When we say action and sports camera, which is the very first manufacturer that goes through your mind? Is it GoPro? More than likely! You see, GoPro's products are probably the most well known cameras on the market right now. This company managed to make a name for itself, being recognized by many sports enthusiasts out there.
So, weather you're skiing, hiking, sky diving or playing paintball or airsoft, you know that the GoPro is a name that you can trust when wanting to capture all those cool scenes!
Now, most of you who are familiar with GoPro cameras, probably are aware of the fact that the older Hero3/3+ Black had the same performances, so it might not look like the newer Hero4 is any better. But I think you'd be wrong. Although performances look similar, Hero4 makes use of better and updated components, and comes with a load of new recording options.
So, in the end, it might seem like it's the same with Hero3 on the outside, but it's a totally different ball game on the inside!
Some of you will ask what will happen with the older Hero models, such as the Hero3+? Well, this one, along with Hero3 and Hero, will remain in the product line for now, as GoPro stated. Obviously, none of the three will be able to compete with the newer Hero4 in terms of quality!
But it's ok if you want an older model, we don't judge you!
When you decide to buy the Hero4, know that, besides the camera itself, you will also receive a waterproof housing for it, amongst other accessories. Now you're able to take the GoPro Hero4 underwater! But no deeper than 131 feet, though. What you don't get in the package is a charger, so you'll have to charge your camera via computer or USB wall adapter. Also, there's no memory card included with your purchase, meaning that you'll have to buy one separately.
Good news is the new camera's dimensions are the same with the old Hero3/3+'s dimensions, which is not bad, since you can use the same housing for both of them.
Bad news: the battery is different, and can't be switched between Hero4 and its older "brothers". GoPro has redesigned the battery slot, making it easier for you to replace or remove the battery.
On the left side of the camera we have a cover that protects the Micro-HDMI and Mini USB ports that can be easily removed, and a microSD slot for cards up to 64GB. The Mini USB port can be used for both transferring the content you've recorded from the camera to your PC and for charging your camera, as well as for attaching an external microphone to it.
Button layout isn't different from the older models. However, the Wi-Fi power button has been replaced, on the right side, by the "Hilight Tag" button. This new button allows you to mark (or tag) any cool moment you've recorded, so you can easily find later on, when going through hours of video. You no longer have to sift through the whole recording to find that one cool moment!
From what we know, this same button can be used to access the settings when not recording. GoPro has managed to put things in order and made the menus a bit easier to use. Back in the days, menus were a mess. No more of that now! The touchscreen is, as well, easy to use, videos look fine when played back and can be used for previewing before actually shooting a scene.
If you want, you can control the GoPro Hero4 with the help of an wireless remote via its Wi-Fi function. And speaking of Wi-Fi, it drains the battery. It shouldn't be left on when you're not using it.
Battery life is an annoying issue with GoPro cameras. So far, we haven't found one GoPro camera that can last more than 1 hour and 30 minutes on one full charge.
For some of you, this might not be a big problem, while for others, battery life might matter a lot. If you're fine with this, go ahead and buy a GoPro. If not, choose between an iOn Air Pro 3 or a Drift Ghost-S, both of which have a better battery life than the GoPro.
You have a lot of possible resolution and frame rate combinations at hand for when shooting a video. It's up to you to test as many of these combinations as you can, to check and see which one suits you the best. But in general, most people will be ok with 1080p at 60fps, 960 at 100fps and 720 at 120fps, even though the camera can record at a resolution that can go to 4K.
Video and photo quality is good, not necessarily the best. When viewed at a small screen size, a video recorded with GoPro Hero4 looks very good. Mind you, we're talking about a camera with a rather small size and sensor here. Unfortunately, there's no image stabilization included in its settings, so videos can be shaky.
Similarly, photo quality is good if don't enlarge the photos. Because as soon as you do that, there's quite a lot of noise in them and they look like they've been painted, not taken with a camera. But hey, the Hero4's sensor isn't much bigger than the sensor of an average point-and-shoot camera, so I don't think you should expect any DSLR quality here!
Bottom line: even though it has some drawbacks, the GoPro Hero4 (especially Hero4 Black - Read GoPro Hero 4 Black Review) is one action and sports camera I would advise you to buy if you have some cash to splash!