ELE Explorer PRO Action Camera Review


Remember the ELE Explorer action camera I reviewed a few months back (review here)? It was one of my favorites of this year so far, but had a few issues with image colors in high-contrast scenes. ELE has since released a new camera, the ELE Explorer Pro, and I just got my hands on it courtesy of GearBest. Take a look at the full video with sample footage and read the review below for this hot camera:




Features
The really exciting features on this ELE are the promised gyro stabilization, powerful image sensor (Sony IMX117, although some sites report  IMX 078) and chipset (NT96660). I loved the stabilization feature on the GitUp2 (currently my favorite action camera) and I was excited to try it out on the ELE Explorer Pro. Take a look at the complete set of features below:

Model: ELE Explorer Pro
Camera: Sony IMX 117 sensor (Or 078?), 170 degree wide angle
Screen Size: 2.0 inch
Screen Type: TFT LCD(960*240)
Video Compression: H.264
Video Resolution : 4K interpolated(3840*2160)15fps, 2.7K(2688*1520)30fps, 1080P(1920 x 1080)60fps/30fps,720P(1280*720) 120fps/60fps/30fps
Video Frame Rate: 30fps, 60fps 
Video Output: HDMI
WIFI: 802.11b/g/n
Image Format : JPEG 
Image Resolution:16M/14M/12M/10M/8M/5M
Digital Zoom: 4X
Audio System: Built-in microphone/speacker (AAC)
Exposure Compensation: -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3
Battery type:  Li-ion battery
Capacity: 900mAh
Voltage:5V/1A
Charing time : about 2hours
Working time:1080P/About 2hours
USB2.0 Support
Input Interface: Mini USB
Output Interface: Mini HDMI, Mini USB

Accessories
The ELE Explorer Pro comes with a waterproof case and a nice selection of mounting options. They are all GoPro compatible and seem to work quite well. The camera came packaged in a very nice, slick box (typical for ELE) and the battery (compatible with standard SJ4000 batteries) allowed me to record on/off for several hours on a long trip. Be sure to grab a headmount or chestmount if you want to really get the most out of this action camera.
Field Testing
I took the ELE Pro out on a fishing trip, hiking trip, hot air balloon ride, snorkeling, and on a short surfing trip to San Diego. The camera did great! Buttons responded quickly, the audio recording on/off noises were easy to note, and I didn't experience and glitches or hiccups in the field, other than some difficulty connecting to the WiFi app. My photos came out very nicely, in fact, the photo quality is right up there with the GitUp2, and definitely better than the prior ELE, Eken H9, Sj4000, or GitUp1. The video quality is also excellent, and color depth is much better than the prior ELE. The stock firmware has a bug where the Date/Timestamp are left on the photos, even when that feature is turned off, however it's been reported that the newest firmware update fixes this (see discussion). This isn't a problem for the videos. I don't see a need for the interpolated 4k, however the 2.7k video resolution is good and very usable. Also, I was somewhat dissapointed with the gyro-it appeared to stabilize the video somewhat, but to a lesser extent than the GitUp2. The underwater footage looked great, although I found the stock settings were better for recording than the diving mode settings, at least in the cloudy weather I had at LaJolla. 


Sample Video









Sample Photos

Conclusion
Overall, the ELE Explorer Pro is a very good action camera. It definitely holds it own against other similarly priced cameras, including the very excellent GitUp2 that I've reviewed in the past. In addition, it's definitely a step up from it's ELE Explorer predecessor, and has a host of useful features. Hopefully, the gyro feature is further improved through an upcoming firmware update; that's my only real gripe right now. The price point for this camera is excellent, at $90-$100 USD. I'll be using the ELE Explorer Pro extensively in upcoming fishing and hiking videos, and I hope you consider this action camera if you have a budget that allows it. Tight lines!
Available from GearBest: http://goo.gl/lPIFTH

Edit: Gearbest has the latest firmware for the camera as of 6/8/16. Scroll down on the page linked above to the "Main Features" section, and you'll find the firmware (.bin file) just below it. I was able to upgrade my camera using it and it removed the timestamp bug, added a auditory camera button "click", may have added a little improvement to gyro, and otherwise seems to work fine. I installed it on my camera by placing the .bin in the root of my micrsoft SD card in a card reader outside of the camera, then placing the card into the camera, and powering it on. The LED on top flashed yellow, slowly then quickly, then shut off; camera restarted and was updated. Had to make sure to remove the .bin file off the microSD card after. Follow at your own risk!

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7 comments

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June 6, 2016 at 5:56 AM delete

I have an AS30 right now, though the quality on these seem to be not a huge step up. I guess we need to wait for 4k cameras (that rival S7/ HTC H10, etc..) to show up next year :)

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June 6, 2016 at 11:56 AM delete

Thanks for the comment. The 2.7k on this is quite good and very usable, it's at 30fps. I think you'll find the 1080p quality on this camera is excellent. For 4K, the upcoming Yi II camera looks very promising...

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RC3
June 8, 2016 at 12:10 PM delete

And some bugs are corrected in the latest firmware.. As far as I know, there have been 3 updates, and that is promising.....

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July 19, 2016 at 7:55 PM delete

We're you able to get the mobile app working? Any advice? I'm on a nexus 6p with the latest Android installed, and am having no luck.

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July 19, 2016 at 7:55 PM delete

We're you able to get the mobile app working? Any advice? I'm on a nexus 6p with the latest Android installed, and am having no luck.

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February 13, 2017 at 7:00 PM delete

Hello iWalton,
Good day to you.
This is Carrie from MGCOOL, which was once a sub-brand of Elephone. Now MGCOOL is an own brand which has been committed to developing action cameras for a long time. We have couples of new action cameras ready to release. All of the new items are belonging to Explorer serial. Would you like to try them? Check out http://mgcool.cc/ contact me via media@mgcool.cc

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June 7, 2017 at 7:22 AM delete

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