by: Nick Gambino
GoPro is basically synonymous with high-octane, extreme sports videography. Whether it’s capturing a surfer’s sick stunt or capturing me crying like a 4 year old girl after jumping out of a plane for my first skydiving experience (true story). Now with the announcement of their newest camera in the Hero series, the Hero4 Session, GoPro is attempting to reinvent the game yet again.
This next generation camera is the first GoPro that doesn’t require a case to protect it against harsh impact, waters and other elements you may encounter along your insane journey. The Hero4 Session is itself waterproof surviving up to 10 meters in the water.
Not only is it protected without needing a case but they’ve significantly reduced the size allowing it to seem even more “not there.” In fact, it’s 50% smaller than the earlier Hero4 model and is 40% lighter. It literally looks more like an accessory than ever before.
While the size and need for accessories have been slimmed down it still captures 1080p video for a truly HD experience. For the photographer in you it captures 8MP photos and sports a Time Lapse and Burst Photos feature.
A complaint with earlier GoPro models were their button complexity. In order to keep the cameras minimal, buttons were never labeled and could easily be mixed up. But the new Hero4 Session model has only 2 buttons. There’s a single button centered on top encircled in red. This is your power on and record button.
A small button on the back of the camera will light up the display to allow you to change camera modes and check your battery life. That’s it. No more messing around with the buttons for an hour until you wind up chewing on the camera out of pure frustration.
The microphone is sweetly designed and meant to mimic the human ears. With one mic on the front and one on the back, if you’re filming in the wind it will intuitively switch to the mic that has the least wind pickup.
Now some negatives associated with this guy:
- Lack of a replaceable battery. The battery is built right into the camera and will last up to 2 hours on a full charge. You can charge it back up with the provided USB cable. This definitely sticks with the whole “less accessories” model but this isn’t always feasible when you’re outdoors and don’t have a remote charging pack. A replaceable battery would allow you to bring a few extra batteries along to continue recording all day unabated.
- Video recording resolution isn’t as high as the higher end GoPro models. Honestly, this isn’t a huge deal but if you were looking for true 4K imaging you won’t get it here. If you’re satisfied with just 1080p resolution (which most are) then you’re in luck with this one.
- It’s a bit pricey at $400. That’s not too much cheaper than the Hero4 Black at $500 or Hero4 Silver at the same price of $400. Both of these offer more features and 4K recording ability. I guess the price is meant to reflect the convenience, which I can see but dropping it a bit more than the other cameras would make it more accessible which I think is the whole point.
So there you have it, the new GoPro Hero4 Session. Despite a couple of negative points (nothing’s perfect) this camera is a huge step forward for GoPro and is sure to be a hit. After three years of development I believe GoPro struck gold with this one.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.