The Eken H8R action camera is part of Eken’s H-series of 4K Ultra HD cameras. My colleague Pavle, founder and Editor-in-Chief of Pevly, tested their H9 camera, another (nominal) 4K model, earlier this year and had quite a favorable impression. He said it’s “one of the best cheap beginners action cameras” and included it on his list of Best Action Cameras. My H8R was selling for about $8o to $100 in the US (around 71€ to 89€) at the time of this test but the retail list price is $136 (around 121€).
At those prices is the H8R as good a value as its $49 (about 44€) H9 sibling? Does it deserve equally high praise? Read on for the answers to those questions and many more.
The H8R is a dual-screen camera. In addition to the 2-inch LCD screen on the back of the camera it has a smaller, front-facing status screen that displays basic information including battery status, WiFi On/Off, mode, video resolution, frame rate and the count of the duration of the video or remaining photos.
The camera has a Sony IMX078 image sensor and a Sunplus 6350 image processor. The “R” designation in the H8R model number indicates that a 2.4 GHz wireless remote control is included.
The specifications according to Eken are:
- Image sensor
- Max image resolution
- Max Video resolution
- Video compression format
- Image format
- Photo time-lapse
- Video time-lapse
- Car camera
- Remote controller
- External Mic
- Video Stabilization
- Eken H8R
- Sunplus 6350
- Sony IMX078 12 MP
- 6 glass
- Weight : 66 grams / 2.32 ounce
- (L*W*H) 59.3*21.4*41.1 mm
- 2" LCD 240 x 320
- 12 megapixels
- Video Resolutions : 1080p @30FPS, 1080p @60FPS, 2.7K @30FPS, 4K @30FPS
- Image format : JPEG
- USB, HDMI
- 2s / 5s / 10s
If you want to see what’s inside the box check out this unboxing video!
This box is rich with accessories. It contains:
- 1x Camera
- 1x Waterproof case
- 1x Handle bar mount
- 7x Screw mount
- 1x Clip mount
- 1x Plastic case mount
- 2x Helmet mount (3M)
- 4x Bandages
- 1x Battery
- 1x Lens cloth
- 4x Tethers
- 1x Metal tether
- 1x Protective backdoor
- 1x USB cable
- 1x Wall charger
Design and Build Quality
The Eken H8R has a good design. It’s has a beautiful look and feel and seems very well built. All around the camera there is the classic anti-slip surface and on the front the plastic is completely matt with a rubbery feel. Personally I love it!
There are three buttons and all of them are big enough to fit your fingers perfectly. They also have a good mechanical “click” sound when you press them followed by a “beep” from the internal speaker.
The resistance is perfect – in fact it’s impossible to accidentally press them.
The battery space is so precise that you can use it without the door because the battery is hard to pull out even with your hand. During my tests I noticed that if it’s been on for a long time it heats up enough to burn your fingers around the SD card slot the screen gets very hot.
This is probably because it is so compact. I suggest that you don’t use it for too long time continuously, like a dash cam for instance, because it might actually melt some parts of the camera.
Buttons, Lights and Ports
As you can see, the Eken has only three buttons. Let’s make a list of them and some other external features:
- Shutter / Selection Button
- Main Screen
- WiFi Button
- Power / Mode Button
- Status Screen
- Micro USB Port
- Micro SD Slot
On the Main Screen you can see:
- Remaining Rec Time / Remaining Photos
- Recording Time / Amount of Photos
- Battery Status
On the status screen you can see:
- Rec Time / Amount photos
- WiFi on/off
- Battery status
Both screens are easy to see. The main screen might be a little less so in full light but the status screen is also a color display and easy to read in all lighting conditions.
As you can see the Eken H8R doesn’t have ANY LED’s. I think this is a very stupid design choice because you can’t tell if the camera is recording or not or if it’s recharging or not. Depending of your position or distance from the camera you can’t understand what it’s doing! It has an “auto switch off screen” to turn off the main screen automatically after 1, 3 or 5 minutes. When the screen is off, from the back of the camera you don’t even know if it’s still working so you’re forced to click something to check.
The battery door and the battery slot are very precise components. In fact the battery is hard to remove (the trick is to move it left and right a few times)
The waterproof case has a defect, or rather the case by itself is well built but the gasket is not perfectly aligned with the plastic case. I doubt it would remain watertight under pressure at diving depths. I made a test in my sink and it works great, but 20 cm of water is not enough to test the full performance at depth.
The navigation of the Eken H8R camera is intuitive and easy to understand. It’s divided into two parts: a quick modes part that can be reached just by pressing the “mode” button; and the settings part, where you change all the settings of the camera from the format to the Time lapse. Let me show you these parts:
- Video – Record Video
- Photo – Capture a single photo
- Burst Photo – Shoot 3 photos in a raw
- Time lapse – Shoot a series of photos at set time intervals
- VR 360 – Record VR 360 Video
The second menu has this interface:
- Video Playback
- Photo Playback
In the settings you can find:
- Video Resolution – 1080p (60FPS), 1080p (30FPS), 2.7K (30FPS), 4K (30FPS)
- Photo Resolution – 12MP (4608×2592), 8MP (3760×2120), 5MP (2976×1672)
- Looping Video – On/Off
- Metering – Center/Multi/Spot
- Time Stamp – Off/Date/Date & Time
- Exposure – 0, ±0.3, ±0.7, ±1.0, ±1.3, ±1.7, ±2.0
- Burst Photo – On (3 photos)
- Time Lapse – 2s, 3s, 5s, 10s, 20s, 30s, 60s
- Continuous Lapse – On/Off
- Power Frequency – 50Hz/60Hz/Auto
- Language – Dutch, Hungarian, Polish, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese, German, Simplified Chinese
English, French, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Traditional Chinese
- Date & Time
- Sound Indicator – Shutter (On/Off), Start-up (Off/1/2/3), Beep (On/Off), Volume (0/1/2/3)
- Upside Down – On/Off
- Screen Saver – Off/1min/3min/5min
- Power Saver – Off/1min/3min/5min
[phpzon keywords=”Eken H8r camera” num=”4″ country=”US” trackingid=”pevly0d-20″ templatename=”columns” columns=”4″]
The Eken H8R can record videos in 1080p @30 and 60FPS, 2.7K @30FPS and 4K @30fps. The reason it can’t record videos at 720p is a mystery. Before anything else let me warn you that the sensor of this camera is not a real Sony sensor but a fake and is not able to record videos at 4K – the 4K videos are interpolated!
(Interpolated video means that the camera invents pixels to reach a determined resolution but obviously it’s false.) Moreover the 4K doesn’t really record at 30fps but only 15fps at a double frame rate. In other words the frames are not 1,2,3,4,5….28,29,30 but 1,1,2,2,3,3,4,4,5,5…13,13,14,14,15,15. On the other hand the 2.7K works fine.
The video quality of the Eken is not what I expected. The colors are quite good, maybe too saturated but still true to life, but the sharpness is near zero. As you can see with this screenshot, it’s impossible to read the license plate of the car on front of me even though it’s only 4 to 5 meters distant. I think the compression algorithm is the problem because the photos look great as I’ll show you later.
Videos recorded by the Eken are really bad. Also it has no Gyro stabilization – you can see every movement. As you can see in this video there is a lot of shaking. It’s partly my doing but you can compare the video below with the Amkov 7000S.
I spent a lot of time with the Eken as a dash camera and noticed that it’s a little bit slow adjusting to a change of brightness. For example when you exit from a tunnel it takes 2 to 3 seconds before it resets to the best exposure. In backlight conditions it works very well, but in the dark it’s not the best. In fact as you can see in these videos, there isn’t enough viewing distance to understand what’s going on around you. It’s a little bit better with a fully lit road.
Let me say a couple words about the VR 360 Mode. Why the hell does it exist? No really, it’s just a horrible mode that records videos in 4:4 with a strange resolution (1440×1440) at 30FPS. The vertical angle of view is noticeably greater than a normal video but that’s it. I leave you with two comparison frames.
As I said before the photos look great. It’s strange to make good photos with an action camera because they’re made more for video recording. I compared the Eken’s photos with those of my smartphone and the Eken’s look better! All these photos are 12MP (real 12MP, not interpolated).
As you can see in this photo the resolution and sharpness are very very good. You can easily zoom in without losing too much detail.
This photo was made in a complete back-light condition and it looks great.
These two photos are made in full light condition. The colors might lack a bit of saturation. I noticed that in this condition there is a strange white “veil” all over the photos – like a light haze or fog – possibly a reflection on the lens.
And this is one of the best photos I’ve ever made. It was completely random.
I really love how this camera works shooting photos.
The audio of a camera is no less important than the video because without good audio even a beautiful video falls flat. The audio of the Eken at low-medium volume is quite good but with a medium-high volume it starts to distort hugely making the camera unusable.
In general the camera captures mostly low frequencies but it misses high frequencies. This problems is annoying if you want to record a conversation. These three videos are with a low, medium-high and very high volume:
And this is what can you hear in a normal restaurant. There’s too much low frequency and you can’t hear my order being taken even though I was next to the camera.
Battery and Memory Performance
These are the results of my battery test:
- 4K – 106 Minutes (46Gb)
- 2.7K – 91 Minutes (37Gb)
- 1080p 60FPS – 81 Minutes (13Gb)
- 1080p 30 FPS – 92 Minutes (9Gb)
Recharging Time – I don’t know exactly how much time it takes because the Eken has no recharging indicator, probably it’s about 1-1/2 hours.
Note that the camera can read a maximum 32GB SD card but no larger. I don’t know why Eken made the decision to limit the maximum card size to 32GB. Personally I think it’s stupid.
WiFi and Remote Control
The Eken H8R like a lot of other cameras has WiFi (with its own app for Android and iOS) and a Wrist Remote Control. I must say that this is the best WiFi connection in a camera I’ve ever had. The Wifi and app are completely perfect! It has good range, about 3 to 4 meters, and the app is very stable – it never crashed. The app looks like this:
- Playback Photo/Video
- Photo Mode
- Record Video/Shoot Photos
- Video Mode
- Options (There is only white balance)
There’s little lag and the app reacts quickly when you touch your smartphone screen.
The remote control is the same as the app – it’s impeccable! Every click results in quick action.
[phpzon keywords=”Eken H8r” num=”4″ country=”US” trackingid=”pevly0d-20″ templatename=”columns” columns=”4″]
The Eken H8R has great WiFi and remote control connections and an incredible amount of accessories. It also has good battery life for a double screen camera. It can shoot really good photos with great details but it misses the main point of an action camera: the videos.
The sham claim of 4K at 30fps, the lack of gyro stabilization and the complete absence of details in its videos all mean it misses the mark. You can buy it for about $80 to $100 (around 71€ to 89€) but honestly for this amount of money you can buy something better.
26 August 2016 Update:
They added with a firmware update ( V. 160615LY ) the resolution 720P @120FPS
Where to buy Eken H8R?
Here are few links where you can get this camera :
“You can buy it for about $80 to $100 (around 71€ to 89€) but honestly for this amount of money you can buy something better.”
Fair enough – can I ask what you would recommend in its place? With a similar mount?
It’s hard to recommend something because i don’t know what you want to do with this kind of cameras. Because if you use it in the night maybe it’s better choose something that allow you to see something more with dark conditions, or if you use it under water maybe it’s better buy something that allow you to reach deeper places. It’s depend of what do you want from the camera. Generally speaking i can recommend you 3 cameras like this: Amkov 7000S, Eken H9 and the Xiaomi Yi, But you must choose which one is better for you.
What if i am to record videos of myself playing piano or a saxophone ?
Hey what would you personally say is better comparing H9r and H8r in all the features and the price as well ?
Im also waiting for the answer.
EKEN H8R also makes 720p/30, 720p/60, 720p/120
Also microSD with 64GB and 128GB are okay!
I’m going to search for a firmware upgrade because mine can’t to that. Thanks for the info!
I just made the upgrade, they add the resolution 720p @120fps but not 60 and 30fps.
So does does the H8R capable of using micro SD over 32GB?
You can use max 32Gb. My camera didn’t work with 64GB, but i must check if there are new updates, i will keep you updated
Thanks for the review.
How was the footage of the 2K video? Is that also interpolated, and doubled up frame rates (15 fps x2 = 30fps)?
No, the 2K seems ok. It’s not interpolated and framed up.
The firmware can be updated in order to improve the camera’s performance, video capabilities etc… Ron Shaw who runs this group knows his stuff! https://www.facebook.com/groups/1721251831425533/
Comparing H9R and H8R, which one you prefer? Especially for video and imahe quality, battery life time and others features? .
Eken H9R without doubts, it is better in almost every aspect!
This is great, but I found another good camera, it’s AKASO EK7000 4K wifi sports action camera, low price and good quality, you can go to look at it, then you can do a different review,it will be great.
It could be a good camera. Thanks for the info!
Why I can only record maximum 10 min? ? I only can record 5 min on 4K mode and 10 min on HD mode.
Because this camera as a lot of others has by default max 10 minutes recording. With 4K is limited because it is too “heavy” for the camera. It is common with these kind of cameras
Are you sure you have tested a real eken h8 and not a fake one?
I’ve seen videos on the tube which are on par with the gopro 4
Why do you state that the sensor is not a real sony?
Can I add a external microphone to the eken h9? I cannot find the right cable for it. I use a rode shotgun mic on my other camera’s but I would like to use it to on my eken h9.
Eken H9 does not support external microphone.
Bought the H8r for Vietnam trip. At first I wasn’t expecting much from it, but it turn out to be good, more than my expectation.
The menu system was a bit slow to navigate and go through, worst part when playing back videos or photos, it took 100 button press to get where u want to. The remote helps alot i highly suggest to buy the package with remote, it makes recording and shooting alot easier.
1080p 30fps sharpen in Sony Vegas some clip stabilized. Compress to 720p
Please i need some help!
i will buy new action camera for first time and i saw alot of videos for quality and finally I like Eken the range price is work with me. but now i don’t know what to choose H8r or H9!?
What is better in video quality, photo, life battery!?
Well you have both of them reviewed on this site. Since it was reviewed by different people it’s very hard to answer your question. Unfortunatelly you’ll have to read both reviewed and perhaps few more YouTube videos, compare samples and decide yourself Ibrahim.
i confius witch one i want buy… H8R or sjcam m20 witch one better?
the reason there is a VR360 video mode is that it is the only way too give you a vertical fov >90 degree that is required if you want to put them in a 6 camera VR setup configuration.
Eken H8r / H8 is not true 4k; they are just interpolating 1080p (doubling the resolution digitally) to create 4k.
2.7k is also just 15fps duplicated (saw that on premiere pro by passing frame per frame). What i don’t know is if its interpolated or progressive, any known about that?
How to Zoom,, thanks
I read review u wrote about h8r, h9, and sj 6 legend.
Is it correct if I conclude that for PHOTO only, H8R is the best between those 3. Since i want to buy an action cam and mainly i’ll use to take photo (during hiking). Tq if u can reply my message and give some opinion)
The H9 is definitely behind H8R and SJ6 when it comes to photo quality. I’m sure no matter which one you go with, you’d be satisfied, provided that your expectations of photo quality in action cameras is realistic.
I recommend that you download uncompressed photo samples which we have for each of the cameras in their reviews.
Anyse Joslin says
My Elkin remote does NOT work at all. The camera has the current firmware update. I use a program on my iPhone and it is great, as it connects to the camera via wifi. However, I am wondering if there is a particular mode that the camera has to be in for the remote control to work. Maybe, I got a bad one.
Also, I have noticed in numerous Elkin H8R video reviews that the batteries are usually dead on arrival! Mine certainly was and, after putting in a new battery, pressing the button yielded the “red light” on the remote.
So, am i doing something wrong here?
Why does my H8R has lines on the screen. Thank you
So this Eken H8R work great?
i need use this to do my motorcycle recorder.