- Native 4K camera
- Powerful Ambarella chipset
- Touch Screen
- 100FPS FULL HD recording
- Long lasting battery
- No EIS (image stabilization)
- Few accessories
- Firmware bugs
- Poor low light performance
- Low 4K bitrate
- Value 1
- Value 2
- Value 3
- Value 4
- Value 5
Never heard of AEE as a brand before? I have never heard of the model Lyfe Shadow until I noticed the Red Bull logo. These days Red Bull are well presented in almost any spectacular sport, and their philosophy matches quite well the idea of action cameras. And here we are now – looking into a camera which carries their spirit!
The way this package looks like is just awesome. Very nice feeling. Sets the bar quite high! Inside we find a nicely done user guide. The accessories are also well packed. It is 5-star experience so far! And having noticed the top-class specs from the box – we expect a beast!
Taking the accessories out shows us good and at the same time – modest amount of them. There could have been a few more.
The camera has a very interesting form factor – a very unusual one! The lens has no bump – all the sides are flat and nicely designed. Overall the size is considerably smaller than normal sized action cams, this one is however thicker. With its 80 grams (2.8 oz) the weight is no different than most of the similar models though. I still cannot decide for myself whether I like it or not. But it is very interesting because of this different and unique design.
Once you unbox the camera there are obviously no other “Red Bull” components. That thing on the display is just a sticker. With the LYFE, AEE could have gone a bit further and adopted the Red Bull colors – that would have made the camera to really stand out in terms of design.
Design and features
The hardware… well – the hardware is up to par with well established favorites like the Firefly 8s or SJCAm SJ7 star. Ambarella A12 chipset, a 14MP sensor (likely the Sony IMX 078), 140-degree lens, and touch screen. These are the outstanding characteristics!
There is NO image stabilization, which is very, very unfortunate. And probably that just puts that model out of scope for many of you. But as usual – I insist on giving a chance to any device that is not too expensive and has obviously been a subject of serious research and development investment.
Battery is 1050 mah. And recording time here surpasses a lot of models with the same specs. Well – stabilization takes a lot of power and it is missing here, so we there should be something nice, right :D?
The embedded microphone is your only way of recording audio. And you heard it – among the worst I’ve had. What you heard at the start was acceptable and is thanks to noise removal and fine-tuned compression.
Navigation and menus
Menus here are well grouped and navigation is just easy. The touch screen allows easy navigation among modes. Before I go on with details – remember – this display has almost zero visibility on a sunny day.
Capabilities are good though – swipe left lets you choose the shooting mode, swipe up lets you zoom in and out and swipe right is showing the recordings.
Menus are OK – you have some good options and a lot of missing options. There aren’t too many picture quality options. But – here’s a nice one – 100FPS for 1080p and 200FPS for 720p. Yeah, there haven’t been many new cams supporting higher fps on full HD in the past few months.
It is fair to note the bugs you may face when scrolling up and down the menus – sometimes returning to the “home” screen is difficult. And switching from normal shooting mode to time lapse usually leads to a restart.
Colors are slightly over-saturated. Sometimes they even seem unnatural. Quality of the recordings is good, but not too detailed. While lower priced models that do offer stabilization like the REXSO Explorer K go up to 70mbits, this one outputs only 30 megabits in 4K. And the “zoom in” function on a camera without EIS – it just looks horrible and underlines what AEE probably have tried to compensate by pumping colors up. Battery life was always consistent with usually more than 1 hour of recording in 4K.
In the end – I’d say that this camera is just OK. I cannot rate it as good or very good. And it is not disappointing either. If you find it at a tempting price and image stabilization is not your top priority – then OK. I am sure that picky users that are looking to squeeze the best price-per-performance and feature ratio will likely skip it, but – again – having a convenient touch screen and interesting form factor make it very attractive. And you know the story – RedBull gives you wings! 🙂
Useful links ◕‿◕ :
AEE USA Website: