Review: GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition
GoPro has certainly made their name in action sport videography, But is all the hype really worth it. Over the past week I have put the new GoPro Hero 3+ Black edition through its paces and have the verdict.
This new Hero 3+ is chocked full of incredible new functions that really begin to set it apart from the rest. First off, this camera has the capability to shoot in 4K and now films in slow motion. There is a time lapse as well as a photo burst option. The audio records in 48kHz mono, but can record in stereo if you buy the separate external microphone. The devise is charged through mini USB and playback is supported by micro HDMI. Overall, The unit is a breeze to operate and offers many functions to turn your weekend out of the house into a visual masterpiece that you will be showing off for years to come.
In the future, we’d like to see a more fluid Wifi viewfinder. The current iteration lags a bit (which may be the processing power of the phone) as well as disconnecting every five minutes or so, which gets annoying pretty quickly.
Design and Aesthetics ★★★★★
The Hero 3+ Black Edition gets its name from its black sides and back. The original hero was completely silver. The Hero 3+ Black comes with a wireless remote that displays all of the information that the camera body does. The remote is made of a black rubberized plastic. Like the models before it, the case is a clear acrylic plastic that sports 3 metal buttons and a black metal ring that protects the camera lens. The black parts of the camera have a hatch pattern imprinted on it that makes the camera easier to hold. As far as sports cameras go, this unit is one of the most aesthetically pleasing.
Right off the bat, the feel of this product is phenomenal. The body of the camera is solid and the clear plastic cover fits like a glove. First, the camera is plastic with a single LCD screen just like its predecessors. One thing that is different is the size. The Hero 3+ is 20% smaller. Second, I found that the buttons were very big and easy to operate, even with the protective case on. All of the accessories are made of plastic, but any hinge point or locking mechanism has a metal pin or screw. I tested all of the waterproof seals by submerging the whole unit in one foot of water for 15 minuets and banged it around then checked of any leaks, there weren’t any. The only problem I found with the waterproof case is the latch. I found that once the latch was secure, it is difficult to get your fingers under the mechanism to lift and unlatch. The amount of engineering and development in this product is evident and impressive.
Price vs. Competitors ★★★★
You may look at this small package and think, “why so expensive”? Let’s take a look at a couple competitors. First the V.I.O. Pov which MSRP’s at $329. It has a few less shooting modes but still shoots in 1080P at 30 FPS and can also shoot in 720P for slow motion. The remote is a bit less robust there is no phone viewfinder option but comes with a 2” LCD viewfinder which may actually be more practical. Second, let’s look at the now defunct Contour Roam 2 which retails for $199.99. Another 1080P at 60 frames per second and does not require a case to make it waterproof. The price difference is pretty drastic, but you get way less shooting modes and no slow motion feature (and now, no support given). Finally let’s look at the Drift Ghost-S which MSRP’s at $399 – same as the Hero 3+ Silver. Same 1080P, same slow motion and for the most part, same shooting modes. However, this camera includes a 2” screen for playback. The remote gives you feedback but not the control as the GoPro remote.
If money is your roadblock from taking sick POV shots of yourself (if there’s a such thing), skip the Hero 3+ and put your phone in an Otterbox and mount it with a Velocity Clip – that’ll cost you less than a hundred bucks, video quality will be similar and you’ll have basically the same shooting options with a smartphone than with a GoPro. But if you’re needing high res video with lots of shooting options, we still think the Hero 3+ Black is the best on the market.
Own a piece of gear that you're dying to review? Read our submissions page and let's get it up on the interwebz!