A Cheaper GoPro Hero9 Alternative | XTU S3 Pro (2022 Edition) Waterproof Action Camera Review

In this video, I check out the XTU S3 Pro (2022 Edition) Action Camera.

You can buy the S3 Pro for $109.99 from Amazon US ➡️ https://amzn.to/3BGPVRW or for £100.49 from Amazon UK ➡️ https://amzn.to/3zTJzgK and for €129.99 from Amazon DE ➡️ https://amzn.to/3SuAwdu – all with their included vouchers or coupons, so be sure to tick those boxes before checking out!

Other accessories mentioned:
MiPremium Backpack Strap Clip Mount ➡️ https://amzn.to/3TkEy8D UK https://amzn.to/3PWckhE US
Insta360 2-in-1 Invisible Selfie Stick ➡️ https://amzn.to/3QT51ZD UK https://amzn.to/3CxPXvU US

The S3 Pro 2022 edition camera offers up to 4K at 30FPS video recording, 20 Megapixel photo capture, it’s waterproof without a case for up to 5metres and 40meters with its protective case, you can connect to its own Wifi and control and manage it using its own mobile app, it is vlog ready, with its dual touch-sensitive screens, it has electronic image stabilisation and it comes with a lot of remote and mounting accessories that makes it ready to record any type of adventure.

In the box you get a paper instruction manual and customer service support card, there’s a set of cleaning and application tools, a USB-A to Micro USB charging cable, an external microphone boom, there is the S3 Pro camera itself, which comes inside its sealed waterproof case, with its attached shoe mount, there’s a bunch of velcro and fabric buckled straps, a lens cleaning cloth, then we have an array of mounting accessories, from bike mounts to tripod mounting and helmet mounts, there are some adhesive pads, cable tiles and there is an IR wriststrap remote control and a foam surround to reduce wind noise.

Camera Features

Looking at the camera itself. It comes already contained inside its waterproof sealed case. This case has pass-through buttons to the camera’s three main control buttons. This case allows the camera to go down to 40metres in depth, or you can remove the camera from the case and still plunge it into the water down to 5metres. Flipping up the case’s top clip you can get your hands on the S3 Pro camera itself. My first reaction was how tiny this camera is. I haven’t used a GoPro myself so I couldn’t compare its size against other action cameras.

You mostly control the camera with two buttons at the top and one at the side. Holding the mode button down swaps between the rear and front-facing displays, and next to it is the shutter or record video button. On the right side of the camera, the final third button is used to view the recording mode area and if held down it will power the camera on and off. Aside from these physical buttons, the rest of the camera’s operation is done through its 2” touch screen display and some limited operation is also possible on its smaller 1” front-facing display.

On the bottom there is a standard tripod mount that sits to one side, and depressing the latch on the door to the other side, you can open the bottom door to reveal the 1350mAh battery, and here is where you will insert the micro-SD card also. The inside of the door has some protective rubber padding to help seal the camera body from any water ingress.

The left side of the camera has a small speaker, and below this is another door opening slot that reveals the micro-USB charging port and mini HDMI port to cast video output to another HDMI display. Like the bottom door, this also has inner rubber padding to protect these ports from any water creeping inside.

Dual Displays & Capture Modes

The rear 2-inch touch screen display has a nice wide viewing angle and its display is bright and vibrant enough for outside viewing, with a touch-sensitive screen that’s responsive for any additional controls you wish to make.

Up at the front, you have the 170-degree wide angle lens that passes to the sensor inside that’s able to capture up to 4K at 30fps video or 20megapixel photos. There are plenty of options to dial down the recording resolution from 4K to 2.7K 30, 1440P 60 and 30, 1080P 120, 60 and 30, to 720P 240, 120, 60 and 30. You have a choice of h.264 and h.265 video compression modes, and there are plenty of additional options including customisations for video stability, exposure, sharpness and white balance.

The camera’s main video modes include normal, time-lapse, slow motion, quick stories, underwater and car looping. You can use this camera as a dashboard camera also but it doesn’t have any nighttime recording ability so its use is mainly for daytime recording. The camera and photo mode simple snaps a photo and then beings recording video.

Photo modes on this camera include normal, time-lapse, self-timer, burst photo, long exposure and raw photo. So in short, there are plenty of video and photo modes here to suit the type of filming or photos you wish to take on your adventures.

My Impressions

I tested this camera in the UK on a few trails on my e-bike, and also abroad on a summer holiday. So I managed to test this camera as a leisure camera travelling as well as an action camera. Overall it was a good accompaniment alongside my iPhone camera where I was more comfortable using the S3 Pro in scenarios where I wasn’t on my iPhone.

Its compact size allowed me to shoot in new places and matched with the right mount you can attach the camera onto cycle or motorbike helmets, without too much added weight. I attached it on a 2-in-1 Invisible Selfie Stick from Insta360. Thanks to its small size, I was able to get some unique shots that still felt discreet and less overwhelming for the person or persons being recorded.

Some Poor Accessories

I found some of its mounting accessories a little disappointing though. There was no clip-on mount, so I had to buy this MiPremium Backpack Strap Clip Mount from Amazon for £12, which helped clamp the camera onto the chest or shoulder straps of my backpack.

The plastic bike mount was also disappointing. It was more suited to smaller-diameter bike handlebars, so with its plastic material I wasn’t comfortable using it long-term, and I would look for a better metal-based bike camera mount instead.

Stablisation & Wind Noise

Attached to my e-bike I took the camera on a 20-mile ride to test out its digital stabilisation and microphone. With its electronic image stability mode set to the default state, I was pleasantly surprised with how stable the video was over some very rough terrain. There were some larger jolts in the feed at times, but the rest of the time it was stable and definitely usable.

Sadly, the same can’t be said for the microphone whilst at speed though. Most of the audio captured from the top-facing microphone wasn’t usable at all due to wind noise, even at low speeds. You also have to be careful when holding the camera by its body, if you hold it at the top, which is likely because this is where the shutter button is, you are prone to brush the microphone and create a ton of noise.

Covering the camera with its foam cover did a very good job of reducing wind noise. With the foam cover attached, I could finally hear myself very clearly during fast movement, however, I didn’t like the foam cover covering the whole camera as it makes it very awkward to use its buttons and view and interact with its display. I would have preferred a clip-on microphone cover just for the top instead.

Video Quality

As for its video quality, this camera does a good job at capturing video for its price range. it’s not going to compare to your latest smartphone camera and it struggles in low light and in dark, but in daylight recording, it can provide some good footage for its relatively low price of entry, yet even with some level of dynamic range, it can struggle when footage goes from dark to light. There are plenty of recording options that can take some time to find the best quality to battery life for the kind of recording you’re doing. During my 2-hour ride, I had to top up its 1350mAh battery mid-way through with a battery pack I brought with me and that was capturing at 1080P.

I found using the touch display at the front and rear of the camera was easy enough to frame shots and to be able to set the camera angle when mounting it, so you can see what the camera is capturing ahead of it. The app can help with this also, but it’s not as simple as viewing through the tiny displays and pressing the shutter button to start recording and just get on with your recording.

Photo Quality

When it comes to photos, your smartphone will likely be a lot better at capturing these, so I would mostly only focus on recording videos with this camera.

I took the camera underwater and although the pool water wasn’t that clear it managed to take some decent videos. There was an underwater mode, but I couldn’t tell the difference in quality when switching between them.

The S3 Pro is a decent action camera for taking videos or photos in situations where you wouldn’t want to use or mount your smartphone. At just a third of the price of a similar spec’d GoPro, which comes with a lot less camera mounting accessories, I would say if you’re looking for an action camera whilst on a budget, I would add this S3 Pro camera from XTU to your shortlist.


0:00 – Brief overview
0:42 – Unboxing
1:20 – Camera features
2:53 – My Impressions

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