While GoPro for many years dominated the upper end of the action camera market, it payed less attention to entry-lever buyers who wanted the same GoPro experience but at an accessible price. Often losing these fans to other camera makers, however with the GoPro Hero this has changed to some extent. Priced at a reasonable $129 this camera is actually a stripped-down version of the GoPro Hero3 White Edition camera, capable of recording at 1080p at 30fps and 720p at 60fps.
At first glance, the Hero looks a lot like GoPro’s other cameras with its integrated housing. However unlike the other cameras in their line-up the Hero is placed permanently inside its housing. Since you can’t actually pull out the camera entirely, you have to buy a new one if you damage the housing. Luckily it can take a beating but if you somehow scratch the lens glass, you’re stuck.
When it comes to technical features this camera is quite basic to. Although the Hero has a MicroSD-card slot, which supports cards up to 32GB, and a Mini-USB port it lacks a Micro-HDMI port. This allows you to playback your camera’s recordings on a display or HD television. The Hero also doesn’t have an accessory port, which enables you to add Wi-Fi connectivity and LCD screen or an extra battery pack. Because the battery is built-in, there is no easy way to extend its 2.5 hour battery life.
GoPro cameras are made to capture moments quickly and easily. When it comes to photographing the Hero can take 5 Megapixel photos at 5fps. Compared to other cameras it’s not possible to film in slow motion, therefore the camera will need to have 120fps. While testing we noticed this camera records with better detail and colour than other inexpensive action cameras. Although still not amazing we consider the video quality to be pretty good considering the camera’s accessible pricing.
The development team at GoPro gave the Hero three cool recording features. The camera’s Auto Low Light mode makes sure the Hero will adjust to low light conditions, which not only improves the video quality but also makes sure you don’t have to fiddle with these settings yourself. The new QuickCapture mode means that this camera can switch on and start filming in one click avoiding the long time to start-up. With the SuperView feature the camera’s perspective widens to capture more around you.
Because of the Hero’s lower price, the bundled accessories are also kept to a minimum. In the box you will find the camera, its standard and skeleton backdoors, a Mini-USB cable, two adhesive mounts and several quick-release buckles. GoPro’s free editing software is free and works well, but if you want to quickly edit your recordings on the fly you can also check out the innovative Antix App.
Overall the GoPro Hero is a well-made budget-friendly action camera that actually delivers some nice-looking recordings for its price. Furthermore it’s waterproof up to 40 meters and comes with a variety of mounts. If you’re looking for an inexpensive, small, mountable video camera this is a good place to start.
- A value for money action camera.
- Very good video and photo quality.
- Waterproof housing up to 40 meters.
- Comes with GoPro’s editing software.
- It’s not able to record in slow motion.
- Camera sits permanently in housing.
- Battery life can’t be extended easily.