The HP AC300W Action Camera aims to take on the growing action camera market with an interesting trick, a watch that doubles up as a remote screen!
The AC300W comes with a wide range of accessories, including a bike mount and a case which allows you to take the camera underwater to a depth of 60 meters.
It’s a nice sized little camera that easily fits in your pocket. On the top are a couple of control buttons for turning it on/off, controlling the mode and selecting menu items along with a small LCD screen to let you know what mode you’re in and what’s going on.
Around the right hand side the AC300W features a mini HDMI out jack as well as a micro SD slot (class 6 up to 32GB). The left hand side has a USB jack for charging/connecting to a PC as well as a mic in jack.
There are 3 status lights dotted about the camera, they all do the same thing but the multiple positions means you can see the light regardless of how you have the camera setup.
On the front of the camera is a 165 degree wide angle lens and a 16 megapixel sensor and the entire thing is powered by a removable battery.
The AC300W offers great picture and video quality, although the wide angel lens means this is designed more for expansive shots than close ups, which have a slight fish eye look to them.
As you can see from the review video the recorded footage was very good, crisp and clear and handled bounces very well with footage remaining stable and not jitter when the camera is bounced.
A really nice feature is the ability to record time lapse footage. Just set the camera to the correct mode, press the record button, and leave it alone. The results were saved as a video file and looked really good, with shots including the sky with rolling clouds especially impressive.
There are a lot of options for controlling the AC300W. There are controls on the camera which are nice and easy to use, but if you’re unable to easily reach these controls, for example you’ve got it helmet mounted, you can make use of the included control watch. The watch is a chunky, rugged feeling, bit of tech that functions as a normal watch, including a stop watch, countdown and alarm functions.
However, when you press the mode button the watch will connect to the AC300W and live stream what the camera sees! This offers a very quick and simple way for checking your shot, something not usually possible with these littles cameras that are generally point, shoot and hope for the best. The watch also doubles up as a control unit, with a button on the top for taking photos and a button on the bottom triggering the video function.
The watch buttons are nice and large and should be fine to use with gloves on. It’s charged via a special USB cable which does mean if you misplace the cable you can’t recharge the watch. A nice touch is that the watch face colours can be customised, changing the colour of the numbers to suit your preference.
Generally the watch works really well, although on light days the screen proved rather tricky to see outdoors, a bit of a drawback when you want to check you’ve got your shot lined up.
The included watch isn’t the only way you can connect, the AC300W features on board wifi which, when activated, creates a local wifi network for you to connect to via phone/tablet. Once connected just fire up the ActionCam! app and it’ll automatically connect to the camera, giving you much the same functionality as the watch. You can see a live view of what the camera is looking at, trigger photos and trigger videos.
The app is also meants to give you access to the recorded files, but during testing this feature didn’t work, with the app repeatedly asking for the phone to be connected to the camera over WiFi even though I already was and had successfully trigger video/photos to be taken. This happened with the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, an Android phone, and is hopefully something that’s either localised to this phone or will be sorted with a software update.
The AC300W is pitched as an action camera and comes with a range of mounts and accessories to record your action, be it on land, sea or snow. The wide range offer good flexibility in terms of mounting, although it would’ve been great if there was a standard tripod mount accessory included as well to offer even more flexibility.
The HP AC300W Action Camera offers fantastic value for money, not only do you get a great camera for recording your action orientated adventures, you also get flexibility in how the unit it controlled. There are a couple of niggles, but they’re very minor and don’t detract from the excellent video quality on offer.