Can GoPro’s new sub-$300 action camera meet the demands of adrenaline junkies, or will it bow out when the going gets rough?
Capture your antics with the new GoPro – this puppy even responds to voice commands (most of the time)
GoPro has dominated the action camera world for years, providing adrenaline sports legends and enthusiasts alike with the tools to confidently capture wild footage from unique angles. Aiming to extend their authority into the budget market, the entry-level Hero borrows premium features from GoPro’s flagship Hero 6 and wraps them in a streamlined, wallet-friendly package.
The Hero’s design is identical to the Hero 5 and 6, making it compatible with GoPro’s extensive mount and housing range. The camera is also shockproof and waterproof (to 10 metres). The responsive, sunlight-friendly two-inch touchscreen provides rapid access to playback and settings, with the replaceable battery dishing out around two hours of use per charge.
Voice control first appeared on the Hero 5 and it’s included here. If the GoPro is mounted to your crash helmet or you’re doing an activity that limits camera access, locating the shutter button can be a pain. Filming is now as easy as saying, “GoPro, start recording” and waiting for the beep. Voice recognition is, on the whole, incredibly responsive, though our Hero wouldn’t pick up commands over the sound of crashing waves when we went surfing.
Keeping things simple, the Hero offers just two filming resolutions: 1440 or 1080p at 30 or 60fps, as well as 10MP stills. Granted, most cameras and smartphones now offer 4K as standard, but we would rather take a GoPro skydiving. From board to bike, footage is crisp and vibrant, and Video Stabilisation mode helps keep clips smooth when things get turbulent. Auto Low Light mode works incredibly well when shooting in darker situations, like under a tree canopy; switch these modes off and you’ll quickly realise the difference they make. Audio reproduction is nothing to get excited about but it does the job. The budget price tag also means GoPro had to cut a few corners, so you won’t find a slow-motion video option in the menu.
If you live for cliff diving or base jumping and need to make banging edits to share publicly, you’ll probably find the Hero’s lack of 4K resolution a tad limiting. However, if you’re a part-time adrenaline junkie needing a reliable HD camera to shoot YouTube-ready footage of your adventures (easily edited into shape using GoPro’s Quik Stories app), the GoPro Hero is big-name budget action shooter to beat.