You have to admire a company that knows who its audience is. The GoPro HERO3+ camera wasn’t designed to film your child’s birthday party. In fact, it wasn’t really designed to film anyone at all.
Instead, the GoPro was designed for the outdoor enthusiast who wants to record their own point of view while doing the things they love—like skiing down a mountain, biking off-road or jumping out of an airplane.
Brackets and mounts galore
The first thing I noticed about the GoPro HERO3+ Silver Edition (the one I tested) was that it came with a lot of pieces. I mean a lot. Here’s a picture I took of everything spread out on a table:
Most of these pieces are brackets and mounts to help you attach the GoPro HERO3+ to a helmet, the handlebars on your bike or a dozen other things. And if the mount you need isn’t included, you can probably find it online here.
The GoPro camera itself is fantastic. Despite its tiny size, it packs a punch in video quality. If you want, it can record 120 frames per second (fps) at 720p or 60 fps at 1080p. Most full 1080p high definition video is recorded at 30 fps which means the GoPro HERO3+ is recording double the number of frames per second.
If you’re wondering what the point is of such a high number of frames per second when the human eye can barely detect movement beyond 15 frames per second, think of the quality of playback in slow motion. The higher the number of frames you capture in regular motion, the better the quality will be when played back in slow motion.
The GoPro HERO3+ is also waterproof up to 40 meters so yes you can take great underwater video with it too. It’s also capable of taking still photos, burst photos (up to 10 photos per second) and time lapse video (in intervals ranging from every half second to every 60 seconds).
Finally, the GoPro HERO3+ has an ultra wide field of view so it captures a much more realistic view of what you see when you’re recording. It really is quite impressive.
If you can not see the embedded video above please use the following link: GoPro: Lake Tahoe Pond Hockey
Watching your videos
Unlike most video cameras, the GoPro HERO3+ does not include a screen to play back your videos. Some may see this as a negative but not me. I see it as GoPro’s way to keep the camera as small as possible.
What GoPro did include was a host of other ways to watch your recorded video. One such way is to connect to the camera’s built-in Wi-Fi using GoPro’s free app on your smartphone. Using this method, you can watch any of the camera’s recorded video right on your smartphone’s display. I’m not sure why but I never got this feature to work. I was able to get the GoPro to broadcast it’s Wi-Fi signal but the app on my Galaxy S4 never recognized the camera.
Other options include connecting the camera directly to your television or computer using the Micro HDMI connection or just simply popping the memory card out of the camera and into your computer. The latter is what I did which is why I recommend getting a microSD card with an SD adapter just in case your computer or laptop doesn’t have a microSD card reader slot (regular SD is much more common).
Memory card not included
The one thing that disappointed me about the GoPro HERO3+ was that it didn’t include a microSD card to store your video recordings. Not even a starter one. I’m talking you can’t even use the camera until you buy one. Perhaps GoPro’s thought process was that the starter ones are such a joke that there’s no point in including one since you’re going to go out and buy our own decent one anyway.
For the record, the microSD card needs to be Class 10 or higher and can be any size up to 64 GB. I got mine at Amazon for around $22. I recommend getting one like I did that comes with the SD converter which makes it a lot easier to plug the memory card into your computer.
The GoPro will set you back around $300 which isn’t unreasonably high for a video camera of this quality. Besides, the type of person who will use the GoPro HERO3+ has probably spent ten times this amount on gear for their beloved sport. And while I never biked down a canyon wearing the GoPro HERO3+ on my helmet, I could still tell that this is the video camera of choice for any outdoor enthusiast.
Note: The GoPro HERO3+ in this review was provided to me by Verizon Wireless and can be purchased at your local Verizon Wireless store or at www.verizonwireless.com.