The Flymemo A9 at under $45 shipped is certainly an action camera on a budget. But what does the low price tag mean? Entry level specs, mediocre quality? Or on the contrary, do you get a camera that can fight it out among the higher priced ones? Well, it’s time to find out!
Flymemo A9: Specification Sheet
Flymemo A9: Box Contents
Sports Camera, 30m Waterproof housing case, Clips, 4 x Mounts, Handle Bar Mount, 2 x Adhesives, 4 x Bandages, USB Cable, Battery, User Manual.
Flymemo A9: Design, Build
At first glance, you can see that the dimensions and size of the camera are similar to a lot of GoPros and SJCAMs, allowing for interchangeable mounts and waterproof cases. Speaking of the waterproof case, the one included in the box does its job well (immersing the case in water for about an hour and a half did not result in any water seeping through the case).
The Flymemo A9 is really well-built, what with a nice smooth finish to it. Moreover, a rough texture is present at the top and bottom of the device that provides good grip. Furthermore, the buttons are well made too, giving great feedback through slick clicks at the press of a button. In addition, the mounts and accessories are of decent quality too. As far as ports go, the device houses the usual micro-USB and microSD card slot, with the absence of a micro-HDMI port.
One design flaw though, is the ease at which the buttons on the case get pressed. Due to this, at one instance, the buttons got accidentally pressed while simply holding the camera in my hand, resulting in video being recorded automatically.
There is a major flaw I found in the design though: while video is being recorded, an orange LED at the top of the device blinks, but is obscured by the backdoor opening mechanism of the waterproof case. Moreover, a small blue notification LED besides the screen blinks while recording as well, but it is too small in size, resulting in it being invisible under sunlight.
Flymemo A9: Video Quality
Video Resolutions supported:
The Flymemo A9 supports 1080p (15fps) and 720p (30fps). Any layman would know that 15fps is useless, while 30fps being just about the minimum. Anyways let’s see how the camera performs in the video recording department (All videos were recorded on a SanDisk class-10 microSD card):
1. 1080p (15fps) sample video:
As you can see, I mounted the camera onto my motorbike windshield for this video, which resulted in shaky video which was caused by vibrations originating from the engine. Apart from that, 15fps as you can see for yourself in the video, is way too less, resulting in extreme lag in the video captured. So I don’t think anyone would want to record 1080p video on the Flymemo A9.
2. 720p (30fps) sample video:
At 720p (30fps), the color reproduction is decent. However, there is a little grainy effect in the video which seems to increase with a decrease in ambient light. In addition, I see a bit of aliasing, slight lag and blurriness as well. All in all, I am pretty disappointed with video quality to be honest, and I believe a budget image sensor is used on the Flymemo A9.
One weird observation with regards to all recorded videos is: they are recorded in the .AVI format but do not show the resolution, frame-rate, bitrate or any details about audio in the file properties. Intriguing to say the least.
Nonetheless, customization options include:
This particular feature is useful when the camera is used as a dash-cam, where videos are recorded in segments. When the microSD card is full, the first video is erased, and so on..
I recommend sticking to the default exposure value, but you can play around with the values if you want.
As you can see, there is very little customization possible, which is a detriment to those who like to fully customize their videos.
Flymemo A9: Image Quality
The camera captures images up to a resolution of 12MP. Here are a few images (original resolution) I captured at 12MP in broad daylight.
As far as shooting options go, you get burst-mode, which captures 3 images within a second. Time lapse is present, which should actually be renamed as self-timer, as that is what this feature does. At last, the Flymemo A9 features continuous lapse, wherein images are captured every 2 to 60sec depending on the option selected. Sadly, the images are not automatically stitched into a video. You have to manually do that yourself.
Coming to the captured images, they are not clear, and show a lot of blur and aliasing. Color reproduction is acceptable though.
Another weird thing I noticed is the inability to turn off the timestamp on still images. I don’t see any reason why there is no option provided to turn it off.
Flymemo A9: Usability
In general, the user interface is easy to use and easy to learn, and I did not find the camera hanging up at any given point of time. The 2-inch LCD screen however, is not visible enough under broad daylight.
Since the user manual is pretty useless, here is a brief overview on the workings of the user interface:
Simply short-press the power button to power up the device, and long-press (2sec) the same button to power it off. In the former case, I would have preferred to have a long-press of the button to boot the camera, as I ended up unknowingly powering up the device multiple times.
To switch between various modes (video recording/image capture/ playback), press the power (mode) button.
Now consider being on the video recording screen. Pressing the OK button starts video recording, with the same button used to stop recording. On the same screen, you can access the video settings screen by short-pressing the down button. Toggling through the menu options is via the up/down buttons while the OK button can be used to make selections.
Capturing images is via the OK button, with settings accessed in the same manner as on the video recording screen.
On the playback screen, pressing the OK button plays videos and images, with the up/down buttons used to fast-forward/go-backward. One gripe here is that videos and images are all denoted by a video symbol, making it real confusing to know if that particular file is an image or a video.
As far as screen content goes, you see a video/image symbol, the resolution and the amount of video/images that can still be captured, based on the free space available on the memory card. The bottom-left of the screen also has a battery charge indicator present.
Flymemo A9: Battery Performance
Powering the action camera is a 900mAh Li-ion battery that slots into the bottom of the unit. When the unit is being charged, an orange LED besides the screen lights up, which then turns off once charging is done (a full charge takes about 2.5 hours). Power saving modes like auto-power off and auto-screen off are available too.
The battery lasted for about 90min of continuous video recording at 720p.
One con I found while connecting the device to a charger is video recording that starts automatically, with sadly no way to turn-off this particular feature. I know this feature is useful when used as a dashcam, but hey, I don’t want to use it as one all the time.
Flymemo A9: Verdict
The Flymemo A9 excels in terms of build quality, but fumbles where it matters: in video quality and customization. On the flip side, despite the price, you get quite a few mounts and accessories bundled with the camera.
Flymemo A9: Camera Images
Flymemo A9 Action Camera: $42.99
You may also have a look at some other action camera reviews in the reviews section.