Sony RX0 II Action Camera Review

The Sony RX0 II arrived in 2019 and three years later it is still a great, nigh-invulnerable, action cam that produces excellent 4K video and stills. Although I lack in action worthy of filming, I took the RX0 II for a spin in my backyard, then for a walk, and let it do its thing. 

The one unique feature I immediately fell in love with is the pullout LCD screen that can tilt up to 180 degrees for use as a selfie cam, which if you know me, is quite important to soothe my obvious vanity. The Eye Autofocus is also impressively responsive for a camera that’s been on the market for three years. 

Sony wins major points for how indestructible the RX0 II feels, as it’s IPX8 waterproof (up to ten meters) and the build quality is outstanding It feels like one of the little black boxes they put on airplanes. The ultra-durable metal build remains one of the strongest in the category. 

How it would compare to the latest DJI Action 2 (opens in new tab), or the GoPro Hero 10 (opens in new tab) is something we will discuss down the road once we review those newer competitor cameras. For now, let’s jump into this Sony RX0 II action cam that got me off the couch and into the outdoors.

Sony RX0 II Action Camera price and compatibility

The RX0 II is available at retailers for $698 which places the three-year-old action and vlogging cam in a space all its own. The GoPro Hero 10 is priced at $399.99, nearly half the cost of the Sony however, with its plastic housing it’s not nearly as indestructible as the RX0 II. The DJI Action 2 also starts at $399, but the dual-screen combo that includes a second screen to use for selfies bumps it up to $519.

(Image credit: Future)

he Sony RX0 II can connect wirelessly to iOS or Android devices. It’s also Windows and macOS compatible so you can download your footage and images to virtually any device. Controlling the camera with either an iPhone or Android phone makes things easier as you can set it up on the included tripod and start filming or trigger it hands-free via the app if you’re going full action cam and have it strapped to a helmet.

Sony RX0 II Action Camera design

The build quality and heft of the all-metal Sony RX0 II make it stand out against its competitors and you can feel the difference in your hand that this little camera can take a pounding. Its competitors like the GoPro Hero 10 and DJI Action 2 camera have plastic housings which, although rugged and tough, don’t give you that feeling of invincibility that the RX0 II has. However, I will refrain from full judgment of those other units until I review them. 

The camera has an IPX8 waterproof certification for submersion down to 33 feet (10 meters), shockproof up to 6.5 feet, and crushproof up to 440 foot-pounds of force. When you add that all up gives content creators the confidence to film using the action cam in any kind of weather or scenario without fear of dropping it or getting it wet.

(Image credit: Future)

Measuring 2.4 x 1.6 x 1.3 inches, the RX0 II is similar in size to the GoPro Hero 10 (opens in new tab) (2.8 x 2.0 x 1.3), but both are larger than the positively puny DJI Action 2 (opens in new tab) (1.5 x 1.5 x 0.9 inches). The other thing that stands out is that the Sony’s Zeiss lens is fully protected behind a hardened plastic casing.   

At the top of the camera, we find recessed power and shutter buttons to power the unit on and initiate the capture of photos and videos.

(Image credit: Future)

On the rear of the camera is a 1.5-inch non-touch LCD 180-degree flip screen with six small buttons along the bottom and right side that control the different functions and adjust settings.

(Image credit: Future)

The RX0’s flip screen is a nice touch that separates it from the Hero 10 with its ability to be flipped 180 degrees for taking selfies or for vlogging. Unlike the Hero 10’s small front display, the RX0 II’s can be extended and angled when you’re behind the camera and want to take low shots and have better viewing angles during on-the-go filming.

(Image credit: Future)

To the left of the screen, we find a removable, weather-sealed door that securely hides a micro HDMI port, a microSD card slot,  and a microUSB port for charging or connecting to a computer or television. There is also a 3.5mm microphone jack to connect an external mic if you want cleaner audio than the onboard mic offers.

(Image credit: Future)

There is a second door on the right side and behind it, you will find the 700mAh lithium-ion battery.

(Image credit: Future)

Lastly, on the bottom, we find a 1/4″-20 female tripod mounting thread.

(Image credit: Future)

Sony RX0 II Action Camera video and audio quality

Now mind you this is an action camera and I am about as active on most days as dust rabbits in an old, abandoned house. So I took the RX0 II into my backyard and shot some video of me talking to the camera first vlog style and then from a short distance. The video quality impressed; the clarity and the colors were beautifully saturated as my brown tanned skin tone looked lovely, I almost felt pretty. 

I found myself similarly impressed with the microphones on the RX0 II, as it recorded my voice very warmly, with stellar clarity despite some background noise. I found that the quality of the audio I recorded was consistently excellent, so kudos to Sony for getting the microphones tuning just right. The unit also has a wind noise reduction function that worked surprisingly well. I found most times that audio recording was solid from up to twenty feet away, but best within 10 feet or so. 

Every day I sit in my backyard and watch the local birds feed and frolic in my neighbor’s bird feeder and bath. I filmed them and the camera caught all the action with standout results. I tested the super slow motion modes and the results were solid with satisfactory image clarity. However, as much as I appreciate slow-motion filming for its dramatic appeal, super slow-mo seems like overkill, but it’s a really fun to play with. 

From there, I walked around my neighborhood simply holding the unit by the tripod that Sony supplies to test the stabilization. It was solid, but not on a par with the latest cameras from its competitors as it was sometimes laggy, with motion blur that made some of the footage unusable for professional work. 

Again, I will point out that although there have been several firmware updates over the years, the Sony RX0 II is three years old. But it still holds up very well in comparison to its rivals in overall video and image quality.

Sony RX0 II Action Camera software

Let’s just get to it, the great thing about the RX0 II is it’s extremely plug and play and great for run-and-gun filming. Grab it, go out and shoot and when you whip out your laptop or get back to your editing station, just plug it in and drag the images and videos into whichever editing software you use and that’s it. It can’t get any simpler than that. 

There is also the free Imaging Edge application which you can download from the Google Play Store or from Apple’s App Store. With Imaging Edge you can connect your phone to the RX0 II and download your media or remotely control it and adjust the settings.Connecting it to your phone via the app makes the user experience much more enjoyable and I found it increases the overall functionality of the Sony RX0 II action cam. 

The Imaging Edge app is the best way to use this camera. Although the shutter button at the top of the unit truly makes it easy to just start shooting, I find that Sony’s on camera UI can be a bit much. It will slow things down as you have to use the tiny buttons on the back of the camera to thumb through what feels like an endless amount of settings pages to get to the functions you wish to adjust and change. So, once you get it set up and connected to your phone, use Imaging Edge because it’s faster and easier to navigate.

Bottom Line

While the Sony RX0 II’s nearly $700 price point may turn off those looking strictly for an action camera. It really is a nigh-indestructible option that professional videographers will enjoy as its many varied settings will grant them a great deal of control over things like exposure, and image quality. If you know your work will involve rough weather, diving into the water, or other risky endeavors, it is perfect for you and worth the expense, because it’s a content-producing tank. 

However, if you’re seeking something less invulnerable, but dead simple to fire up and start capturing photos and video, the GoPro Hero 10 or DJI Action 2 are more affordable alternatives.


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