Today, GoPro have launched an updated model of their superb HERO3 line of rugged action cameras, called HERO3+. As the new name suggests, it’s not a massive update but there are several new or improved features which make it a decent upgrade from the previous model. So, what’s new?
The actual camera itself is the same size as the HERO3, so will still fit in all your mounts etc., but the HERO3+ comes with a redesigned housing which is 20% smaller as it hugs the camera much more tightly than before. This also means you get less rattle when using the camera at high speeds and it’s lighter overall, although on the slight downside the new casing is only waterproof to 40m rather than 60m. However, if you have a new HERO3+ and want to dive down that far you could always pair it with an older waterproof housing.
The buttons on the new casing have also had a rethink so are larger and easier to press (see above), which will certainly help if you’ve got cold fingers when out and about!
30% Longer Battery Life
This is one of my only gripes with my HERO3 Black Edition – the battery life (especially when WiFi is on). Well, on the HERO3+ they’ve addressed this in 2 ways; firstly the battery is a new 1180mAh model compared to the old 1050mAh one so will hold more juice, whilst some software improvements should mean it uses that juice more slowly too.
Faster WiFi for Browsing Images and Previewing Shots
One of the cool features of the HERO3 is the ability to use the GoPro App on your smartphone to control the camera’s settings more easily and see a “live” preview of the framing of your shots. “Live” being the operative word there, if you don’t mind a delay of several seconds. Well, the new HERO3+ has a new WiFi chip that’s meant to be 4x faster so the delay is reduced to nearly nothing.
There’s not much new in terms of video quality, although the new lens does provide sharper video and better images, as well as an Auto Low Light mode which adjusts the frame rate for lower light conditions (lower frame rate = more light let in, so brighter image). However, I’m not sure how well that will look in the real world as motion will likely look much less smooth.
This new video mode uses more of the sensor to produce a 1080p image, resulting in a wider angle shot getting more action into the frame.
The new features aren’t limited to just visual capture, and the audio boffins over at GoPro have improved the audio offerings to give clearer, crisper sound and they’ve also improved the wind-noise reduction technology to get rid of that nasty wind-noise.
So, all-in-all a pretty decent yearly update although probably not big enough for me to think about selling my HERO3 and splashing some more cash. I’m very glad to see the physical dimensions of the camera itself staying the same so retaining compatibility with accessories. (That “20% smaller” could be a bit of a misnomer, although perhaps not as they spentd most of their time in the casing which is what’s smaller.) The better WiFi performance and battery life are the key features I would say, and the improved picture quality from the new lens has already been complimented as producing a wider dynamic range so that can only be a good thing in terms of the pictures it produces.
The new HERO3+ will be available from 14th October in Black and Silver Editions, and you can pre-order from Amazon using the links below: