Market leaders GoPro have launched their fourth generation action camera. The GoPro Hero4 Black is GoPro’s most technologically advanced yet. Despite the improvements in video performance and image quality, GoPro has kept faith with their familiar casing and dimensions. It’s a move which will please consumers as it allows backwards compatibility with the previous generation of cameras.
Main features & Specs
While there is no LCD screen to display your pictures or video, using the iOS and android companion allows Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity to smart devices for reviewing your footage. In any case, with a 170° field of vision, it seems unlikely that much of the action will be missed.
A new feature in this model is the ability to tag your footage as it is being shot – a useful tool for editing videos later on.
Unlike the Silver version, you need to buy the Touch BacPAC accessory to control the in-shot touch screen features.
GoPro claims that the mono microphone is twice as powerful as previous generations but it still lacks directional control and means buying an external microphone if sound quality is important to you.
Photo and video quality
The major attraction of the GoPro Hero4 Black is the picture quality.
4k video at 30 frames per second is twice the power of the Hero3+ while the camera also offers full HD with the 1080p at 120fps. It’s the best digital quality found in the action camera market.
QuikCapture mode means the camera begins shooting as soon as the shutter button is pressed and continues until it is pressed again, while time-lapse photos can be taken by holding the button down for 3 seconds.
Using just three buttons for the controls simplifies operation of the camera and GoPro have redesigned the navigation menus to give them a more intuitive feel.
With a new settings button, these are easier to operate although any touchscreen functionality is lost when the camera is housed in its waterproof casing.
The casing provides waterproof protection and is the same as the Hero3+.
There are some minor changes to the camera itself, including repositioning the Wi-Fi and camera status lights to the side. Moving to the base of the camera, the battery compartment now houses a 3.8v 1160mAh type that is easier to change on the go.
The USB and micro HDMI connections are hidden behind hinged flaps rather than detachable covers, a vast improvement on the Hero3+.
GoPro has developed a wide range of mounts that mean with the minimum of fuss, the camera can be attached to almost anything, enhancing the adaptability of an already-powerful camera.
The issues with battery life remain.
In 4k video mode, the GoPro Hero4 Black will need a battery swap in just under an hour with Wi-Fi and remote on. In all modes with Wi-Fi on, the longest it will last is a little over 1¾ hours although that can be stretched to 3 in basic 720p mode.
Best to make sure that any spare batteries are close to hand as typical usage will give you around an hour’s worth of life.
Pros & Cons
- Outstanding video quality
- Excellent Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity for remote control and viewing
- Strong range of accessories makes for an adaptable camera to suit all needs
- Slow start-up time
- No LCD screen although available as an accessory
- No image stabilisation
The GoPro Hero4 Black is sure to become a market leader and the benchmark by which the competition will be judged. The picture quality is amazing in such a small camera and is its major selling point: 4k and HD footage with ¼ speed available for slow-motion viewing is a giant step forward in action cameras.Check Current Price