The WiMiUS L1 4K action cam is a competitively priced budget alternative to a market that has quickly become saturated with tiny cameras from a huge variety of companies looking to stake their claim in the action sports market. On the surface, the WiMiUS L1 boasts what appears to be an impressive value, so Fstoppers put it through the grinder to see if it is truly a considerable contender in the action camera market.
The first and most important question to ask about the WiMiUS L1 is whether or not its image quality meets the expectations set by other competitors in the space. My first impressions of the WiMiUS L1 was that the image quality was reasonably good from looking at footage on the back of the camera's display. However, once loaded onto a larger screen I discovered that the WiMiUS L1 offers only mediocre image quality at best. When put side by side with footage from other action cams there is an obvious softness to the footage from the WiMiUS L1. As a whole, the image quality largely reminds me of what could be expected from leading action cameras a couple generations ago. If your goal is to create social media content or to capture a family vacation to share with the in-laws, the WiMiUS L1 is more than capable of delivering what you need. If you are looking to create professional-looking content, the footage from the WiMiUS L1 will likely be insufficient.
The dynamic range of the WiMiUS L1 is actually reasonably good. At the onset of this review I didn't expect it to handle extreme shadows and highlights nearly as well as it did. One of my favorite tests for this sort of thing is to point the camera directly into a bright sunset to see how much of the sky is blown out and if the foreground falls into blackness. To my surprise, only the flare directly around the sun itself was blown out and the foreground enjoyed plenty of detail. You can see the results of the test below. Throughout the tests, so long as there was plenty of available light, the WiMiUS L1 was more than capable of capturing a decently wide dynamic range.
Unfortunately, the WiMiUS L1's low-light capabilities leave a lot to be desired. In testing, low light was one of the camera's primary weaknesses. As you can see from the sample footage below taken just after sunset under city lights, the noise levels become extreme once access to sunlight has dipped away. I would consider WiMiUS L1 footage unusable in low light. No action camera is extraordinary in low light but the WiMiUS L1 simply does not stand up when compared to low-light footage from other cameras.
The WiMiUS L1 has an internal stabilization feature much like many other action cameras. I happened to have the GoPro HERO6 with me so I opted to test the two side by side. The test was done by holding both cameras next to each other and walking down the street. Neither camera handles the stabilization perfectly, but the HERO6 is able to achieve a much smoother effect. The WiMiUS L1 appears to have a strange shake to it that would likely lead me to using it with stabilization turned off for future use. Note that the blue cast of the WiMiUS L1 can be easily fixed in post, but was not in order to provide footage exactly as it was out of camera.
Like most action cameras, the WiMiUS L1 is capable of also shooting still photos and time-lapse videos. In testing the photo mode was able to provide reasonably sharp images that were mostly clear of noise so long as ample daylight was readily available. As you can see from the shot below the WiMiUS L1 is able to create still images that are more than usable. Though, unfortunately, in a world of ever-improving smartphone cameras, it is unlikely that the WiMiUS L1 will be the only device nearby capable of taking still photos and any modern smartphone is simply better at it.
Ease of Use
The WiMiUS L1 was very easy to learn. Within a few moments of first powering it up I had mostly figured out everything that I needed to in order to operate the camera. Instead of a touchscreen, the WiMiUS L1 returns to a more classic button-based navigation system that actually turns out to be quite well done. When testing in the horribly cold Canadian winter I actually often found myself quite pleased that I could fully operate the camera without needing to remove my gloves to interact with a touchscreen. As a whole, I was very pleased with the usability of the device.
Anyone familiar with the GoPro system will find the WiMiUS L1's accessories pretty straightforward. They use the exact same mounting system that is almost completely interchangeable with GoPros. I was even able to mount the WiMiUS L1 on the GoPro Shorty to make handling the camera easier.
The WiMiUS L1's primary claim to fame is that it enjoys incredible value at a very low price. At only $70 for the complete kit pictured below, the WiMiUS L1 offers far more accessories right out of the box than most competing action cameras that are priced far higher. I was most pleased by the inclusion of a second battery as, in my experience, action cameras tend to suffer from batteries that drain far too quickly. To my delight, however, the WiMiUS L1's batteries seemed to hold up quite well. Compared to the GoPro HERO6, the WiMiUS L1's battery life is far superior. In my tests I would estimate about double the expected shooting time with the WiMiUS L1 as compared to the HERO6.
What I Liked
- Very good price
- Excellent battery life
- Tons of included accessories
- Easy to use
What I Didn't Like
- Mediocre image quality
- Horrible low-light performance
- Poor stabilization
The WiMiUS L1 is a great option if you are looking to experiment with action sports cameras without breaking the bank. It is more than capable of shooting videos destined for social media or sharing with friends. At $69.99, the WiMiUS L1 offers good value for what you pay. If you are looking to create higher quality content that needs to have more of a professional look and feel to it though, you would most likely be better served investing in a more expensive action camera that offers better low-light performance and image quality.