is that EKEN just replaced the V series with the H series. After the recently reviewed Eken V8s, they launched this model, the H6s. As per curious coincidence, H6s is the direct sister of V8s, because both have almost the same hardware.
As mentioned, due to an incredible amount of similarities between the two models, I will be comparing these throughout this article quite a lot. It’s not entirely clear to me why they released this model with only minor cosmetic design changes and launched it as a completely new camera under a different name.
But more importantly, let’s see what this camera can do.
In order to judge the technical specs of the product, take a look at the table below.
- Image sensor
- Size (L x W x H)
- Max native image resolution
- Video resolutions
- Video compression format
- Image format
- Car camera
- Remote controller support
- Video Stabilization
- External Mic Support
- Eken H6S
- Ambarella A12S75
- Panasonic MN34110
- Weight: 66g (with battery)
5.93 x 2.14 x 4.11 cm
2.33 x 0.84 x 1.62 inches
2” Monitor + 0.95(back)
0.95” Status Screen (front)
- 14 megapixels
- up to 64GB
- USB, HDMI
As you can see from the table, the camera is just slightly different from its predecessor. The only difference in hardware is in its image sensor being changed.
Here is a list of accessories which come included in the camera package:
- 1x Camera with battery
- 1x Waterproof case
- 1x Tripod
- 1x Plastic Frame
- 2x Clip mount
- 2x 3M mount stickers
- 3x Screw mount
- 1x Handlebar mount
- 1x Remote Control
- 1x USB cable
- 1x Manual
It is quite common that a Chinese action camera brand includes plenty of additional accessories with the product. Quality of these additional mounts and frames can be questionable, depending upon the brand. The accessories included with Eken H6s are of good quality.
One thing I really like about Eken accessories is the fact that they began including a tripod as an accessory which comes in the package. That small addition makes this whole package quite complete, and will satisfy most of the needs of an average action camera enthusiast.
As you can see in a photo above, the package also includes a splash-proof remote control unit. The remote control will give you certain camera control. Pair it with a camera, and you will be able to perform basic operations, like recording a video or capturing a still image.
One more great accessory is the frame which allows you to attach a camera to a 1/4″ screw. In the photo above you can see how I used the frame to attach the camera to a tripod.
There is one problem with the frame. It does not have a hole for a USB cable. Which means that you will not be able to charge the camera when it’s inside a frame. This can be a problem for people capturing long time-lapse videos, where their camera needs to remain still and being charged at the same time.
Users can drill such a hole, of course, but I really do not understand how they “forgot” to provide a hole in the frame. It can’t be that expensive to do it, can it?
Design and Build quality
Well, the accessories are of a good quality – not so the camera itself. To the touch, it appears to have been made from the cheapest plastic on the market! It is also very light, feels almost empty. The color doesn’t help much with raising the enthusiasm, being kinda nondescript gray.
The buttons quality is good. Unfortunately there are only three of those, so at first, navigating the Menu you might find it a little bit confusing. Both monitors are clearly visible, also in the sunlight, but EKEN didn’t remember to include signal LEDs around their cameras. And that makes it IMPOSSIBLE to determine whether the camera is recording or not!
I felt forced to look at either of the two screens, and if I use the cam on my helmet, it’s pure lottery to know whether it is working or not. After few hours of usage, I found that the front screen always remains turned on! There is no option to turn it off, and it spells bad news for the battery life. Not good concept! This can possibly be fixed via future firmware upgrade.
As I already grumbled before, the Menu is a little bit quizzical. With only 3 buttons you can just select a certain option with “record button”, and Scroll down the list only with the “power” button. This sure is neither the best nor the quickest way to move around, but “fortunately” the Menu only offers a few settings anyway, so…
The first part of the menu is composed of quick modes, in this order:
- Time Lapse Video
- Time Lapse Photo
- Video Playback
- Photo Playback
In the Settings, we find the Main Menu, consisting of:
- Video Resolution: 4K 30/25fps – 2.7K 30fps – 1080p 30/60fps
- Photo Resolution: 14Mp (4320 x 3248)
- Video Interval: 1min/5min
- Looping Video: On/Off
- Time Stamp: Off/Date/Date&Time
- Exposure Value: +2.0/+1.7/+1.3/+1.0/+0.7/+0.3/0.0/-0.3/-0.7/-1.0/-1.7/-2.0
- Burst Mode: 3photos/1s – 7photos/2s – 15photos/4s
- Time Lapse Photo Interval: 3s/5s/10s/30s/60s
- Time Lapse Photo: On/Off
- Time Lapse Video Resolution: 4k/2.7K
- Time Lapse Video Interval: 500ms/1s/2s/3s/4s/5s/10s/15s/20s/30s/60s
- Power Frequency: 50Hz/60Hz/Auto
- Language: English / Traditional Chinese / Italian / Spanish / Portuguese / German / Dutch / French / Czech / Polish / Turkish / Russian / Japanese / Korean / Thai / Simplified Chinese / Finnish / Danish / Swedish / Norwegian / Hungarian / Slovakian / Greek
- Remote Control: On/Off
- Date & Time
- Sound Indicator
- Screen Saver: Off/1min/3min/5min
- Power Saver: Off/1min/3min/5min
- Version: (current Firmware being H6s STD_EKBK 20171030)
Overall, the Menu is quite easy to understand but I think it is too skinny. Probably it is only my impression, but there you are.
Prior to this model, I had other Eken cams; the H8R and the V8s, and so I can assure you that NOTHING has changed with this camera. The V8s had its lot of problems – and these are still in this model.
I do not need any further evidence that Eken didn’t make much progress with this model in terms of video quality. There’s zero progress in the software. The only hardware change is an image sensor, but in my test, it does not bring any performance improvements.
It seems to me that they did not invest much effort in this model. Everything is the same as in the previous series, except for some design and image sensor changes.
As always, I leave you to see for yourself by way of videos made at 1080p / 60fps, which for now is the most used resolution with almost all action cams.
And in the night, video quality becomes quite poor.
I don’t think you’d need any better-detailed comments, as it is clear that the camera suffers from a very very low-quality virus. If we take the car videos as examples, I couldn’t even read the license plate of the car in front of me! Honestly, I think it’s ridiculous.
The colors are quite good, but the rest is… well, uncommentable. Videos are neither clear nor sharp enough for the high standards the action camera market expects today.
The photo quality is a little bit better. If you crop the images severely, obviously these are not super detailed. Colors are good and it can manage the light levels well. Unfortunately, this is not only a photo camera. It’s not made for just this purpose, but it can still deliver some acceptable images. Here are several examples:
The sample camera I received had a “deafect”. Accidentally or not, my unit did not provide any sound output. I was unable to discover whether this is a hardware defect or a software bug. I contacted EKEN support, but after the first e-mail, nobody replied. If I get a reply from EKEN about the sound issue with this unit, I’ll update this part of the article.
Furthermore, I am unable to tell you whether this is an issue with my unit, or it happens with larger percentage of the H6s cameras. If you bought a H6s, please add your comment on the issue. It would be very helpful to know if it’s only a singular unit defect – or a serial glitch.
WiFi and App
This camera is provided with a built-in WiFi, so you can operate the camera using your smartphone. The range is quite good, about 3 or 4 meters. Should be enough to use in many situations. This connection is used only for Rec, Playback and Mode buttons – it has no more features. The app is maybe too unstable. Sometimes it will crash, and it’s not exactly the icon of speed, but it helps to change the settings without touching the camera.
One of the good things about Eken H6s is that they add a Remote Control device to their range of accessories. The RC could be very useful if you have the camera mounted in some position uncomfortable to reach. Also good, you can use it in the rain because it is splashproof – but do not take it along for a swim. By the way, the signal range is about 2 to 3 meters, and within said distance it is accurate.
These are the results of the battery tests I’ve made:
- 4K 30fps – 46 minutes (filesize 19,2Gb)
- 4K 25 fps EIS – 40 minutes (filesize 18,1Gb)
- 2.5K 30fps EIS – 70 minutes (filesize 14,4Gb)
- 1080p 60fps EIS – 81 minutes (filesize 17,6 Gb)
- 1080p 30fps EIS – 140 minutes (filesize 11,5Gb)
It takes about 130 minutes to recharge the completely flat battery. Which has quite a poor life as it is.
Frankly, I don’t know what the problem with EKEN is. It is a big company and they are trying to get on top of the market with, I think, new cameras. And yet, they are just making the same cameras with another name. It may be a good thing that these cameras are cheaper than other brands, but the performances are absolutely humble.
I can’t honestly find enough reasons to convince you to buy an Eken V6s cam. This was supposed to be an action cam! Everyone knows that such type of cameras is (or should be) built to work in extreme situations, but EKEN stubbornly strives to create a poor product.
Horrible video resolution, battery life lower than the average, flat uninteresting design, and deficiencies in every other aspect. And I don’t want to talk about the software… it seems a pre-compiled list glued into their products. Is there any need to even mention the complete absence of audio (input or output) in my review unit?
I wish the next EKEN camera will strongly show a better care for details and bring improvements. Meanwhile, check our recommended action camera list here.
- Good Accessories quality and range
- Acceptable App and Wifi
- Presence of a Remote Control Unit
- Horrible Video quality
- Poor Build design (absence of LEDs)
- Use of cheap plastics
- Spartan choice of Menu options
- Problem with the sound (I hope it is an isolated case)