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Osmo Action Review: Why the Front-Facing Screen Changes the Game for Travelers

The latest product from DJI, the makers of drones like the Mavic Air and stabilizers like the Osmo Mobile, is the Osmo Action, the newest action camera to hit the market. At first glance, the Osmo Action bears a striking resemblance to GoPro’s Hero series, but there’s one major difference that sets it apart to the long-running industry favorite—the front-facing screen.

Price and where to buy it: $349 on the DJI Website.

For travelers, this is a game-changer—and not just for your selfie game. Personally, one of my biggest frustrations when using action cameras in the past was that I could never be exactly sure what I was shooting when I positioned the camera to film myself.

So it’s no surprise that when I took the Osmo Action out for a test ride, I found the front-facing screen to be my favorite feature. Not only was it useful for framing group shots that captured the background, but it was also great for confidently framing any more creative shots, like when I needed to place the camera at the bottom of my bicycle basket. When everything was in place, I flipped the screen with ease to make sure I was getting the frame I wanted. With travel photography, you’re not always going to have a tripod handy when the moment strikes, and oftentimes you have to make do with what you have on hand. The Osmo Action is a great tool for travel photographers who need to react quickly and capture unique shots with confidence.

In addition to its full-color front-screen, the Osmo Action is a sturdy piece of equipment with a standard action camera M.O. It’s constructed to withstand drops as high as five feet, water depths as deep as 36 feet (without the underwater casing), and temperatures as low as 45 degrees Fahrenheit. The battery life will last anywhere between one to two hours depending on which settings you’re using, but note that shooting in 4K with stabilization will drain your battery power more quickly. With its quick-switch controls, high image quality, and stellar RockSteady stabilization, the Osmo Action is a top-tier investment for travel photography.

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How the Osmo Action Rates:

  • Usefulness: 10/10. For those who have used a similar type of camera before, the Osmo Action is user-friendly with a touch-screen that makes it easy to quickly switch between settings. The screen visibility was also noticeably good in direct sunlight.
  • Value: 9/10. A little more expensive than GoPro’s most basic models, but still cheaper than their best model, the Osmo Action isn’t quite a steal, but it’s a good value for a camera of this caliber.
  • Portability: 10/10. It was a breeze to carry this around, and I was happy with how quickly the camera turned on.
  • Cool Factor: 10/10. You’ll get professional-grade footage and photos with this, with a lot of room for customization. Plus, your selfie buddies will love being able to see themselves in the front-facing screen.

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Editor’s Note: Reviews are based on usefulness, portability, durability, value, and “cool factor.” Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product. If you have any questions or comments concerning our reviews or would like to suggest a product for review, please email us at editor@smartertravel.com

By Jamie Ditaranto

Jamie Ditaranto is a traveler in a love triangle with writing and photography. Follow the drama on Twitter @jamieditaranto and Instagram @jamieditaranto.

Ditaranto joined SmarterTravel in 2015. She loves ecotourism, cities with history, and discovering local hangouts. Though she likes all the continents equally, she holds a special place in her heart for rainy little islands.

Her work has also appeared online at USA Today, Huffington Post, Business Insider, and other publications. You can check out her photography on her website.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "My instant camera comes in handy for giving instant gifts to new friends."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Befriending penguins in Antarctica."

Travel Motto: "You have to get the hard places out of the way first."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "On short flights, the window. For long flights, the aisle."

Email Jamie at editor@smartertravel.com.

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