GoPro’s go anywhere, do anything action camera is better than ever
The GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition is the company’s most advanced action camera yet. Bursting at the seams with features that would impress even industry professionals, the Hero3+ Black Edition is perfect for both amateur and professional videographers. In this review, we’ll be talking about the Hero3+ and what it brings to the table compared to the previous years’ model.
Smaller, sleeker, still indestructible
Since pioneering the action camera market back in 2004, GoPro has released several models of their go anywhere, do anything camera. The Hero3+ is more of an incremental update than anything else to the already excellent Hero3. While it’s physical size is the same as the previous model, GoPro has slimmed down the waterproof case of the Hero3+ compared to the Hero3. The result is that the camera is relatively smaller and more compact while wearing the new case, although owners may still opt to purchase the bigger case as it has a better depth rating, able to go as deep as 60 meters, while the smaller case that comes with the Hero3+ is only able to go as deep as 40 meters. The clasp on the top is easier to manipulate now, though it still requires quite a bit of effort to open, which is not such a bad thing, all things considered.
As far as its durability goes, you needn’t need to worry. With the waterproof housing, the camera is nearly indestructible, able to take a knock (or two) without any ill effects. Don’t believe us? Check out this video footage of a GoPro being dropped from the edge of freaking’ space.
A videographer’s dream
The new model also boasts a new and improved lens, which the company says has 33% improved sharpness over the previous model. The Hero3+ has the ability to record video at dizzying number of resolutions, starting from WVGA all the way up to 4K. As a rule of thumb though, the higher you go up the resolution ladder, your FPS (frame-per-second) drops considerably, though most of the time you’ll probably stick to the tried and tested 720p and 1080p resolutions running at 60 FPS.
Aside from the resolutions, you’re also able to change the camera’s field of view, going from wide, medium and narrow. In practical use, we found that the wide FOV was the best, as it gives you the best view of whatever you’re doing in relation to how it’s mounted.
The camera is also capable of shooting still images in all the FOVs that we mentioned in a number of resolutions, and call take photos while the camera is recording. You can take photos in 12, 7 and 5-megapixels, as well program the camera to take time lapse shots.
Like the Hero3, the Hero3+ has WiFi built-in. This allows you to control the device via your smartphone using the GoPro app (that you can download from either Google Play or iTunes) or through the included WiFi remote in the package. The feature is a godsend, because to be brutally frank, the Hero3+’s UI is probably the most difficult and convulated we’ve seen in a gadget. And since the WiFi remote basically follows the same flow as far as navigation is concerned, the easiest way to configure the Hero3+ is through the GoPro app. The app also gives you a live preview of what the GoPro will be seeing, allowing you to set the viewing angle right away before going out to use it.
A new feature for the Hero3+ is SuperView. To put it in laymans terms, it’s simply a way to capture 4:3 footage and formats it in 16:9. There’s also the new low-light mode, wherein the camera automatically drops frames for better better low-light performance.
Whatever the features of the Hero3+, it’s all worth squat if it can’t deliver decent image quality. You’ll be happy to note then, that the Hero3+ delivered amazing image quality. We compiled most of our action shots when we went airsofting in CXG, Cubao and shooting in Armscor, Marikina in the YouTube that’s linked above. We mostly shot in 720p, and while it doesn’t look like it in the YouTube video, the raw video looks great. Some of the people who saw the raw footage thought that we were shooting in full HD. We’ve uploaded the raw file in our public drobox, which you can download here.
Mediocre battery life
The Hero3+ isn’t perfect of course. While GoPro claims that the Hero3+ has better battery life than the previous model, quoting around 2 hours of run-time, that number dramatically drops when you use WiFi. What’s worse is that when you turn on the WiFi of the device, it doesn’t automatically turn off when you turn off the device, which further drains your battery. We originally intended to take action footage of our airsoft weekend, but the Hero3+ managed to empty its battery halfway through the day, thus the added footage from our range day in Armscor. If you buy the Hero3+, be sure to invest in an extra battery (or two).
The best action camera in the market
Simply put, the GoPro Hero3+ is possibly the best action camera in the market today. Its dizzying amount of shooting modes, small size, convenient WiFi feature and amazing image quality makes it the action camera to get.