GoClever DVR Sport Gold review

These days if you want an action camera, the de facto choice is GoPro. Maybe not the smallest or sleekest miniature video cameras around, GoPros have quickly become the professionals’ choice and are regularly used for TV shows. See our GoPro Hero 3 review

Of course, as a consumer you can buy one and enjoy the vast range of accessories on offer, but price is a barrier for many people. Entry-level kits start at £200 and these include only a couple of basic stick-on mounts. Add-on mounts cost from £20 upwards.

GoClever, previously known to us for its Android tablets (see the Tab R974 review) has a budget range of action cameras including the new DVR Sport Gold. It combines a waterproof action camera with in-car DVR capabilities, making it a versatile all-rounder.

For less than £100, the fact that it has a colour touchscreen and comes with pretty much all the mounts you’ll need, makes it appear a great bargain. But is it?

GoClever DVR Sport Gold

GoClever DVR Sport Gold: Design and build

We had a mixed experience testing out the DVR Sport Gold, with our first unit suffering from unexplained lock-ups that could be fixed only by sticking a pin in the Reset hole. The second one had a touchscreen that was sometimes responsive and, at other times, completely unresponsive. Not a great start, then.

Also, it’s important to note that the GoClever has a resistive, not capacitive, touchscreen. It’s not nearly as responsive as a modern smartphone: it’s the same as that old satnav you keep in your glovebox.

GoClever DVR Sport Gold screen

Rubber flaps on the sides cover a microSD slot (supporting up to 32GB cards) and mini-HDMI and mini-USB ports, the latter doubling as a charging socket.

GoClever DVR Gold ports and slot

On top are power and shutter buttons, while on the rear is a button to turn the screen on and off. The miniscule battery isn’t accessible and will power the camera for about an hour.

The screen is well worth having, despite its occasional unreliability, since it allows you to check if the camera is pointing in the right direction before you set off. GoPros either need an expensive optional screen or, for newer Wi-Fi equipped models, a compatible smartphone to act as a viewfinder.

GoClever DVR Sport Gold: Features

The DVR Sport Gold has an impressive list of features. It can record 1080p video at 30fps, or progressively lower-resolution video at higher frame rates. It records sound, but as with a GoPro, the quality is so poor it isn’t really worth having – even if you’re using it without the waterproof case.

It will also take photos up to 12Mp, although since it has only a 5Mp sensor, the true resolution is really 5Mp (2592x1944).

You get handlebar, vented helmet, suction cup and chest mounts and an infrared remote control and in-car charger in the box. Both the camera itself and the waterproof housing have standard tripod mounts, which will prove handy in some situations.

GoClever DVR Sport Gold

When being used as a car DVR (it’s a separate recording mode), the GoClever automatically creates a new video file every few minutes. Although footage could be useful in proving fault or innocence in the event of an accident, it’s worth checking with your insurance provider to see if there are specific car DVR models that will give you a discount on your premium. We didn’t find any companies with the GoClever on their approved list.

GoClever DVR Sport Gold: Video and photo quality

We tested out the DVR Sport Gold alongside our trusty GoPro Hero 2, reviewed, and found some interesting results. Overall, when using the 1080p, 30fps setting on both cameras the GoPro footage was sharper and had more accurate colours.Note the better colour accuracy in the grey clouds compared to the GoClever's strange blue and purples hues in the video grabs below.

However, the GoClever captured pretty much the same level of detail as the GoPro.

For the money, video quality is more than acceptable. Photos from both cameras were fairly dismal and won’t really do your exploits justice.

Here's some test footage from the DVR Sport Gold

And here are comparison grabs from both the GoClever and GoPro cams. Both have been resized (click to enlarge):

GoClever DVR Sport Gold video grab

And below is the same grab from the GoPro HD Hero 2:

GoPro HD Hero 2 video grab

GoClever DVR Sport Gold: Specs

  • 2.4in colour touchscreen
  • 5Mpixel CMOS sensor
  • 1920x1080 at 30fps, 1280x720 at 60fps, 640x480 at 120fps
  • H.264 video format with mono audio
  • 12MPixel still images
  • waterproof housing
  • assorted mounts: handlebar/seatpost, helmet, suction cup, chest mount
  • Infrared remote control
  • car charger
  • 72g with battery
  • 2.4in colour touchscreen
  • 5Mpixel CMOS sensor
  • 1920x1080 at 30fps, 1280x720 at 60fps, 640x480 at 120fps
  • H.264 video format with mono audio
  • 12MPixel still images
  • waterproof housing
  • assorted mounts: handlebar/seatpost, helmet, suction cup, chest mount
  • Infrared remote control
  • car charger
  • 72g with battery

OUR VERDICT

If you’re on a tight budget, the DVR Sport Gold is a tempting deal. It’s particularly good as a car DVR since it doesn’t need to rely on its small battery. However, for action use, the short battery life is a problem. Build quality isn’t as good as a GoPro and although the screen is useful the touchscreen is frustrating to use.