Panasonic HX A1 Action camera User Review

Writing this article to share my experience purchasing the Panasonic HX A1 action camera that just hit the market few months ago. To start off with, I was pretty excited about the launch of this camera, the form factor and the affordability of this camera which really impressed me especially after watching the Official videos and feature reviews available online.

Being an avid traveler, videographer  and travel YouTuber I felt genuinely pushed to give this new pixel gadget a go! I always wanted a GoPro killer to hit to market if it was even for a higher price ( Panasonic HX A1 action camera is half the price though) because every market ruling product need completion or it’s a one man show! So finally I decided to purchase the camera from Digital Camera Warehouse at Northcote, Melbourne – Victoria.

Buying experience and first look

The buying part of it was super easy. The store person at Digital Camera Warehouse was super friendly but had no clue about the product maybe because it was new to the market but did talk about how GoPro was a better choice. Honestly that was right because my purpose here was to see how good this one was ?.

The packaging and the product built looked exactly as one would expect by seeing the product online and it still continued to be impressive. I did not wait much and wanted to try this one out badly and was looking forward to use it in my future YouTube city travel videos.

First time usage experience and review

Soon I was home, unboxed the product, took few photos of re product in the process, used the micro mini memory card in it, plugged it on and stared recording few test videos. I did link it up with the Panasonic image app that allows you to connect your camera with your smart phone to view the photos or even remotely shoot using the camera app. Comparing it with the EOS camera app, it was far more inferior but still did the job to perfection – I would rate it average and not bad at all.

Now few surprise goosebumps when I got to see the image and video quality from the camera. It was so very, so very depressing that you could not even compare it to the quality of an iPhone 6 camera. I might be technically wrong but this is my gut feeling and that’s what I felt seeing the performance of the device. The imagery was really wide and did justice in capturing movement but the image quality wasn’t good at all. You can’t really do much with this HD quality footage especially when the light was low.

Some more glitches apart from Image quality

I still felt it might be because of some settings that I could change to get better quality videos and took out the product manual and started reading when I came across some more information that I think my readers and other customers should know before purchasing.

The water proof camera feature: The camera is capable of sustaining wet condition and being in water but you cannot shoot at depths below 1.5 meter for which you will need additional water proofing casing.

The night vision is NOT inbuilt. To use it you have to swap the lens cover with the supplies IR cover and also purchase an additional IR light for which you will have to spend additional money.

Image and video quality is NOT great because it had a 2.66 and 2.1 megapixel cameras option with two 120 and 150 angle view recording options (this is not as good as normal action cameras offered by Sony and GoPro. The biggest issue with the video quality of the camera is the compression of the files, the video is recorded at 29.97 fps (technically)  with an average bit rate of 15 Mbps and this impacts the video quality to a great extent.

Hardware issue I came across with

Within one day of usage, I recharged the camera and took it out again on a bright sunny day to do some more testing. This is the period that convinced me that I shouldn’t be keeping this camera. After a video recording, the camera continued to be super heated and refused to switch off!! What would one do keep the power button pressed on until it switches off, it never did! It stayed to be on until the battery drained off.

Summary of Panasonic HX A1 Action camera Review

I would not recommend buying this camera even for its low price as you still don’t get what you pay for! Why wouldn’t anyone prefer a smartphone is what makes me think harder! The camera is priced at a very affordable price and marketed really well to make one believe you are getting semi pro quality at low prices. I would still say a better option is to spend a little more and buy a proven and tested camera.

Shopping Experience at Digital Camera Warehouse

Update: my product return experience (and my first experience with digital camera warehouse). I traveled all my way back to the digital camera warehouse to return this action camera to make sure I no longer have it. To my surprise, the customer service seemed non-empathetic at all to someone who has been quite burnt by trying a new product in the market. They quoted that liking a product is subjective (agreed) and you cannot try it and return it (I think, this is not fair. It was just used for few hours and it wasn’t even close to what the product claims to be). Understandable, but I returned the product in a weeks time with all the boxed item as it is and also ensuring that I did mention the technical issue I had with the product. I accept that they had to ensure it was a technical issue that I returned but I thought returning a product you didn’t like ASAP and swapping it for a more expensive product was okay and fair. I am waiting to know from them in few weeks (hopefully) and will update my experience further here.

Panasonic HX A1 Action Camera Review
  • Camera Built Quality
  • Panasonic Camera App Integration
  • Performance & Hardware
  • Video Recording Quality
  • Overall experience using the Camera

Overall Summary

The Panasonic HX A1 Action camera is priced at a very affordable price and marketed really well to make one believe you are getting semi pro quality at low prices. Video recording capability is disappointing. I would still say a better option is to spend a little more and buy a proven and tested camera.