As people get more active and camera technology gets better, more and more folks are capturing their adventures on mini digital action cameras. The biggest impediments to capturing your experience have been cost and ease of use.  Early leaders in the action camera game were extremely expensive and for the average Joe, proved to be cost prohibitive.

As more brands have come onto the market, the price has come down and the quality of the images has become much crisper. Better controls have made the cameras easier to use without extensive setup.

One such camera to recently enter the marketplace is the XCEL HD Action Camera. The XCEL HD offers extreme ease of use. One drawback to other cameras is that all of the functionality had to be accomplished using only two buttons to toggle through menus and configuring the cameras could be time consuming and confusing. XCEL has clarified this process with easy-to-use menus with four buttons to easily select your camera mode, either video, still photos or time lapse, along with configure settings for that mode.

SPX_1478The XCEL shoots super clear 1080P video in either wide or ultra wide formats. It can also shoot at a reduced resolution of either 480 or 720 to provide longer record times.

Another benefit of the XCEL HD is that it is not as limited in battery life or record time as other action cameras. The XCEL was able to record for more than 45 minutes at 1080P on a single 32GB micro-SD card and the battery had barely been depleted a single bar in that time. This is a vast improvement over other cameras that die after only about 20 minutes of recording. This better battery life and higher capacity let you run the camera much longer, so you can be certain to get your perfect shot when it counts, rather than worrying about rationing recording time and hoping you still have capacity or battery life when you need it.

91b0gMTfNgL._SL1500_The XCEL also comes with plenty of awesome accessories to allow you to mount it in a variety of ways to best capture your experience. Unlike other brands that require you to purchase these accessories separately, the XCEL comes in two packages – the Hunting and the Sport. The Hunting package comes with a bow mount that attaches to your stabilizer mounting hole of your bow. It also comes with a mount that will attach to the majority of 40-42 millimeter scopes on your rifle, so you can capture that great kill shot and see it from the same perspective as the hunter looking through the scope. It comes standard with a head strap mount as well, so you can attach it directly to your noggin for a first person perspective.  The Sport package comes with several adhesive mounts and a roll bar attachment to connect the camera to your ATV/OHV or handlebars.

Also included with the XCEL is a carrying bag for your camera and accessories, a waterproof housing, either camouflage in the Hunting package or clear in the Sport package, a wireless remote with a wrist strap, an HDMI cable to play back on a TV, a charging cable and data transfer cable, a lens protector for use without the housing and a lens cleaning cloth.

One feature of this camera that is not found on its competitors is the ability to plug in an external microphone both with and without the waterproof housing. A mic port unscrews on the rear of the housing or it can be plugged directly into the camera when used without the housing. This will ensure that your audio and video are both excellent quality. For general sound recording, a built-in onboard microphone will capture audio without the external optional microphone.

In addition to the included accessories, XCEL offers a wide range of attachments from dog harness mounts to a wide selection of helmet mounts, to shotgun attachments to connect to the barrel, to standard poles, tripods and suction cup mounts. The XCEL is also compatible with accessories and mounts from other major companies.

The only two features this camera is lacking is the ability to wirelessly sync with an external device to preview your shots and the range on the remote control is only about 40 feet, which makes it difficult to set it up away from you at longer distances. These are features that you will pay a premium for on other cameras.

But if you have been wanting to get into the action camera craze without spending the big bucks, the XCEL HD Action Camera is your ticket for more than $250 less than its competitor. It is also available in the XCEL HD2 with 4X zoom and many extra features.

Check them out on your next visit to your local Sportsman’s Warehouse.