DJI has announced a follow-up to its Osmo Action camera, and it’s got a completely new design — the Action 2 drops the Osmo name and focuses on modularity with a suite of additional parts and accessories that attach to the camera magnetically.
The camera module itself is small (it's 39mm square and 22mm deep) and includes a 12MP sensor capable of 4K recording, a lens that provides a 155-degree field of view, and a 1.76-inch OLED touchscreen covered by Gorilla Glass. Using magnets, you can attach another touchscreen (which also boosts the battery life and adds an array of microphones), an extra battery, or a variety of mounts that let you attach it to tripods or GoPro mounts, or even wear the camera as a necklace.
Speaking of GoPro, any action cam is going to face comparisons, and the Action 2’s specs fall short when put side by side with those of the recent Hero10 Black: it can do 4K at 120 frames per second like the Hero10 but lacks any higher-resolution options (the Hero10 can do 5.3K60), and its 240fps super slow-motion runs at 1080p instead of the GoPro’s 2.7K.
It’s worth keeping in mind that the Action 2 is tiny in comparison — it weighs just 53 grams, which is almost exactly a third the weight of the Hero10. DJI also includes 32GB of built-in storage (expandable with a microSD card), something the GoPro lacks.
There’s also the system of magnetic accessories DJI is working on, which lets you customize your camera in a way that’s not really possible with the GoPro. If you need a second screen or more battery, you can just snap them on — and then take them off when you want a compact or discreet camera. Other accessories, like a headband or magnetic ball-mount adapter that can be attached to tripods, are similar to GoPro accessories but will (in theory) be easier to attach to and detach from the camera.
The Action 2 also has action cam table-stakes features like electronic stabilization, horizon leveling, and the ability to livestream or be used as a webcam, as well as some neat tricks like a color temperature sensor that DJI says will help produce better colors in complicated lighting situations or underwater.
Comparing the Action 2’s price with GoPro’s isn’t straightforward, due to GoPro’s pricing model and the DJI’s modularity. You can get the Hero10 for $400, but that requires having a $50-a-year subscription — otherwise, the camera is $500. The Action 2 power bundle costs $399 and includes the camera, power module (which extends your record time to 180 minutes versus the camera’s 70 and adds an extra microSD card slot), a mount, and a lanyard. DJI tells me you can’t buy the camera by itself, which seems like a shame.
If you want to replicate the Hero10’s built-in front-facing screen, you’ll have to go for the $519 dual-screen bundle, which includes the same things as the power bundle (but swaps out the battery module with the screen one) and adds a ball-joint adapter as well. While that’s technically more than the GoPro’s non-subscriber asking price, the Hero10’s lack of built-in storage means that you’d probably make up the price difference buying a microSD card anyways.
DJI says that the dual-screen bundle will be coming on November 2nd, and the power combo, along with most other accessories, will be coming in “mid-November.”