Sony Action Cam HDR AS20 Review and Video Test

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Alternatives to the Sony HDR AS20 Action Video Camera:
GoPro Hero+ : https://amzn.to/2Krgr4b
Today we’re reviewing the Sony HDR AS20 Action Camera. The Sony HDR AS 20 is one of Sony’s entry-level action cameras and goes head to head with GoPro’s entry-level Hero+ action cam.

The form factor of the Sony HDR AS20 is very different from GoPros and other action cameras. It almost looks like two cylinders stacked on each other and then encased in plastic. Sony HDR AS20 weighs about the same as the GoPro without its waterproof housing and is made from this smooth plastic. The lens is positioned on this little protrusion at the end of the body and is right above the pair of stereo microphones. The main control interface is on the right hand face. The Sony HDR AS20 can be turned on by holding down the record button which is on the rear face. And you can toggle through menus using the previous and next buttons on the right hand face. There is a Recording Lock slider button on the rear face. The battery and micro sd card live under a slide-open compartment under the record button. There’s also a covered compartment on the bottom which houses a multi-connector micro usb port to charge the camera and connect it to a computer. A micro HDMI port and an even stranger 3.5mm microphone jack, for connecting an external microphone to the Sony HDR-AS20. Not exactly sure how that’s useful for an action cam of this size, but it’s there if you ever happen to need it.

Like other action cams, the HDR AS20 comes standard with a waterproof housing that is waterproof for upto 16ft underwater. The housing is pretty rugged and snaps securely around the Sony HDr AS20. It also has a ¼-20 female thread, so you don’t need any specialized adapters to mount it. The form factor of the Sony HDr AS 20 is a blessing and curse. More a curse than a blessing. The rounded corners ensure that you really cannot mount it to anything without strapping on the waterproof housing. And mounting it sideways messes up the video you record. So you kind of limited in how you can mount the Sony HDR AS20. There are however lots of mounting accessories available for the camera.

The Sony HDR AS20 does come equipped with WiFi, so you can remotely control and setup your shot. The App works but it’s glitchy and tends to hang occasionally. It’s definitely usable but by no means superbly smooth. Companion apps have never really been Sony’s strong suite.

When it comes recording formats, the Sony HDR AS20 records 1080p at 60 and 30fps. It also records 720p at 30, 60 and even 120fps for super slow motion video. It records in the MP4 file type and can record files in either the NTSC or PAL format. The Sony HDR AS20 can also snap 12MP stills and has a built-in intervalometer for timelapses.

On paper all these specs and features seem absolutely amazing. However, this is where the story takes a turn for the worse. We first strapped the Sony HDR AS20 to a moving car to see how it would handle fast-moving action footage. We then strapped the camera to the front fender of the car and tried to get some close range footage of the tire in motion, as you can see here. In both cases, the footage was shot in 1080p at 60fps. And in both cases the footage was extremely disappointing. The footage lacked any dynamic range whatsoever, everything appeared muddy and lacked in sharpness and detail. And even in 1080p at 60fps, the video didn’t appear smooth, like 60fps is actually supposed to look. The color reproduction was good but the lack of sharpness and dynamic range spoiled the footage overall. Now this quality might have been acceptable a few years ago, but in today’s crowded action cam market, it’s well below average.

Overall thoughts about the Sony HDR AS20. Sony has tried hard to cram the Sony HDR AS20 with lots of useful and not so useful features, while selling the AS20 an at affordable price point. However, when it comes to its most important feature- video quality- Sony seems to have missed the mark by a long shot. We certainly cannot recommend the Sony HDR AS20 to anyone in the market for a budget action camera. I’ll put links to some affordable alternatives to the Sony HDR AS20, in the description below. If you own an AS20, tell us about your experience with this camera, in the comments below. Hope this review was helpful. If it was, please hit that LIKE button and subscribe for Thank for watching our Video, Please Like and Share
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