Nikon Coolpix AW120 review: Tough and then some
Plenty tough, just mind the night time noise
- Excellent tough credentials
- Wi-Fi direct
- GPS maps
- Great day time photos
- Night time photos suffer from image noise
- Not the smartest auto mode
- No slow motion recording
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
The styling of the AW120 is on the subtle side. From afar it looks like an ordinary compact camera, which means you can take it white-water rafting and then to a wedding.
Look closer and a couple of traits stand out. There’s a vault-like door on its right charged with protecting the SD card, a 1050 milliamp-hour battery, the microUSB charging port and a micro-HDMI port. The waterproof door requires the pressing of a button and the rotating of a latch before it can be opened. It clicks in place when closed just like the ‘tick, tick, tick’ of a safe.
On the back are the usual buttons found on any compact camera. They rest adjacent to a 3in OLED display that plays back photos legibly, even when you’re under direct sunlight.
The final distinct design trait are two buttons that can be found on the AW120’s left side. The top button launches HERE maps, which works with an in-built GPS receiver to geotag photos and pin points of interest. The second button enables one hand use by allowing you to alternate between five modes by simply shaking the camera.
There are other signs of smarts on this tough cam, including the ability to send photos to your smartphone by creating a Wi-Fi direct connection. The tech also makes it possible to remotely control the Nikon AW120, although you will have to download the application first from either Apple or Google’s app store.Read more: BlackBerry Passport review: A smartphone going nowhere
These technologies nestle in a camera body that can be drowned in water 18 metres deep for an hour, withstand temperatures of -10 degrees celsius and drops of 2 metres.
Good Gear Guide dunked the Nikon camera into water a few times over our review period. Every time it emerged fine, whether it rested idle in a fish tank, took on water from a waterfall or tolerated the rain.
One time we dunked the Nikon AW120 in water and then placed it in the freezer for an hour. After cleaning frost from the lens, the toughcam stayed true to its name by immediately working.
Photos captured with the AW120 measure 16 megapixels in size. Nikon has fitted the cam with a 1/2.3in CMOS sensor, an ISO ranging from ISO 125 to ISO 6400 and 5x optical zoom.
The AW120 joined us on a seven hour hike, which involved traversing cliff edges and scaling rocks beneath waterfalls, at the Blue Mountains in New South Wales. Most of the photos captured by the camera retained the vibrant colours that made the sights picturesque. We particularly liked the subtle hues in the sky and the tones present in clouds.
The large 16 megapixel resolution came in handy as it helped hide some of the image noise. Photos will appear without flaw on most screens, but viewing them at native resolution reveals a great deal of image noise. Take photos at night and it only gets worse.Read more: Sony Xperia Z3 Compact review: A flagship at 4.6-inches
Familiarising yourself with Nikon’s camera interface doesn’t take long. This is a good thing because the auto mode isn’t the most intuitive. The AW120 requires Macro mode to be selected before close photos are snapped. Once done though, the compact camera can practically touch subjects while keeping them in focus.
Disappointing us was the panorama mode. There’s no way to manually stop a panoramic shot without dancing in circles. The resulting photos will either need cropping or will need to be deleted.
Sample photosRead more: Samsung delays Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge launch in Australia
Videos recorded with the AW120 max at a resolution of 1920x1080 at 30 frames per second. We feel action cameras should offer some slow-motion recording and the AW120 is at a disadvantage for not supporting videos with a higher frame rate.
Nikon’s Coolpix AW120 is a tough, connected and a proficient shooter -- provided the lighting is right. Situations with complex lighting will require some tinkering with the modes, but in the AW120’s defence, it will continue to chug along well after most of its rivals have failed.
Join the newsletter!
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Apple iPhone X
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Toys for Boys
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Google Daydream View VR Headset
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Bose SoundLink Micro
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Xbox One X
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 2 Google Pixel 2 review: not quite 'pixel perfect' but damn close
- 3 Google Home Mini review: a welcome addition to the smart speaker family.
- 4 Huawei Nova 2i review: Flagship features get smuggled into the mid-tier
- 5 Moto X4 review: This is what a world without MotoMods looks like
Latest News Articles
- Panasonic Announces Compact, Lightweight ultra-telephoto LEICA Lens
- Panasonic announce still-shooter flagship G9
- Sony Announces Development of New G Master Super-Telephoto Full-Frame E-Mount Lens
- Sony Expands Full-frame E-mount lens lineup
- Sony’s New Full-Frame α7R III Interchangeable Lens Camera promises to delivers both resolution and speed
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- LG V30+ review: The videographer's smartphone arrives
- Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- Xbox One X review: Brave new world
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- FTProject Manager/Scrum MasterNSW
- TPAndroid Engineer - Contract (6 months)NSW
- FTTest ManagerOther
- TPSenior Project OfficerNSW
- FTInfrastructure ArchitectOther
- FTITSM Senior Business AnalystOther
- FTSenior Project ManagerOther
- FTPython DevelopersOther
- TPSecurity ArchitectACT
- CCTest Analyst - BrisbaneVIC
- TPProject Manager - Pre Sales Development ProcessNSW
- FTJunior Product/Project Manager - North QueenslandQLD
- CCBusiness Systems Analyst (Expression of Interest)QLD
- FTSoftware EngineerNSW
- FTBusiness Analyst - Change Management - Government backgroundOther
- CCProject ManagerVIC
- FTService Desk/Technical Support - Windows OS & MS Office SuiteOther
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTPL/SQL DeveloperOther
- TPFull Stack Developer - AWSNSW
- FTSenior Test AnalystACT
- FTHosting/Virtualisation ArchitectACT
- FT.Net DeveloperOther
- FTHosting/Virtualisation ArchitectVIC