After the release of SJ4000 Plus, a boosted version of their most popular camera SJ4000, SJCAM, manufacturer of low-budget action cameras from China, launched a new model – SJCAM M10+, a cube-shaped action cam.
SJCAM M10+ (Plus), is an advanced version of M10 camera which was originally launched in 2014. Thanks to its cubic form, it is considered as a GoPro Session low-budget alternative. Compared to its predecessor, it can take videos in 2K (2560 x 1440) at 30fp and full HD 1080p in both 60 and 30 frames per second. Camera has a built in WiFi which allows remote control via the smartphone App.
Biggest improvement besides better video to its forerunner is gyro video stabilization. Gyro is a tiny piece of hardware that removes shakiness from the video in similar way digital stabilization does.
Even though in the specs SJCAM says camera has 12 megapixels still image resolution, that is an incorrect statement. SJCAM M10 Plus has a 4 megapixelOV4689 image sensor inside, so anything higher than that is interpolated. But lets talk about that a bit later.
With all its pros and cons, twice higher the price of the basic M10 model, and now only 50$ cheaper compared to a Session 4 from GoPro , is this little fella worth buying?
That’s what I am here to help you discover. I have been recording with this camera for few weeks now, and in this post, I will review it from the ground up.
SJCAM M10+ (Plus) 2K Gyro Specifications
Reading about the camera and its features is fun, but the only certain way to know what you are buying is to look at technical specification of a product. I created a table which show all the specs of this camera.
- Chipset : Novatek 96660
- Image Sensor: OV4689 COMS
- Lens : Wide Angle: 170 degree
- Focus Range: 12cm~infinite
- Gyro Stabilization
- Weight : 69g (with battery)
- Size : 4.31 x 4.43 x 4.82 cm / 1.69 x 1.74 x 1.89 inches
- Screen Size: 1.5inch, LCD
- Colors available : 8
- Image resolutions : 12MP (4032*3024), 10MP (3648*2736), 8MP (3264*2448), 5MP (2592*1944), 3MP, 2MHD, VGA, 1.3MP.
- Video Resolutions : 2K (2560*1440 30FPS) ; Full HD (1920*1080, 30 and 60 fps) ; 1080*720 at 120fps)
- Video compression format : H.264
- Video format : MP4
- Image format : JPEG
- Memory : External MicroSD/MicroSDHC up to 32 GB (class 6-10 recommended)
- Battery : 3.7V 900mAh li-ion rechargeable battery
- Power Supply: DC 4.2V 450mA
- Charge Way : USB charge by PC
- Video Output: HDMI
- Built-in microphone/speacker (AAC)
- Android App WiFi
- iOS App WiFi
- Connection : USB 2.0
- Timer: 2s, 3s, 5s, 10s, 20s, 30s, 60s
- Continuous shooting: 2/5/10 seconds
- Video Time Lapse
Do not be surprised if it its the same table as in SJ4000+ review. Because this camera is just a repack of SJ4000+ Gyro version! Besides the shape, size and weight, these two cameras are completely the same.
Like it or not (I don’t), this is how SJCAM operates lately, repacking cameras by adding minor improvements. This is what they did with three of their Limited Edition cameras as well. Same thing happened with basic SJ4000 and M10 cameras (comparison link).
Hero 4 Session alternative/clone?
Because of its resemblance to Polaroid Cube and GPH4 Session, I am sure many people will be calling it a GoPro copy, copycat, clone, etc.
Come on GoPro fanboys, you can say it : “These guys are copying GoPro once again”.
Say that again?
Actually the basic version of the camera was released a full year before GoPro announced their Session 4 in July 2015. The first manufacturer to launch cube action camera was actually Polaroid. You know the brand that used to make some awesome stuff, but got sold a while ago. Apparently they are in the action camera market as well.
I know plenty of people did not know this, so I hope this stops “GoPro copycats” discussion.
Square shaped camera comes packed in a thick rectangular cardboard box. Once you open it, there are 3 more mini-boxes inside, two bulky square ones and one flat. One of those bulkier boxes contains a camera in a waterproof case wrapped around with a protective foam. Other two boxes contain all sorts of accessories.
When it comes to packing, SJCAM improved significantly compared to some of their early models. Everything is very well protected and at the same well-organized. I really have no complains about how camera arrived.
Once all of those smaller boxes are unwrapped and emptied, here is everything you get :
- 1x camera
- 1x waterproof case
- 1x spare plastic case back door (not waterproof, for better sound recording)
- 1x manual (44 page, multilingual)
- 1x 900mAh battery (inside the cam already)
- 1x USB cable (for charging and transferring files to PC)
- 1x bicycle stand
- 2x helmet self-adhesive base
- 3X switch supports
- 1x bracket
- 1x clip (for bracket)
- 1x base mount
- 1x base adapter
- 1x base curved
- 2x 3M adhesive double tissue tape
- 2x bandage
- 1x cleaning cloth
- 2x SJCAM stickers
That’s a hell lot of things to play with! I warn you that in 90% of cases, people do not use all of these gadgets, but the more the merrier, right?
It should also be mentioned that on the box, there is a scratch and enter code which you can enter on sjcamhd.com to confirm the authenticity of the camera you bought.
SJCAM M10+ waterproof case
One thing that made me laugh is the fact that at first SJCAM used the same waterproof case like the M10 basic model. Well that would be perfectly fine since the cameras are same size and shape, so its a perfect match, but actual M10 waterproof cases had a funny designer error. Their cases did not include buttons for Up and down navigation on a waterproof case. So if you are underwater or in the rain, and would like to change something inside the camera, while it is in a waterproof housing, it is impossible.
So I was quite amused when I saw they repeated same mistake, even though lots of community members sent them emails and posted on forums that M10 waterproof case was designed by a drunk engineer.
They were aware of the error indeed, but I guess they wanted to get rid of all cases first. That is why first few batches of SJCAM M10+ (including one I have) have cases which do not allow you to navigate through the menu. 2 months after M10+ release, SJCAM launched a re-designed case. You can buy re-designed case here.
Besides 3 buttons on the side, one more difference is that a new one has different side clip which according to people who have it is easier to open. They are both waterproof to up to 30m according to manufacturer. Good thing is that batches with older housing are now discounted and if you do not care about underwater option change, you can save up to 30$ buy (eBay link) buying an older batch, which is a huge saving.
Design and built quality
The overall appearance of the M10+ is quite neat. Design-wise it looks quite appealing. Like all SJCAM cameras built quality is not on a high level. Camera body is made out of a light-weight plastic. M10+ front has smooth plastic surface,where as the edges are made out of patterned mixture of plastic and rubberized material that prevents slipping.
Back of the camera has 1.5″ LCD display. on which you can preview your videos, photos or just live-view what you are recording.
One thing I did not like is that the side of the camera which has ports does not have any sort of cover. That means that dust will easily get into those places, so it is a good idea to clean it up occasionally.
Size and weight
Even though it seems like a cube, once precisely measured, SJCAM M10+ is not really a cube-shaped camera. While its length and width are nearly the same, its 5 mm higher. So the exact dimensions of SJCAM M10+ camera are 48.1 mm x 43.1 mm x 43.3 mm.
With a battery inside camera weights around 69 grams or 2.43 ounce.
Dimensions of the camera are the same as M10 basic and M10 WiFi models, while it is just slightly heavier compared to its predecessors.
Buttons and ports
Below is an illustration of all buttons and ports on M10+ and a brief overview of their functions.
- Record / OK button – use to take photos while in photo mode, record a movie in video mode, delete footage in playback mode or as a confirm button inside settings.
- LED Indicator – indicates that camera is recording by flashing blue. While camera is charging it will flash red.
- Power ON/OFF and Mode – Hold it to turn camera on or off. Press it to switch through Video, Photo, Setup and Playback modes.
- HDMI out – Use in combination with TV Out option to plug in HDMI cable to preview footage to on your TV.
- USB plug – for charging and file transfer
- Memory card slot (camera supports up to 32GB cards officially, though it worked with my Sony 64GB.)
- LCD Display
- Navigation buttons (use up or down to navigate through the menu) – These buttons can also be used for digital zoom up to 4x, while you are recording or taking stills.
- WiFi / Gyro button – press it to turn WiFi on or off, or hold it for few seconds to enable/disable gyro stabilization.
M10+ Video quality
M10+ can record videos in several resolutions and frames per second. Most useful ones are :
- (2560 x 1440) – 2k at 30 fps
- 1080 x 1920 – Full HD at 30 and 60 fps
Here are some snapshots from exported from the video.
It can take photos and record videos while being attached to a charger or a power bank without any problems it also has a dash-cam function so it will work as a car camera.
Video quality is better than previous versions and provide more natural looking color. However what I noticed is that the sharpness has not been so good for the camera, especially if we have in mind it costs 140$.
Actually the sharpness issue is related to the lens focus. It appears that camera itself needs to be focused better.
If you wish to take a look at some video samples, you can download few raw videos from DropBox and preview them on your own PC.
Lens problem (black spots)
You probably do not know that I actually had 2 SJCAM M10+ cameras. My “intelligent” mind managed to break first one, since I carried it in a backpack which I managed to drop while hiking. I asked manufacturer to sell me the part that got broken, but these guys were kind enough to send a complete new unit to me. (#benefitsofreviewingtheirproducts?)
Anyway, while previewing video at my PC I noticed black spots in videos on both cameras. Before I explain you what it is, take a look, just to make sure you understand what I am referring to.
Looks really spooky! So what is this, why and when it happens?
Please understand that this is exported frame from a video. Each second of a video has 30-60 frames. So its really hard to notice this. But once I slowed down my video, I noticed these “blackouts” that happen in a fraction of a second.
To me it seamed like exposure problem, since in 99% of cases it happens when camera faces a very bright cloudy sky. Its like that image sensor detects what has to be fixed.
I thought my unit had issues. But after receiving another SJCAM M10+ that one had same problem. I contacted manufacturer and they explained to me it is probably a lens issue. They are not sure either. They also told me that nobody else noticed this. Here is what their representative said to me :
2 confirmed m10+’s with lens issues out of over 15,000 M10+units sold is acceptable.
/Even though its not a major issue and the fact they offered to send a replacement lens, I refuse to believe that two units have problems, and both ended up in Pavle’s house? Come on.
If you noticed this issue on your camera, please let me know in the comments. Unfortunately, I was unable to accept their lens, as I would feel uncomfortable receiving all those stuff for free, and this review would probably look biased.
Please understand that even though this looks scary, I am aware that 99% of buyers would not notice this, as it happens in a fraction of a second. But still, it happens, and once I noticed it, I saw blackouts everywhere.
Facts about black frames :
- It happens when camera is facing a bright sky when image sensor tries to detect exposure.
- It happened on both of my cameras.
- Manufacturer acknowledged the issue and said its a lens issue.
- It is a tiny issue that happens quickly and most of people will probably not notice it.
- Once you start seeing it, it gets under your skin, its scary.
- No, its not aliens and black holes, or is it?
Without any doubt, video stabilization is important for an action cameras. With their SJ4000+ Gyro, manufacturer started to roll out this feature on all of their cameras. With the option turned on, your video will look less shaky. Its not as perfect as optical stabilization, but it makes a visible difference.
With the firmware 1.6 or later, stabilization can be activated just by holding a WiFi button for a 2-3 seconds. This is fantastic shortcut. I really like it, since it enables me to turn stabilization off for photos.
One more interesting thing, is that while recording, you can turn gyro stabilization on or off. Overall, Gyro stabilization is without the slightest doubt great feature. It indeed consumes battery a bit more and decreases angle of view and photo quality but it does what is supposed to – makes shaky videos better.
Slow motion video
One neat feature is slow motion video. If you like slowed down videos, M10+ creates them right out of box for you. You can chose from different speeds. Be aware that the higher the speed, lower the resolution. But it looks very nice. It was a time-saver, especially if you are not tech-savvy.
Like with SJ4000+ edition, photography is the weakest link in this camera. Photos are not bad, but they are far from being called good. Camera has a 4 megapixels image sensor. This means M10+ is capable of capturing still images in maximum 4mp resolution (2688 x 1520 pixels).
Wait, but on the packing, manual, product description and camera menu I clearly see 12 megapixels image resolution?
Exactly. Manufacturer is interpolating photo resolution by smart software shortcut, scaling photo , making them look like 12 megapixels ones. This way, images you captured have 12 megapixels resolution and even size. Once you try to zoom them in, it is obvious that this is incorrect and they quickly become blurry.
In laymen word, they are lying and deceiving you, me and everyone else. Luckily, hardware components do not lie. If you do not trust me, take a look at the image sensor specs. While for video this does not matter, for photography it does, especially if you want to print out the images you took or post process them.
On the other hand, colors on the images are OK. Image quality will be okay for social media and web usage.
So whats all the fuss?
The thing is that I do not like being lied to. There are people who buy action cameras because they want to take good images as well. People who want to crop photos, post-process them and do a bit of color correction. With this kind of resolution that will be hard to achieve.
Lets be honest for a moment. For most people 140$ is not a small amount to spend on something that does not work the way we expected. Below are image samples that I took. They are compressed so they can be suitable for web, but please if photography is important feature for you, download raw files and preview them on your PC before buying this camera.
SJCAM has been doing photo scaling ever since they launched their first camera. I never liked this and I do not mind swearing and being harsh at this kind of tricks they do, just to sell more cameras. In a long run, we all know they are lying, so whats the point? Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
One more thing, SJCAM representative told me that gyro stabilization turned on in photo mode decreases photo quality slightly and reduces the field of view, so when taking images, remember to turn off the stabilization (it can be done by holding WiFi button on the side of the camera if you are using firmware 1.6 and higher).
I tested it, and I can confirm that gyro stabilization reduces photo quality, but to be honest with you, it is very hard to notice it, since the photo resolution is only 4 megapixels. Any sort of analysis requires cropping, and images cropped on a sensor like this will look blurry one way or another. Below is the image which illustrates how Gyro option influences the photo quality and field of view.
There is one more thing I nearly forgot. Even though this is an action camera, if you plan to take lots of photos while moving at a faster pace, you should know that shutter speed is not that good, and photos in movement might look blurred.
I am satisfied with how colors look. Considering that at the time of taking the photos it was winter with lots of clouds, M10+ managed to show scene quite naturally. It would be great if it had an option for more vivid colors though.
I noticed that from time to time auto white balance will fail to properly set up, so if you notice that photos look too blue or yellow, try to manually set white balance.
On a bright side, like all SJCAM models, there are lots of options that you can play with to improve the look of your photo. Some of them are White Balance, ISO, Exposure and WDR.
Sound quality on M10+ is similar to SJ4000 and SJ4000+. It is just not that good. Levels are a bit low, but there is not much hiss or any interference. However for a product priced at 140$ I expected better mic quality.
Features and settings
Since camera is the same as SJ4000+ which I already reviewed, there is no point in repeating and explaining each and every option that camera has. I will briefly list what camera offers and if you would like to find out more about particular option, just check previous model review or even SJ4000 manual.
Here is a list of settings that camera has in the menu.
- Resolution (change resolution of your video/photo)
- Cyclic record
- WDR (use this when recording landscapes with lots of contrast / shadow and bright areas)
- Gyro Sensor (video stabilization feature)
- Motion detection (camera starts recording when it detects a movement)
- Audio on/off
- Date stamping
- TV Out (if you want to preview clips you recorded on your TV via HDMI port)
- TV mode (tv out standard PAL or NTSC)
- OSD mode (displays or hides icons on the screen)
- Video lapse (creates out of the box time-lapse video)
- Slow movie (creates out of the box slow motion video, you can choose from 3 different speeds)
- Image size (resolution of you photographs)
- White balance
- Capture mode (Timer 3/5/10s)
- Burst (3/5/10s) – takes continuous photos on a single shutter click
- WiFi Setup
- Car mode
- Auto Power off
- Screen saver
- Default settings
As you can see like, all SJCAM cameras M10+ is pretty feature rich device which leaves you plenty of creative freedom over your footage.
User interface and navigation
Perhaps the best thing about the M10 series is that they are so damn easy to use. User experience is super-slick. Thanks to navigation buttons on the side, light weight of the camera and interesting shape, it is a breeze to operate with it. You can easily hold one hand palm change settings while holding martini in another hand.
Thanks to its 1.5″ LCD display located at the back of the camera, changing settings and overall navigation is quite easy.
WiFi button has 2 shortcuts. If you press it, you immediately enable WiFi, but if you hold it for 2-3 seconds, you will activate gyro stabilization for video. I really liked this shortcut button, since video stabilization is quite an important option, so it should be easily accessible.
Battery and memory card
M10 Plus has absolutely the same battery like any other products in SJCAM production line. 3.7v 900mAh Li-ion powers the cube. Even though manufacturer advertises around 80 minutes of recording, I managed to get longer-lasting performance.
Here are my results in different resolutions and different setup.
|1440p / 30 fps||LCD OFF/ Gyro ON||111.5 min|
|1440p / 30 fps||LCD OFF/ Gyro OFF||117 min|
|1080p / 60 FPS||LCD OFF/ Gyro ON||98 min|
It is obvious that when you turn on the stabilization, battery life decreases, but not significantly. Good thing about having the same battery in nearly all models, is that you can find a spare battery for M10 at very affordable prices.
When you search, you can also type SJ4000 battery, since they are all the same. Recording time is around 98 minutes in 1080p 60 fps with a Gyro turned on and LCD on a standby, which is quite decent, considering the battery capacity of only 900 mAh.
As far as memory card is concerned, M10+ works with microsd, microsdhc and microsdxc cards of up to 32 GB according to the spec. Since video recording requires certain speed from your memory card, it is always recommended that you use at least class 10 memory card of a reputable brand. Keep in mind that M10+ does not have an internal memory, which means in order to use the camera, you need a memory card, otherwise you can not record video or take photos.
SJCAM M10 series differences – M10 vs M10 WiFi vs M10+
If in any way you are unable to differentiate M10 vs M10 WiFi and M10 Plus, I created a comparison table.
- 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
- OV4689 CMOS
- 6 glass
- Weight : 69 grams / 2.43 ounce
- Size : 48.1*43.3*43.4 mm
- 1.5" LCD
- 4 megapixels
- Video Resolutions : 2K (2560*1440 30FPS)
(1920*1080, 30/60 fps)
- USB, HDMI
- M10 WiFi
- 6 glass
- Weight : 67 grams / 2.36 ounce
- Size : 48.1*43.3*43.4 mm
- 1.5" LCD
- 3.5 megapixels
- 1080p x 1920
- USB, HDMI
- 2s / 5s / 10s
- 6 glass
- Weight : 67 grams / 2.36 ounce
- Size : 48.1*43.3*43.4 mm
- 1.5" LCD
- 3.5 megapixels
- 1080p x 1920
- USB, HDMI
- 2s / 5s / 10s
Web Camera function
Unfortunately, even though when the camera is plugged into a computer you will see a PC camera option, for some weird reason, you can not use M10+ as a web camera. I tested it on Windows 10, and it did not work. Actually my computer was able to identify it, but the video output you will get will be black and white with huge amount of interference.
Here is my result on windows 10. If a Tetris could be a web camera, I am sure the output would be similar.This was a huge disappointment for me, as I really enjoyed using previous versions as a Skype camera.
Some other members over at RC Groups forum reported that web camera function works well on Windows 7.
How to update the SJCAM M10+ firmware?
- Check the firmware version you have
- Download latest firmware from manufacturers website.
- Unzip the downloaded folder.
- Plug the camera into your PC.
- On camera screen you will see “Mass Storage / PC Camera” Chose “Mass Storage” option and click OK.
- Locate the camera inside “My Computer (for windows).
- Copy the SJCAMM10.bin (or whatever the name of .bin file is)
- Paste .bin file onto memory card root folder >My PC>Camera/Memory card name
- Turn off the camera. And turn it on again. Do not worry if nothing happens. The camera will look like its being charged (red LED button will blink). Wait for around 2 minutes, until the camera turns on itself.
- Chose Mass Storage again, and delete the .bin file from the camera root. This stops camera from being updated each time it turns on.
- To check the update was successful, go to camera settings <Version.
In my opinion customer support is probably one of the most important things to consider when buying a camera. Even though most of Chinese camera companies never heard of customer support and do not even bother to check their inbox (perhaps they never heard of email?), SJCAM is way better compared to them.
After their new website launch, it is much easier to reach them out. And…. Wait for it… Now they reply to emails and even have a live chat. On a chat, sometimes you will wait for quite a while and sometimes get an instant reply, but its certainly the fastest way to reach them out.
SJCAM now has a support forum, which is a big plus. Since recently some of their representatives are active on few other aerial photography and dash-camera forums where you can get assistance as well.
What I dislike about their support team is that they are not knowledgeable and 100% familiar with their own products. For example if you need an advanced technical advice, or have a complex question, they might not be able to resolve it.
Their personnel still needs more training and experience as well as education, but comparing SCAJM support team to one just a year back improvement is visible. They are far from perfect or even great support, but they are decent.
Lets begin with pros first.
I really like the packing of SJCAM M10+. It comes neatly protected and packed with lots of accessories. Loved the design and shape. Camera is light weight and extremely easy to operate. Software inside and navigation are quite good.
Probably the best feature is video gyro stabilization which makes a noticeable difference by reducing video shakiness. I found the gyro stabilization quick shortcut button quite handy. SJCAM staff regularly update software and fixes bugs. What is more encouraging is that they are involved in getting feedback on several online forums and adding new features. Cam has lots of features and options you can set up and play with. Their support team is not perfect but much better compared to other Chinese action camera manufacturers.
Now the cons.
Built quality is not that good. Camera feels plastic and cheap. Manufacturer uses deceptive technique once again by announcing 12 megapixels resolution, when in reality camera has 4 megapixels sensor. But I am used to that with Chinese brands, nearly all of those brands do this. SJCAM is reputable brand and I seriously think they should stop acting like all those tiny knock-off companies that exist for a week until they sell their product batches.
Video quality is decent, but not sharp enough due to the focus issue. While I haven’t noticed that many people had an issue with sharpness, there are some reports on forums about users who noticed the same thing as I did on both of my units. On the other hand, handful of other reviewers do not seam to have that kind of focus issue with their units. That shows the lack of quality control.
In addition to that, both of my SJCAM M10+ cameras had issue with lens which created “blackouts”. Also even though camera has PC camera function, it does not work (I tested it on Win 10).
With all that in mind, even though SJCAM made a progress with gyro stabilization and customer support, I honestly do not think this camera should be priced that high. Its a mediocre product at mid-range price. Seeing the specs of their latest SJ5000x Elite it is unthinkable that that two cameras can have nearly the same price-tag.
Considering that GoPro and Polariod have their cube-shaped cameras at 150-190$, I think that SJCAM priced their M10+ way higher than they should. I am aware that under reviewers including some reputable one said great things about this camera, but I do not think it provides enough value for its price. While the software is great, it should have better hardware starting with image sensor and lens.
Overall, if you already have SJ4000, M10 or SJ4000+, I do not think its worth to upgrade and get new SJCAM M10+ (Plus) as it brings minor improvements at a higher price. Also, if you do not have an action camera yet, but really like the shape, take a look at other alternatives. Unless your budget is 140$ I see no real reason to get this one instead of a GoPro Session or Polaroid Cube+ and even SJCAM M10 (70-80$).
Where to buy SJCAM M10+ camera?
In case you decided to get this camera, here are few online stores that have them.
Your questions and opinion
I hope that you found this review useful and that I helped you decide if this camera is right for you or not. If you have any questions or ideas, feel free to drop a comment below, I reply to each and every question.
In case you own SJCAM M10+, please let me know your experience with it and do you feel it was a good buy or not.