Other Camera Companies may deny it, but GoPro created the action-cam market. With so many competent knockoffs out there now, the onus is on GoPro to prove its action cams still rule the roost. And the California-based company hopes to prove that with its latest and greatest Hero 3+ Black Edition camera. GoPro’s fame comes from the original HD Hero cameras, which delivered stunning video quality (for the time) in a compact form and at an affordable price. The company builds on that legacy with its sharpest iteration yet, the $400 Go Pro 3+ Black Edition. Encompassing a dizzying amount of resolutions from WVGA all the way up to 4K, and frame rates from 240 to 15—the GP3+ lives up to its name. In addition to the camera’s video features are a plethora of still-image options. The camera supports multiple megapixel resolutions, burst rates for up to 30 shots per second, and several time-lapse options that include shooting a picture at intervals varying from every half second to every minute.
That isn’t to say the visual experience is perfect. The 4K setting only supports recording up to 15fps, which looks choppy, and still photos look a little desaturated and compressed. Much like its predecessor, the GP3+ struggles in low-light conditions and produces a lot of noise in dark environments. The previous Go Pro 3 Black was plagued with firmware issues, but we’re happy to say we had no such issues with the GP3+ out of the box. The biggest selling point of the camera is arguably GoPro’s legendary build quality. The protective case is just a smidgen smaller than the original GoPro 3’s, measuring 2.7×1.5×2.2 inches. But from our experience accidentally dropping it face-first onto concrete while skateboarding, no damage to the camera was done beyond some scuffs on the enclosure (which is easily replaced if heavily damaged). The new case does lower diving depth though, from 60 meters for previous models to 40 meters. Those who need to go to 60 meters can use the new camera in the previous model’s enclosure.
As with the GP3, you can avoid the twobutton interface by using the cam’s integrated Wi-Fi to connect peer-to-peer with your Smartphone. The free Android or iOS app gives you video preview, and it lets you easily change settings, and stop and start recording. The video preview does lag by about a second, but it gets the job done. The GP3+ features a buff in battery, going from the GP3’s 1,050mAh to 1,180mAh. We ran it down by recording 1080p at 30fps and saw about 78 minutes of record time. Your mileage may vary, depending on settings. In image quality, the GP3+ is improved over the GP3, but you’d have to pixel peep to see it.
While the Go Pro 3+ Black Edition may not be a huge improvement over the GoPro 3 Black Edition, it’s a no-brainer investment for those who are on the fence about upgrading from a first- or second-gen Hero, or for those who want to dive head-first into the action-cam scene. On top of that, you can’t beat GoPro’s extensive mount ecosystem. Whether you’re biking or jumping out of a plane, there’s a mount here for you. Even though the GoPro 3+ Black Edition is not quite a perfect camera just yet, its flaws are minor and its strengths are kickass. price $400, www.gopro.com Related Affordable GioneeMobile Elife E6 smartphone launched in India.