GoPro has definitely created a demand for innovation in the digital video camera market. While the traditional camcorder sales decline, the mountable Hero video camera sales have been increasing. The reason for this is that it makes sense to the newer generation. We want everything fast and easy. Could you imagine all the work to shoot a race video with a traditional camcorder?
GoPro Hero3+ is the newest model the company has released. It’s really nothing but an upgrade of the Hero3. What has then improved? Well GoPro claims the Hero3+ to have better batter life, sharper video and a new waterproof case.
But do these upgrades make GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition the best action camera available?
GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition
First of all as you may have noticed, there are 2 types of Hero3+: Black Edition and Silver Edition. The only difference between them is the camera specs and price. The black edition costs $400 and the silver edition $300.
GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition is the companies most capable camera available. The design has been kept completely the same as the Hero3 but the inside has been changed quite a bit.
Key Camera Specs
- 1080p 60fps / 960p 100fps / 720p 120fps
- 12MP / 30fps Burst
- WiFi, GoPro App + remote compatible
- 4Kp 15fps / 2.7Kp 30fps / 1440p 48fps
- SuperView mode
- Auto low light mode
In The Box
If you haven’t bought a GoPro camera before then here is a list of things that come with the camera:
- 40m / 131ft Waterproof housing. The new waterproof housing that comes with the Hero3+ has improved quite nicely. It’s is less bulky and lighter then the old version. This is only good news. Especially if you wish to use it to build a drone GoPro. The waterproof case fits the camera snugly. Another thing that I quite like is the new lock-clamp – it shuts a lot tighter.
- WiFi remote. The camera comes with WiFi to control the GoPro camera with either a smartphone, tablet or the special remote control. The WiFi has also been made twice faster than it’s predecessors.
- Assorted brackets adjustable joint segments
- Rechargeable Li-ion Battery and USB charging cables
- “Skeleton” back door (non-waterproof)
- 1 Curved and 1 Flat Adhesive mount. You can easily use these adhesive mounts to attach the camera anywhere.
Design and Accessories
The design is really simple and small. You can really move it to anywhere you want. It looks exactly the same as Hero3 without any changes. GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition weighs 73g / 2.58 oz. With the waterproof case the camera weighs 135g / 4.76oz. As you can see it’s one of the lightest cameras out there.
The only thing that has been changed is the new waterproof housing that has been made smaller. There is a small problem with that. The camera can be mounted to every accessory without any alterations at all that don’t require the waterproof housing. Accessories that were made to be attached to the old waterproof housing however will not work anymore. Of course you can still put the Hero3+ into the Hero3 housing but that will eliminate the “20% smaller and lighter” advantage, won’t it?
The Hero3+ Black Edition brings plenty of high resolutions. What really matters to us are the frame rates: 1080p 60fps, 720p 120fps, 960p 100fps, 1440p 48fps. With the black edition there is also the 2.7K at 30fps and 4K 15fps. To be completely honest then there is no need for the 4K. The 720p impresses me the most really. It can produce super smooth results in less time when editing.
Compared to the Hero3 it also has a new lens. That brings cleaner and sharper results. The quality of the footage depends highly on the lightning and resolution.
The GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition has also got a new “low light” mode within the camera. I have to say though that the new low light isn’t as effective that I would had expected. I mean it’s a step above the Hero2 but still not as good to buy the camera just for that. The Hero3+ is best used during daylight and there it blows away all its competitors.
WiFi and Battery
Hero3+ Black Edition is the only Hero3+ model that comes with the WiFi remote. You can use it to simply turn on the camera and even change modes. Thanks to the WiFi you can also see a live stream on a smartphone or tablet.
The remote view feature is an amazing idea but sadly there’s still a 2 second delay. It is a vast improvement. The Hero3 has a 6 second delay.
According to the company the battery life has also been improved. The average time is around 1 hour. There are different factors of course that will reduce battery life: such as cold weather, enabling wifi, constantly powering camera on and off, etc. The short battery life is the biggest GoPro shortcoming. It is best to bring spare batteries and remote chargers.
Hero3+ is the best GoPro to be used with drones. Do you necessarily need the black edition? That’s more up to you. Of course the 4K resolution is good but the frame rate is far too low and pointless to be use anyways. If your drone has its own housing then having a Hero3+ isn’t that important, you can also use the Hero3.
- Smaller and lighter housing
- High resolutions, good fps at 940p
- WiFi delay improved
- Battery life not as good
- Poor quality in low light conditions
There is no question that the GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition is the best GoPro camera available. It will allow you to shoot amazing videos anywhere! However if you already have the Hero3 then keep it. The changes aren’t that drastic that would require you to buy the new model straight away. If however this is your first time buying a GoPro then go with the Hero3+. The extra battery life and new housing will hopefully eliminate future problems with accessories.
The problems that GoPro has still been unable to solve are the live streaming lag and low light shooting. We can see a huge progress in the WiFi lag as it has improved quite a lot. The low light is still not where it should be to shoot videos in the dark. Hopefully we can see some more improvement with the next model.