GoPro Review: How to choose the best action cam?
08/12/16 – Update more action camera, scroll down to read more detail
GoPro is a world-leading manufacturer in action-oriented cameras. Its long line of cameras has done a great deal in revolutionising the photography industry. Specially engineered for quality, performance and durability, they have actually turned out to be a favorite for photographers at all levels. But all of us desire the best in any product. That is why we have decided to give you this GoPro review regarding the best GoPro cameras on the market and how to go about selecting the ideal model for your needs.
You may be asking yourself what criteria we have used in selecting the best GoPro cameras on the market. Well, to eliminate any forms of doubt or bias, we have done our selection based on our experience. Therefore, we guarantee that the information provided is 100-percent. Dedicate some few minutes of your time to read more and discover what exactly what you need to use.
We have actually categorised our review into two different sections: Performance Level Review and Entry Level Review.
Performance Level review
In the performance level category, we are going to review three models that that have set the bar high in the world of digital cameras. These are Hero4 Session, Hero4 Black and Hero4 Silver. Lets look at each one of them and discover the features that make them stand out.
1. Hero4 Session review
Hero4 Session is unarguably the lightest and smallest model in the GoPro series. This camera has an overall dimension of 1.5 x 1.4 x 1.5 inches and weighs a mere 2.6 ounces. Despite its miniature size, it features a sturdy and rugged construction capable of withstanding daily abuse. It is shatterproof and comes with a rubber casing to provide excellent shock absorption. Some times you need to give up something to get another thing, this GoPro lacks of a screen and we felt that it processed everything a little bit slower than other models. It could be easily understandable as the size is so small and light. This camera is sealed with rubber rings that render is waterproof to a maximum depth of 33 feet. Therefore you can go with it for a swim without risking damage to the inner parts.
The camera utilizes 8MP lens that features a refresh rate of 10 fps. It delivers quality images and video. The GoPro video qualities offered by the camera are 1440p30, 1080p60, and 720p100. The camera comes equipped with mounting hardware for added convenience. It is backed with a 1-year limited warranty to cater for any defective parts or poor craftsmanship.
One favorite function that we love the most is also the best advantage of this model is one-button function. Everything would be controllable by one button only. You would find it very convenient once you get used to it. Before using Session, we usually get confused about what button to use with other models, as there are many buttons on it. However, you know what, it is built-in battery. You cannot change the battery once it’s out. If you have issues with the battery, the only option is taking to the store to repair it. It is such a disadvantage that nobody wants. After all, we have to say again, you have to give up something to get other things. It is fair for what it brings to us. It is definitely born for intense action sport.
Here a some tips to help you choose a extended battery for GoPro camera
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One rival model that delivers almost an equal level of performance as Hero4 Session is Polaroid Cube+. However, its video quality is relatively low and that may actually be the reason why it has a lower price tag compared to Hero4 Session. However, we do not recommend the Polaroid cube or Cube+ as the audio quality is a big disadvantage.
* 40-percent lighter and 50-percent smaller
* Video up to 1440p30
* Dual mic system
2. Hero4 Black review
Every professional photographer might be familiar with Hero4 Black. It has constantly featured among the best GoPro cameras on the market as well as the best action cam. It is slightly heavier and larger compared to the Hero4 Session. The camera measures 3.9 x 9.6 x 3.9 inches and weighs at 1.3 pounds. Like most GoPro cameras, it is encased in a shatterproof and waterproof housing. Hero4 Black boasts of excellent waterproofing qualities that range to a maximum depth of 131 feet. This makes it ideal for filming underwater.
Hero4 Black delivers superior picture and video quality. It utilizes a more powerful 12MP lens that has a refresh rate of 30 fps. The camera delivers HD video modes that include 4K30, 2.7K60, and 1080p. It is integrated with a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology that enables it to link to your computer or smartphone device. The camera has a Smart remote control feature that has a range of 600 feet.
Read more info about GoPro Smart here
You might want know that this model is actually born for play-hard and professional. For one thing, it does not have the touchscreen LCD like GoPro Hero4 Silver (next review). Hence, you need to use an app in your mobile devices to make the changes. That’s why we recommend it suitable for those who are really master in using action camera, especially GoPro. At the highest price in GoPro series, you definitely pay for what you want.
Sony 4K action camera FDR-X1000V is one of the big competitor of GoPro Hero4 Black. The price is similar to Black as well. However, you have to add more expensive extras to enjoy all of its capabilities. If you want the best of the best right out of the box, this is the one for you.
* 2x the performance
* Video up to 4K30
* Time-lapse video
3. Hero4 Silver review
This camera comes in a silver finish that gives it a sense of style and class. It is a lightweight model that weighs at only 2.9 ounces. Hero4 Silver features a dimension of 4 x 4.1 x 9.7 inches. This makes it portable enough to suit those on the move. The camera is ruggedly constructed to withstand impact. Like Hero4 Black, it can be used for underwater filming to depths of up to 131 feet. One of the striking features of Hero4 Silver is its LCD screen. This provides excellent displays that are easy to read in any lighting condition. You will not take much time to get used to it. If you want instant access to your pictures and videos, Silver can deliver. The price is quite a bit less than the GoPro Hero4 Black though both have the newer enhanced image sharpess. The main drawback to the Silver is the short life of the battery. One battery will get you through the event, but if you have a lot going on, you will need more than one.
The performance of Hero4 Silver is almost comparable to that of its black cousin, the Hero4 Black. It has a powerful lens that features a resolution of 12MP. The lens captures video and photos at a maximum speed of 30 fps. The video modes delivered by this camera include 1080p60 and 720p120. It has excellent Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connection that enable you to immerse in the ultimate photographic experience.
Step by step to pair your GoPro cameras
Hero4 Silver rates well against one of its competitor models; Sony DSC-HX60V/B camera. Just as Hero4 Silver it features a 3-inch LCD display. At 20.4MP, its resolution is quite higher but the refresh rate is lower at 10 fps. Sony DSC-HX60V/B offers an added benefit of an image stabilization feature. However, Hero4 Silver proves to be a more versatile model even though they come at the same price range.
* Built-in touch display
* Time-lapse video
* Video up to 2.7K at 30fps
Entry Level Review
If you are a beginner, fancy tech is probably what you are looking for in a camera. If you want a cheaper but still effective of the GoPro camera, there are some entry level variations to those listed previously. The lower prices for these fit more readily within mose budgets, and for everyday novice adventures and photographers, the tech included in these is more than enough to suit your purposes. These include Hero Review, Hero+, and Hero+ LCD. Lets review each of these remarkable models and the features that give them an edge over other competitors.
1. Hero Review
This is among the earliest version in GoPro’s long line of digital cameras. It is the most affordable among GoPro’s line of action cameras. Hero features a lightweight, slim and compact construction. This renders it super small and ultra-portable when compared to other entry level models. The camera weighs in at 3.9 ounces and features an overall dimension of 4 x 4.1 x 9.7 inches. Hero was engineered towards providing excellent impact resistance and great waterproofing qualities. The camera can be used 131 feet underwater without causing damage to the delicate inner components.
The camera incorporates a 5MP lens and a refresh rate of 5 fps. It delivers great quality video footage in 1080p30 and 720p60 mode. The lens provides a wide-angle view for a more engaging video watching experience. The camera features an automatic low light mode designed to deliver great images at the correct light intensity and contrast.
It does not include remote access for taking picture or Bluetooth and wifi capabilities, but that does not stop it from taking good pictures and videos on the go. One main drawbacks for this particular camera is that the battery is internal (like the GoPro Hero4 Session) and cannot be switched out. This means that your video capture on outings in limited to the battery life. We think you will be get over these disadvantages for the price and performance this little camera offers.
Hero actually compares well with Yi Action Camera that comes at the lower price. At that price, it still process 1080p video quality at 60 fps and 16mp photos from the Sony sensor. Moreover, it also got panoramic view with 155-degree ultra-wide angle lens. Better than GoPro Hero, it has wifi-bluetooth.
* Video up to 1080p30
* Ultra-wide view angle
2. Hero+ review
This is actually an improved version (Wi-fi enabled) of the Hero camera. Hero+ has been redesigned to be more compact and lightweight. The camera measures 2 x 9.6 x 4 inches, which allows it to easily fit in the hand of the user. It is lightweight enough and you wouldn’t even need a mount to keep it steady. It provides excellent waterproofing qualities similar to that of Hero: 131 feet. It has a rubber-coated housing that prevents it from shattering during accidental falls on hard surfaces.
Hero+ has a relatively higher resolution lens of 8MP. However, it features the same refresh rate of 5 fps as Hero. It delivers quick video and photo capture. The camera generates a video quality of 1080p60 and 720p60. One feature that gives it an edge over Hero is its Wi-Fi connectivity. This enables you to easily connect to the GoPro app for the ultimate photographic experience.
Hero+ is not without its competitors. SJCAM SJ5000 Plus WiFi action camera levels well with Hero+. However, Hero+ has an edge when it comes to construction quality and design. This makes it a more durable choice that will last for years under proper maintenance. SJCAM SJ5000 is an ideal choice for beginners in the photography industry.
* Video up to 1080p60
3. Hero+ LCD review
This camera is actually a step-up of the Hero+ model. It is redesigned to include an touch-screen LCD that provides unsurpassed video experience. The screen features a touch display to provide hassle-free operation. This camera is way smaller. It measures 2.8 x 1.4 x 2.8 inches and weighs at 4.5 ounces. Such a compact size enables it to fit and balance well in the hands of the user. Like the previous reviewed models, it is built to adapt to water environments at a maximum depth of 131 feet.
Hero+ LCD is equipped with 8MP lens and has a refresh rate of 5 fps. It offers video in 1080p60 and 720p60 modes. This camera provides the luxury of a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity that makes it possible to pair with smartphone devices and computers. It comes with all the essential hardware required in mounting.
Sony HDR-AS30V might probably be the best alternative to Hero+ LCD camera. These action cameras share a lot in terms of design, performance and pricing. But the Sony model features a higher resolution of 12MP though it does not rate well against Hero+ LCD camera when it comes to handling.
* Touch LCD display
* Video up to 1080p60
Like any other product, these best GoPro cameras are not without competitors. These rival brands have actually done a great deal in introducing some notable models in action cameras that have made a huge mark in the photography industry. In this GoPro review, we also list some big competitors of GoPro cameras to help you in choosing the best action cam. The top brands that provide a stiff competition against GoPro cameras are as follows:
This is one of the world’s leading brands in action cameras. It has gained great customer trust over the years for its quality products and excellent service. Its most notable models include Xiaomi XYACWW, Xiaomi Yi Ambarella A7LS, and YI Action Camera.
SJCAM specializes in the manufacture and supply of versatile cameras and camera accessories. It boasts of over 16 different camera models to select from. Some of its most popular models include SJCAM SJ5000x Elite, and SJCAM SJ5000 Plus WiFi.
Sony Action Cam
Sony is not a new name in the world of digital cameras. It has continually hold a top place among the world’s leading brands. The company has a long line of models designed to fit both entry level and professional photographers. Its most outstanding models are Sony HDR-AS20, Sony HDR-AS30V, and Sony DSC-HX60V/B.
This is another upcoming brand that has made a huge impact in the photographic industry. The company designs and manufactures cameras, camcorders, and other accessories. Some of its top action cameras include Polaroid Cube+ Mini, Polaroid XS100I, and Polaroid XS7.
Garmin VIRB XE : full HD recording, slow-mo modes and built in sensors
Truly built for rough conditions, VIRB XE provides gyro based imagestabilization and stunning clear 12MP photos at up to 30fps. The rugged compact camera fits every activity and all conditions with a waterproof rating of 50meters, with no case needed. Use the VIRB App on your smart phone for real-time viewing while recording, remote control and instant share functions. G-Metrixin the camera and from compatible Garmin devices and sensors create true excitement by adding animated gauges and graphs to your video with action data likespeed, g-force and other performance data.
Ricoh WG-M1 : The first action cam from Ricoh (formerly Pentax)
The RICOH WG-M1 is Wi-Fi enabled, waterproof to an impressive depth of 32 feet without requiring a protective housing, shock-resistant against a fall from 6 feet, and cold-resistant to temperatures as low as -10 DegreeC. With its ultra-wide-angle lens, this extraordinary camera captures dynamic Full HD movies with a realistic sense of depth. The WG-M1 provides a host of advantageous features including multitasking that allows the user to check real-time images during both still and movie recording, and a 1.5-inch color LCD monitor. Approximately 14.0 effective megapixels captures vibrant, high-resolution still images, while its high-speed, continuous shooting capability records subjects at a speed of roughly 10 images per second. In keeping with the rugged theme of the WG series, its lightweight body features an unparalleled outdoor-oriented design and large control buttons that make operating the camera a breeze in any condition. Combining the WG-M1 with an array of newlyintroduced camera-mount accessories opens many options and creative solutions in capturing adventure-packed images and movies
TomTom Bandit : 16MP sensor shoots 4K videos as well as 1080p footage at up to 60fps and 720p at up to 120fps.
Just shake to edit. The TomTom Bandit is the first ever camera to come with a built-in media server, eliminating the need to download footage before being able to edit it.
The camera works with a companion app, making it possible to create and share videos in a matter of minutes, simply by shaking a smartphone. The TomTom Bandit Action Camera is equipped with in-camera motion and GPS sensors to automatically find and tag exciting moments based on speed, altitude, G-force, acceleration and heart rate. Highlights can also be tagged manually with a tagging button on the camera or the remote control.
The TomTom Bandit works with a smartphone app, which includes a superfast viewfinder. Footage can be reviewed instantly with the smartphone app thanks to the built-in media server. In editing mode, a simple shake of the smartphone instantly creates an exciting movie. Users can then easily make changes, add music and add overlays of favorite metrics, such as speed, before sharing with friends.
Liquid Image XSC 338WApex Series Snow Goggle Video Camera : An action camera built into ski goggles.
The Apex HD is a Full HD Video/12MP Photo Snow Goggle This new model features a rotating camera lens to dial in the best angle for your stance whether you board, ski, or ride a snowmobile.
The Apex HD records video in 1080P at 30fps and features a HIGH ACTION mode of 720P at 60fps for smooth motion.
The audio features wind guard technology for high quality sound. This new model also features a continuous shot photo mode. Still images are recorded at 12.0 MP.
The 136-Degree camera lens positioned just above the eyes captures True POV footage of everything you see on the go as with the original models from Liquid Image released in 2011.
New features on this model include a streamlined frame with a spherical lens.
The compartments for batteries and memory are diverted to the sides, creating a more aerodynamic design with better weight distribution.
The Helmet Compatible Apex HD comes with both an Amber and an Ionized dual pane, anti-fog, 100% UV Protected lens. he face foam is replaceable to change out as needed. The product includes two straps to customize the look of the goggle and comes with everything you need for a day of recording on the slopes as well as an AV Cable for direct playback from Camera onto an HD TV.
JVC Adixxion GC-XA2 it’s extremely easy to use, has a built in screen, and is waterproof to 16.4 feet.
Battery last almost 2 hours and 8 hour drive “Dash Cam” filming experiences.
The Photo quality was descent for an action camera. It’s not a DSLR thought so don’t keep your expectations to high. It’s only 8MP. If you can pay the the extra cash go with a GoPro. This doesn’t handle vibrations nearly as well as GoPro. Also, the GoPro will over saturate the colors. It’s fake but makes your videos stand out with green grass being very green and blue sky being very blue.
Drift Stealth 2 The design is solid and rugged, so it should survive all of the weather conditions you can throw at it
The Drift Stealth 2 Action Camera features a 40% reduction in weight compared to the HD Ghost model while retaining 1080p30, 720p60, 12-megapixel stills, and slow-motion recording capability.
The camera body is water-resistant, meaning it can be used in rain, snow, or mud, and is shock resistant for drops from up to 6.6′. Of note for winter sports users, it can withstand freezing temperatures down to 14°F.
For underwater use there is a 131′ housing, which is available separately. On the side panel the Stealth 2 features a color-coded status display screen to help you keep track of parameters such as battery life, record status, and more. The camera records to microSD/SDHC memory cards up to 32GB in capacity.
Anyone searching for the best GoPro camera needs to put these models into great consideration. They are designed for ease-of-use, efficiency and deliver quality videos and photos that are second to none. Unlike most high-end models, they allow you to benefit from their excellent features at more affordable prices that are within the range of the average photographer. If you are keen on the best and strongest camera, GoPro Hero4 Black is the number one camera for you. For normal activities or just the beginning, we recommend the Hero+ LCD or Hero+ because of its price and the performance. If someone is familiar with action camera and wants to upgrade to another level, the Silver is the best choice.