MGCOOL Explorer 3: 4K action cam with touchscreen display for $99.60

Hey, guys! Just a heads up: The linked offer is already a bit older and the price of the gadget might have changed or it might not be available anymore.

There are many action cams on the market now and it is hard to keep up with the newest developments. As a result, you can get a decent action cam for about $40 now, which is at least able to record 1080p with a 30 fps frame rate. The Yi 4K+ is still the best action cam from China. But that does not mean that new models that are a lot cheaper aren’t interesting, too. The MGCOOL Explorer 3 offers a native 4K resolution and a touchscreen and will cost you about $100.

MGCOOL Explorer 3 Action Cam from the side

Specifications

Video resolution (NTSC) 4K (3840 x 2160) @ 30 fpsFull HD (1920 x 1080) @ 60, 30 fps; HD (1280 x 720) @ 120, 60, 30 fps
Photo resolution 14 Megapixel (4352 × 3264)
Chipset iCatch V50
Sensor Panasonic MN34112 (14 MP); CMOS; 1/2,3”
Wide angle 170°
Videocodec H.264/MPEG-4
Display 2″ TFT touchscreen-display, 320 x 240 pixel resolution
Image stabilization E.I.S.
Connectivity WiFi; Bluetooth; Micro HDMI; Mini-USB (USB 2.0); 1/4″ screw
App available for Android / iOS
Storage microSD/microSDHC/microSDXC (max. 64 GB)
Battery 1100 mAh
IP rating nein
Material Plastic
Dimensions 6.02 x 4.1 x 3.2 cm
Weight 81,5 g
Box content 1 x Camera, 1 x Waterproof Case, 1 x Quick Release Mount, 1 x Flat Mount, 1 x Adhesive for Flat Mount, 1 x Curved Mount, 1 x Adhesive for Curved Mount, 1 x Spanner, 2 x Lock Bolt, 1 x Knuckle, 1 x Portable Case, 1 x USB Cable, 1 x User Manual
Features electronic image stabilization, Slow-Motion, Timelapse, Burst Photo

Design

MGCOOL sticks to the classic action cam design, which is not a bad thing. But it is important to mention that the Explorer 3 looks a lot more modern than its predecessors. Where the Explorer 2C looked rugged, this model looks nearly as classic as current GoPro cams. That is achieved through understatement and keeping things simple. The elegantly curved line in the middle of the front side divides the cam into two parts.

On the right side we have the camera lens and in the left corner we have the MGCOOL logo. The plastic frame is black, but the frontside appears in a light Grey. When looking at the touchscreen on the back, the speaker sits on the right, the different slots sit on the left and the tripod socket is of course on the bottom of the cam. Next to the tripod socket, you have the battery slot. The top offers two buttons. Most action cams have one button on the top and one button on the frontside, because that was the classic GoPro-design. The red button is used to navigate through the different modes. The blue button is actually used to record videos and photos.

MGCOOL Explorer 3 buttons

One uses the touchscreen to navigate through settings and the library. The display has a resolution of 320 x 240 p and is 2 inches long.

Hardware

Contrary to previous models by MGCOOl the Explorer 3 offers a true 4K resolution. That is achieved with the help of the iCatch V50 Chipset in combination with the Panasonic MN34112 image sensor. The 14 megapixel resolution overshadows the Sony sensors that the manufacturer previously used in their action cams. One might know both hardware specifics from the ThiEYE E7. Even more interesting is the electronic image stabilization that takes place even when recording 4K. But we are not yet to judge just how good that might work.

The touchscreen of the MGCOOL Explorer 3 4K Action Cam

A small downside is the limited frame rate when shooting in 1080p. One might expect at least 120 fps, but maybe we are just to spoilt by the Yi 4K+. The MGCOOL Explorer 3 however just supports 60 frames per second when shooting in 1080p. If you want nice slow motion clips, you will have to rely on the HD resolution, which supports 120 fps.

Connectivity

In terms of connectivity the Explorer 3 features the most important slots. On the left side you will find a Mini-USB and a Micro-HDMI slot. Furthermore, there is a microSD-slot, which is essential to record videos in the first place. Unfortunately there is no possibility to connect an external microphone. For audio, you are dependent from the internal microphone. Another essential is the WiFi-module, which lets you connect your smartphone with the action cam via the MGCOOL Explorer 3 app.

MGCOOL Explorer 3 Action Cam

Preliminary verdict

Taking every aspect into consideration, the MGCOOL Explorer 3 sounds like a good deal! The most significant features are the native 4K resolution, the electronic image stabilization and the touchscreen display. The biggest downside may be to just have 60 fps at 1080p.

What do you think about the MGCOOL Explorer 3? Cop or drop?

To the gadget
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Thorben

My special interests are smartphones from China and I am always keen to discover new smartphone accessories like smartwatches and headphones. 

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