MGCool Explorer 4K Review – Cheap!


MGCOOL is a relatively new company, releasing just a single fitness band and a 360 camera, making the Explorer 4K their third or fourth product launch. Nevertheless, the Explorer is capable of 4K video at 15fps, 2K video at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps, and 720p at 120fps. I’ve been practicing some martial arts and soccer skills (European people, please don’t judge me) to showcase for the camera, so be sure to check out the video review at the bottom of the page!

A cheap Action Camera

MGCOOL Explorer 4K Specifications

Processor AllWinner V3
Display 2.0” TFT 320×240 px
Sensor 16MP 1/3.2 IMX 179 CMOS sensor
Lens 170 deg wide angle
Operating System Android/iOS Compatible
Recording options 4K@15, 2K@30, FHD@60, 720p@120fps
Battery 1050mAh
Physical Dimensions 55g, 5.90 x 4.10 x 2.90 cm

Big thanks to MGCool for providing this review unit. Buy one here.

MGCOOL Explorer 4K Hardware

One of the best things about this camera is the amount of accessories it comes with, something that is not a guaranteed with other action cameras. It comes with literally every single accessory you would need, waterproof casing, bike mount, helmet mounts and others that you would need also.The Explorer is made out of textured plastic, and the side faces of the Explorer feature feature raised rubber surfaces for grippiness. The right side has up/down buttons while the left has the input and output ports. The front face of the Explorer has a “mode” button while the top has an “OK” button. The back features the screen and nothing else.The display on the back looks OK but its almost impossible to see in strong sunlight and even harder to see inside the waterproof case as well.

Rubbery

MGCOOL Explorer 4K Battery

The battery life here is not the best, battery life tops out at around 25 minutes for 4K at 15fps, around the same (45 min) for 1080p 60fps, and about 70 minutes for 1080p 30fps. Those are less than half of what the top end GoPros get, which to be fair, this action camera is $43.

MGCOOL Explorer 4K Software

There is an MGCool app that you can install on iOS and Android, but unfortunately I could not get the action camera to connect to the app. I’m not sure what’s going on, I’ll report back if there’s any change.

MGCOOL Explorer 4K Camera Quality

I’ve never used a camera with such a wide field of view before, if I held the camera in my hand it would sometimes detect my finger on the side, that is how wide it is. There is some curvature to the footage as you can see, but that’s to be expected from such a wide angle lens. The camera is capable of capturing 4K at 15fps (which is horribly choppy by the way), 2K at 30fps, and 1080p at 60fps. 4K and 15 fps is mostly a no go so the highest resolution you should go is 2K at 30fps.Even at 2K at 30fps, video quality is not great. The video is mostly soft, with some pretty average looking colours. Honestly even at 2K the footage isn’t very detailed either, the bitrate here is pretty low so the footage is small.

The autofocus does a decent job adjusting to lighting changes and focusing on the subject of the shot also. When lighting conditions are not ideal, quality goes down even more, there’s no question this camera is meant to be used in ideal lighting conditions only. Moving down to 1080p at 60fps and the quality doesn’t diminish much, and you are able to slow down the footage 2x if you so desire.

720p footage at 120fps is not detailed at all, but you can slowdown the footage which makes it pretty sick. You can snap 16MP photos as well but the picture quality is a lot worse than even midrange smartphones like the Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime.

MGCOOL Explorer 4K Camera Gallery

MGCOOL Explorer 4K Waterproof Test

The waterproof case here does keep the Explorer completely dry. I dunked it a couple of times into a bucket of water and the case keeps the action camera completely dry. The case doesn’t cut down on video quality at all and generally works well.

MGCOOL Explorer 4K Verdict

The MGCool Explorer in the end does its job, but it doesn’t do it well. Compare it to GoPros and Yi/SJCams, the footage here just doesn’t do enough. 2K and 1080p footage is soft, doesn’t have a lot of detail and has average colour reproduction. However, you also have to keep in mind that this Action Camera is $50 at most, with sales bringing that down even farther. It comes with a load of accessories as well. I’ll give two recommendations here, the first to people who can afford more than $50 on an action camera, this probably won’t satisfy you. However, there are many people who either don’t want to or cannot afford a $150 action camera, and if you want something that captures your memories (albeit not in the best detail), then this does the job.

Learn more about MGCOOL Explorer: http://www.mgcool.cc/goods.php?id=50

Cheap, but very imperfect

MGCOOL Explorer 4K Video Review

MGCOOL Explorer 4K Gallery

 

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30 Comments

  1. Marcus
    May 22, 2017

    So this is not the Explorer Pro?! Because that I ordered yesterday and it says 4k@60fps.

    • May 22, 2017

      This in the review is just “Explorer” or “Explorer 4K” and only records 4K @15fps.

      • Marcus
        May 22, 2017

        Ok. Little confusing that they call it pro and the other 4k. With the same hardware.

      • Ibrahim Bahakim
        May 24, 2017

        4K at 15FPS? wtf?

        • May 25, 2017

          Well it’s their cheaper option. Maybe it’s good for 4K timelapses? I wouldn’t know. 😀

  2. jonscravit
    May 22, 2017

    IMX179? Bad…
    IMX 290 to up… good…

    • Marcus
      May 22, 2017

      What do you mean?

      • jonscravit
        May 22, 2017

        new sensor are best, imx179 are dated

  3. Marcus
    May 22, 2017

    So this is not the Explorer Pro?! Because that I ordered yesterday and it says 4k@60fps.

    • Pierre
      May 22, 2017

      This in the review is just “Explorer” or “Explorer 4K” and only records 4K @15fps.

    • Marcus
      May 22, 2017

      Ok. Little confusing that they call it pro and the other 4k. With the same hardware.

    • Ibrahim Bahakim
      May 24, 2017

      4K at 15FPS? wtf?

    • Pierre
      May 25, 2017

      Well it’s their cheaper option. Maybe it’s good for 4K timelapses? I wouldn’t know. 😀

    • Pierre
      May 25, 2017

      Well it’s their cheaper option. Maybe it’s good for 4K timelapses? I wouldn’t know. 😀

  4. jonscravit
    May 22, 2017

    IMX179? Bad…
    IMX 290 to up… good…

    • Marcus
      May 22, 2017

      What do you mean?

    • jonscravit
      May 22, 2017

      new sensor are best, imx179 are dated

  5. Julio Pedregosa
    May 23, 2017

    Very good review. Continue in this manner

  6. Emi Geek
    May 23, 2017

    Good review and very interesting device. Thank you so much for sharing

  7. Jonathan dos Santos
    May 23, 2017

    Has it APP for control since smartphone? It would be very useful for users..

  8. Julio Pedregosa
    May 23, 2017

    Very good review. Continue in this manner

  9. Emi Geek
    May 23, 2017

    Good review and very interesting device. Thank you so much for sharing

  10. Jake99
    May 24, 2017

    It seems like they never have a regular price as their products are always on discount, which is awesome for the customer. Although I’m sure it would take better to buy their cameras around the big holidays as then the discounts are the biggest and you can get the cameras for the cheapest price possible. 🙂

  11. Jake99
    May 24, 2017

    It seems like they never have a regular price as their products are always on discount, which is awesome for the customer. Although I’m sure it would take better to buy their cameras around the big holidays as then the discounts are the biggest and you can get the cameras for the cheapest price possible. 🙂

  12. rossya88
    May 26, 2017

    First time ordering a camera and NO REGRETS! I loved how it came with not only the camera but with several accessories!
    There was so many pieces, but instructions were super easy to follow. Pictures helped a lot!

    After playing around with the camera, it is very easy to use. Pictures and videos turned out better than expected! What I love most is that it is wireless! This made it very convenient

  13. YooMii
    May 26, 2017

    It isn’t great by any stretch – but it is surprisingly good. Video quality is better than acceptable. Audio quality is just shy of acceptable, with a muffled quality to it. I have read enough reviews to know that my experience with the audio is not limited to my unit. Because the camera is so hobbled by this poor audio and does not represent a huge investment, I plan to follow some of the video tutorials out there and retrofit an external microphone jack, which makes a world of difference.

  14. JimMorisson
    May 26, 2017

    I am very happy with value. I am happy with the picture quality. The app works well. It lags slightly at times but I imagine this is the case with any camera. I also had some trouble uploading video to my iPad. I wish the app would let you know what percentage was uploaded so that you knew it was doing something and not frozen. I have not totally mastered all of the settings but what I have used so far has created some good shots. I would get this camera again

  15. rossya88
    May 27, 2017

    First time ordering a camera and NO REGRETS! I loved how it came with not only the camera but with several accessories!
    There was so many pieces, but instructions were super easy to follow. Pictures helped a lot!

    After playing around with the camera, it is very easy to use. Pictures and videos turned out better than expected! What I love most is that it is wireless! This made it very convenient

  16. YooMii
    May 27, 2017

    It isn’t great by any stretch – but it is surprisingly good. Video quality is better than acceptable. Audio quality is just shy of acceptable, with a muffled quality to it. I have read enough reviews to know that my experience with the audio is not limited to my unit. Because the camera is so hobbled by this poor audio and does not represent a huge investment, I plan to follow some of the video tutorials out there and retrofit an external microphone jack, which makes a world of difference.

  17. JimMorisson
    May 27, 2017

    I am very happy with value. I am happy with the picture quality. The app works well. It lags slightly at times but I imagine this is the case with any camera. I also had some trouble uploading video to my iPad. I wish the app would let you know what percentage was uploaded so that you knew it was doing something and not frozen. I have not totally mastered all of the settings but what I have used so far has created some good shots. I would get this camera again