Q: I am going to Italy in October and plan to take a tour of Rome on a Segway. I thought an action camera attached to my helmet would be a great way to record the tour as well as to get video of my companions zooming along with me. I remember in the past you wrote about a good action camera that was well under $100. What is the model and is it still available?
A: The action camera is the SJCAM SJ4000. It looks almost exactly like a GoPro, but features a rear screen for composing and reviewing. The SJ4000 sells for $69 and includes quite a few accessories, such as a watertight housing and several mounts.
I still recommend it and its very appealing combination of simplicity, affordability and excellent image quality. It is compatible with the GoPro mounting system and records sharp, colorful 1080p video at 30 frames per second. The frame rate is a bit slow if you want to do high-speed action shots or editing in slow motion, but if you just want nice-looking videos of your adventures, it works fine. I’ve taken mine on several trips and have never been disappointed, especially given the price.
A Wi-Fi version is available for an extra $30, but I do not recommend it. The battery life is reduced significantly, and when you start adding extra features and complexity as well as dollars to the price, the camera and the value equation suffer. This is a case where less is definitely more.
One last caveat: If you want an SJ4000, I strongly recommend that you buy it only from the authorized dealer, bhphotovideo.com. The camera has been so successful that counterfeits litter Amazon and eBay, and these knockoff versions don’t perform anything like the real deal.
By the way, I have done that Segway tour of Rome. You are in for a treat.
Q: I read your article about the ZVOX SB380 soundbar. I went to their website and they have many models. Is the SB380 the one you think is best?
A: To say which is best would be impossible. It depends on the application. You don’t want to get one that is too big or too small for the room or the television.
The ZVOX SB380 is a midsize soundbar that works well with televisions 32 to 70 inches in size. It sounds great with its integrated subwoofer and six levels of AccuVoice adjustment for making voices easier to understand. It is normally $299 but until March 3 using the code SAVE120 on zvox.com brings the price down to $179. While it may not be the absolute best soundbar for every situation, right now it is probably the best value.
ZVOX started two more special offers recently, with $50 off the AV50 headphones and $100 off the rechargeable battery hearing aids. If you are in the market for either product, it is worth a visit to their website.
Send questions to Don Lindich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.