ThiEYE T5e 4K Action Camera (used as dashcam) [GearBest.com] (Ambarella A12LS75, Sony IMX117)

Agie

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#1
UPDATE (10/03/2017): GearBest is currently having a promotional sale on the ThiEYE T5e. You can purchase the discounted camera from here: http://www.gearbest.com/promotion-best-action-camera-special-1106.html

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This time something a little different from me, using a 4K action camera as a dash camera, which is something I haven't done before. Let's find out how this stacks up in my full review of the ThiEYE T5e 4K action cam. Thankyou to @GearBest for providing a review sample. You can purchase the ThiEYE T5e directly from here: http://www.gearbest.com/action-cameras/pp_575345.html Released late 2016.

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Specifications
: Sony IMX117 sensor w/170 degree field of view (same sensor as in GoPro Hero 3/4), Ambarella A12LS75 chipset, 2 inch TFT LCD display. 4K (3840x2160) video recorded at 30fps with varying bitrates, 2K at up to 60fps, full HD at up to 120fps and HD at up to 240fps. Audio bitrate is constant at 128KBps (mono at 48KHz). There are a plethora of video resolutions, including 2.5K and SuperView, which includes more vision at the top and bottom of the frame, also at varying bitrates. Note: this review has sample footage recorded at 4K, 30fps with SuperView disabled, in SuperFine mode with a bitrate of 60MBps.
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Box Contents: ThiEYE T5e action camera, anti-static wiping cloth, multi-language user guide, microUSB cable, waterproof case (up to 60m in depth), bike mount, spare adhesive mounts, swivel action mount and securing pin, 1100mAh battery with identical spare included.
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Firmware Version: TI/UN5-170211-V5.0 (initially upgraded from the 12 January 2017 firmware in-box) - will update review accordingly if new changes brought about by new firmware.
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The final verdict: After testing this action camera extensively, I'm very impressed. The level of detail afforded by the 4K footage, coupled with the reliable chipset and Sony sensor on board makes this a must-buy. Well done to ThiEYE for coupling high quality components into a small and attractively designed package, with high level firmware and customer support.


Unboxing video:

The ThiEYE T5e records in true 4K, unlike other cheaper action cameras that may employ tricks such as interpolation or frame doubling to give the impression that it is recording in 4K. The Sony IMX117 sensor is a tried and true quantity, and the new Ambarella A12LS75 chipset handles its tasks with ease. The camera records dash camera footage by enabling the Auto DVR feature in the menu options, which records in two minute loops.


My nitpickings:
  • Wi-Fi app has some connection issues and can be flaky in operation at times.
  • Does run a little hot in operation, and the design could have had some thermal dissipation elements better implemented.
  • Would have liked to see an image rotation mode in the menu and a 1/4 inch standard tripod mount on the top of the camera, but understandable given design and sensor constraints.
The positive:
  • Audio recorded is fantastic (even though it is in mono), with great clarity and having the ability to adjust the sensitivity is a massive boon.
  • Lots and lots of menu options which gives granular control to any situation. These menu options will be more than enough for 99% of users. The menu is fast and fluid.
  • Button layout on the camera is logical and honestly, the lack of a touchscreen does not matter at all.
  • Retail packaging is impeccable, with foam padding and a slick svelte boxing. Low weight and sleek profile of the camera make it very attractive in the hand, while maintaining the driver's privacy.
  • Recorded footage is amazing. Colours are crisp and the level of detail at 4K makes recognition of licence plates and other details much easier. There is hardly any discernable artefacting or sharpening of edges.
  • Night-time footage is as usual constrained by the sensor itself, but does well to take in a lot of light and keep distance objects in focus and readable, without much grain to the image. Top choice by ThiEYE in going with a Sony sensor here.


Close-up photos of the ThiEYE T5e 4K Action Camera:

IMG_20170304_170008_HDR.jpg
IMG_20170304_170149_HDR.jpg
IMG_20170304_170206_HDR.jpg
IMG_20170304_170240_HDR.jpg
IMG_20170304_170300_HDR.jpg
IMG_20170304_170330.jpg
IMG_20170304_170347_HDR.jpg
IMG_20170304_170407_HDR.jpg
IMG_20170304_170447.jpg Screenshot_2017-03-01-07-58-36-092_com.thieye.hd.app.png
 
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Agie

Agie

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#2
ThiEYE T5e action camera sample footage:


ThiEYE T5e Daytime footage, 4K (2160p) at 30fps:

ThiEYE T5e Sunset footage, 4K (2160p) at 30fps:

ThiEYE T5e Sunset footage, 2K (1440p) at 30fps:

ThiEYE T5e Night-time footage, 4K (2160p) at 30fps;

ThiEYE T5e Time-Lapse footage, 1080p (Recorded at 2 second intervals):
 
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Agie

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#5
microphone is nice and clear
I set it at 80% and it probably has to be the best mono stream microphone i have ever come across. I reckon ThiEYE could be the Viofo of the action camera world :)
 

old4570

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#6
AU$158.93
Not the Most expensive / certainly not the cheapest .. ( Is this a mid range Action Cam ? )
Good night time footage ( under street lights )

Nice review !
 
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Agie

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#7
AU$158.93
Not the Most expensive / certainly not the cheapest .. ( Is this a mid range Action Cam ? )
Good night time footage ( under street lights )

Nice review !
thanks mate for the kind words, well it's on the high-end for Chinese dash cameras price-wise but let's say cheaper than the entry level Go Pros's. Colour me impressed. ThiEYE have released a new firmware update in the last day or so too, so will be interesting to test that out.
 
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Agie

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#8
Also to add for those updating the firmware, as it's an Ambarella chipset yours might need more legwork apart from the instructions that ThiEYE provided in their PDF. Specifically driver signing etc and installation before you can follow the rest of the PDF instructions.
 

Aussie Kev

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#9
Thanks for the vids. Way better WDR than NT96660 chipset. Sky to dark foreground doesn't white out the sky. Goodbye to the dreaded "Ghost Blob" flairing across the sky.
Dramatic in this ELE ELITE FHD60 gyro on vid.
 

alex870

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#10
A few notes from another T5e owner (I read this thread when purchasing). There are two problems that I've not seen sufficiently covered when trying to use the T5e as a dash cam. The first is heat in 4K recording mode (other modes not tested - the whole point of the T5e is 4K recording). Leaving the cam on the dash in a parking lot in 85 degree sunny weather invites an overheat lockup condition. So it's likely not going to work as a permanent installation in the Southern US states. The second problem is there's not a good way to use a suction cup mount without the waterproof case (a.k.a. heat build up box). You can use the tripod screw thread, but this orients the camera upside down with most, if not practically all, suction cup mounts. There is no way to flip the image electronically within the camera, so that's a nuisance. The lockups mentioned earlier were experienced without the case (mounted upside down).

Unrelated to car dash cam use, the supplied waterproof case leaked when I got it. (Caught it leaking and saved the camera before damage.) Chinese quality control strikes again: the front lens area of the case is held on with 4 small screws against a rubber seal. They'd cracked or broke all of the screw mounts during assembly, so of course it didn't seal properly. A replacement case is supposed to be coming, in a month, but in the meantime I got some "Amazing Goop" glue, removed the screws and rubber seal, then glued the front on, holding it in a vice overnight to apply pressure during curing. Clear epoxy might have be a better permanent choice, but the Goop was readily available and could be removed more easily than epoxy if botched. It seems watertight now when submerged in the sink, but further testing in a pool is needed to confirm reliability. It's true I did forget the golden rule of testing the case for leaks before putting the camera in...

Video quality wise, the lens has a very high level of wide-angle fish-eye distortion. This compromises the quality somewhat. By comparison, my Note 4 Phone's 4K video is visibly superior both in image quality and distortion by a wide margin. I was hoping they'd be matched more closely.

For most applications, the wide angle might be a little too wide angle. The field of view is so wide it's really easy to get your fingers in the shot when holding it, even when you're trying not to.

Anyway those are the gripes I've found after using it. If none of these are deal breakers, then it's quite a good little unit and you get a good bang for your buck. As a dashcam the low tolerance to heat is a deal-breaker for me, so it'll just get used as a sports cam and maybe occasional dashcam duty for rental cars etc.
 
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Aussie Kev

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#11
alex870 Case is poor quality. Various videos and reports of cracked top clips (including mine) and the actual case itself cracking. Very cheap, brittle plastic unlike the cheap SJCAM/GoPro Hero style clones that are as good or better than original.

WARNING Sure enough, checked and found hairline cracks on waterproof case lens part on the two innermost mounting screws. Not likely to leak but any attempt at a replacement would most likely crack further.

Also the UP button doesn't work. The actuator part of the switch is missing. Not even rattling around in the housing, partly stripped to look. Broken switch from assembly. :oops: For some strange reason there is a long press of the UP button to flash corrupted firmware (which of course happened while watching a preview vid) and can't update.

No FOV setting is annoying. Put a small circular (not "Tulip" type) 52mm lens hood to stop side glare and get a circle like the 3D pics :( My old NT96660/IMX078 cam dialed down (or even at "170" for vids) works perfectly. :)
Noticed T5 does cover a wider FOV range than other at so-called 170 degree lenses.

Lens hood 52mm.jpg
 

alex870

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#12
alex870
WARNING Sure enough, checked and found hairline cracks on waterproof case lens part on the two innermost mounting screws. Not likely to leak but any attempt at a replacement would most likely crack further.

Also the UP button doesn't work.
View attachment 31903
Yeah, if two are okay it's probably still good, especially if they're diagonal. I don't know what the heck they're doing at their factory, but 2 of my mounts were completely sheared off at the base, so they weren't even attached to anything. The other posts were badly cracked along the entire length. Seems like the plastic used is far too brittle and needs to be slightly softer, coupled with a design that's fundamentally poor and structurally weak. With two cases there's at least a chance I can Frankenstein a working case between the two. But my guess is I'll be getting out the epoxy when the 2nd arrives.

Feel your pain on the button problem. That would really suck. Maybe this is why the Amazon models are $50 more expensive than Gearbest. Returns have to covered somehow. I think the takeaway for anyone else considering buying one is to consider buying from somewhere you can return it to easily, even if that adds to the cost. Or you take your chances. It looks like I got off lightly with just having a case defect. Thanks for the lens recommendation too.
 
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Aussie Kev

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#13
Both good screws same side, seems OK compared to yours though! Not good at all. Very brittle plastic indeed.
Yes. It's a real pain going through the menu in one direction! :(
GearBest are not good at times. D.O.A. warranty applied for, still trying to get something back. Even a few dollars.
I used this adapter to mount to camera then the lens hood LINK Haven't tried +2 close up filter though. ;)
2017_0530_111852_003.JPG .
 
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Neo2199

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#14
I have Thieye T5e with ext mic running latest firmware: TI/UN7-170628-V5.0
Problem I have is simple but annoying. I want to use my cam as dash cam, so I am using it in this mode. Problem is when camera turns on when USB supply is connected video starts recording automatically and at the same time battery charging is stopped. Because camera is used only in dash cam mode it slowly looses charge and files get corrupted when USB supply switches off.
When camera is not recording battery is charged properly. Any advice? Does yours behave same way?
I made a video if needed:
 
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Rob115

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#15
Very unstable as dashcam i'd stay away from this one and buy real dashcam.

One annoying issue once memory card is full it stops recording files do not rotate, you have to format card or delete files manually.
 

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#16
Many action cameras do have dashcam mode and so do the recycling when full, but still, get a proper dashcam and if you need any off car filming at a event use your phone for that.
Action cameras are fine for,,,,, action, or videoing where you can be pretty close to the action, but other than that i would still prefer a true camcorder with optical zoom for video recording.
 

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#17
Very unstable as dashcam i'd stay away from this one and buy real dashcam.

One annoying issue once memory card is full it stops recording files do not rotate, you have to format card or delete files manually.
I have Thieye T5e with ext mic running latest firmware: TI/UN7-170628-V5.0
Problem I have is simple but annoying. I want to use my cam as dash cam, so I am using it in this mode. Problem is when camera turns on when USB supply is connected video starts recording automatically and at the same time battery charging is stopped. Because camera is used only in dash cam mode it slowly looses charge and files get corrupted when USB supply switches off.
When camera is not recording battery is charged properly. Any advice? Does yours behave same way?
I made a video if needed:
I would set 'Screen Off' after 5 mins and NOT 'Power Off' at 5mins' Also set 'Loop Record' to 3 mins or 5 mins as well so you have short files as not sure Car Mode does this, only power on/record with car ignition/ACC turned on.
As long as you have USB to a good car cigarette lighter type charger I doubt the battery will discharge much at all.
Loop Mode shouldn't loose files when SD card full but I haven't tried a long trip.
 

Rob115

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#18
Tried today 6 hours no problem with discharging i have (screen timeout 30 seconds) however every time i start car it goes in USB 3 option selection mode instead of starting to record so after every car start i have to unplug usb and plug it back .
 

Aussie Kev

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#19
Tried today 6 hours no problem with discharging i have (screen timeout 30 seconds) however every time i start car it goes in USB 3 option selection mode instead of starting to record so after every car start i have to unplug usb and plug it back .
Noticed when I plug into power source to recharge it just powers on, no menu, which is frustrating but into PC it comes up with menu at least.Think something wrong with mine now. :confused:

Do you have "Auto DVR" set ON and it goes to a menu option? Damn
 
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