Best BUDGET 4K Action Camera 2017? ThiEye T5E Review

 ThiEye T5E
For budget action cameras, 4K video resolution has traditionally been out of reach. For the < $150 range, most cameras really only do 1080p, and occasionally offer subpar 4K (often either unusably low FPS rates, and/or “fake” 4K resolution with interpolation tricks). The closest bet so far for a “affordable” action camera is the Yi 4K, which I absolutely love, priced around $200. After that, you are looking at $400 for the GoPro Hero 5 Black, which is certainly not a bargain.

Enter the ThiEye T5E ( Not only does this camera feature true 4K resolution at 30fps, it also comes in at a stunningly low price, a little over $100. When I first heard about the camera, I was fairly skeptical, given the poor track record of bargain cameras offering high-quality 4K footage. Thanks to Gearbest, I was hooked up with a review sample of the ThiEye T5E and put it through its paces. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised with its performance and I think you will be too!

Not only can the ThiEye T5E shoot 4k at 30FPS, it also offers 1080p at 60 fps AND 120 FPS, in addition to several other resolutions. It offers a viewing LCD on the back, WiFi connectivity with a dedicated app for remote control, and 12MP photos. The image sensor is the IMX117, a powerful sensor that is the same as the latest SJCam (7) model and is capable of true 4K. Here is a complete list of the specification for ThiEye T5E:


Brand: ThiEYE
Model: T5e
Type: Sports Camera
Type of Camera: 4K
Chipset Name: Ambarella
Chipset: Ambarella A12LS75
Sensor: CMOS
Sensor size (inch): 1/2.3
Function: WiFi,Time Lapse,Waterproof
Application: Extreme Sports,Underwater,Ski
Max External Card Supported: SDHC 64G (not included)
Screen: With Screen
Screen size: 2.0inch
Screen type: TFT
Screen resolution: 320x240
Battery Type: External
Battery Capacity (mAh): 1100mAh
Charge way: USB charge by PC
Working Time: 80min at 4K / 30fps, 100min at 1080P
Standby time: 4h
Charging Time: 2h
Primary Info.
Wide Angle: 170 degree wide angle
Camera Pixel : 12MP
Lens Diameter: 2.8mm
Video format: MP4
Video Resolution: 1080P (100fps),1080P(30fps),
1080P(60fps),1440P (30fps),1440P (60fps),4K (30fps),720P(200fps)
Video Frame Rate: 100fps,200fps,30FPS,60FPS
Image Format : JPEG
Audio System: Monophony
Exposure Compensation: +2EV,-2EV
White Balance Mode: Auto,Cloudy,Daylight,Incandescent
Microphone: Built-in
WiFi Function: Image Transmission,Remote Control,Sync and Sharing Albums
WiFi Distance : 10m
Waterproof: Yes
Waterproof Rating : IP68 ( 60m, with waterproof case )
Loop-cycle Recording : Yes
Loop-cycle Recording Time: 1min,2min,3min,5min
Night vision : No
Remote Control: Yes
Camera Timer: Yes
Time lapse: Yes
Auto Focusing: Yes
Anti-shake: Yes
Aerial Photography: Yes
Interface Type: HDMI,USB 2.0
Language: Arabic,Dutch,French,German,
Russian,Simplified Chinese,Spanish,Swedish,Traditional Chinese
Product weight: 0.0580 kg
Package weight: 0.4210 kg
Product size (L x W x H): 6.00 x 4.00 x 3.00 cm / 2.36 x 1.57 x 1.18 inches
Package size (L x W x H): 17.00 x 11.00 x 6.00 cm / 6.69 x 4.33 x 2.36 inches
Package Contents
Package Contents: 1 x T5e Action Camera,
1 x Multi-language User Manual, 1 x Wiper, 2 x 1100mAh Battery,
1 x USB Cable, 1 x Pack of Accessories, 1 x Waterproof Case


ThiEye T5E comes with considerably less accoessires than many other action cameras. Just the basics, including a few adhesive pads, charging cable, microfiber cloth, mount bracket, and instruction manuel. Fortunately, it also comes with two nice goodies: a solid waterproof case, and not just one but two action camera batteries! This is the first action camera I’ve reviewed that offers a backup battery. It’s worth noting the batteries are not cross compatible with other action cameras such as the GitUp2 or SJCam (ThiEye T5E’s batteries are a little too large). Of note, the Yi 4K action camera DOES NOT come with its own waterproof case (strangely).

ThiEye T5E adventured with me on a variety of recent hiking, drone flying, and outdoor trips. Overall, it performed excellently, and helped me get superb footage under different conditions. The audio quality (something I don’t typically worry about as I almost always replace it with music) is also quite good., when recording outside of the case. I recorded at several different resolutions and found them all to look great, especially the 4K. In fact, in head to head comparisons between the ThiEye T5E and the Yi 4K camera, I seriously couldn’t see a major difference, certainly not one to justify the significant price difference. In some tests, the ThiEye T5E images looked a little bit sharper than the Yi 4k.This really impressed me, and speaks volumes of how nice this budget 4K camera is. I notice much image quality loss, even with uploading to YouTube. You’ll notice in my video review that it’s set to 1080p; I took all the 4K footage and rendered it down to 1080p for editing purposes, but you can certainly keep it at 4k if you wish.
A couple of critques I did note: On my very first trip with ThiEye T5E, I encountered a SD card formatting error, requiring me to reformat when I returned home. That was frustrating, but after reformatting the microSD, I haven’t had any issues.
The gyro stabilization is definitely less intense than the SJCam S6 Legend or GitUp2. I wouldn’t rely on ThiEye T5E as your primary drone camera if you are flying with a non-gimbal drone like the Hubsan H501s. On land, it does a decent job though. Just like the Yi 4k camera, the EIS gyro feature is only available at 1080p, 60 fps; not at 4K.
The menu on the ThiEye T5E is a weak point-it’s usable but otherwise uninspired and clunky. While several action cameras have recently offered innovative menu designs (Yi 4K, SJCam M20+, etc), the ThiEye T5E menu is a throwback to older, less easy to navigate menus. It’s simply listed under settings, with multiple “frames” to scroll through, requiring a lot of clicking to edit settings. It gets the job done, but isn’t fun to navigate through it.

Photos looked very sharp and crisp, capturing both dark and light environments well. Additionally, the WiFi dedicated app worked great. I didn’t have crashes or problems operating it on my Android smartphone. I was able to remotely operate the camera with ease and review playback videos without an issue.

Video Review

4K Test
Audio for on/off recording is nicely audible even through the case. The camera boots up fairly fast, and I didn’t have issues with lost footage (thinking I was recording when I really wasn’t due to audio errors). The camera itself features a solid build, with a nice locking switch for the battery. The waterproof case and other accessories have nice design and feel high-quality. Overall, the accessories are solid, and the video quality is excellent.


ThiEye T5E action camera is a relatively unknown camera on the action camera scene, but I think you are going to see a LOT about it soon. Once word gets out about how nice it is, for such an affordable price, you can bet you’ll see it in YouTube videos frequently. It reminds me of the excitement around the GitUp2, still a solid camera, from a newcomer on the camera scene, that absolutely took off once everyone found it. ThiEye T5E’s high quality true 4K footage, plus perfect price point, almost guarantees it will be a success. This isn’t the only ThiEye model, expect to see more innovative cameras from these folks soon! Let me know if you have any questions about the ThiEye T5E camera, either through my YouTube review, or below. You can buy ThiEye T5E through Gearbest here:
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July 14, 2017 at 9:19 AM delete

nice review. Just ordered one of these from gearbest, and also a 64gb high speed card from Amazon. Really looking forward to trying it out.

September 7, 2017 at 12:14 AM delete

That’s why stabilizers were invented as an accessory for action cameras to stabilize video recording.

May 19, 2018 at 8:10 PM delete This comment has been removed by the author.

Be nice.