PROS / The new Hero3 Black Edition is lighter and captures better video than previous GoPro models and other action camcorders.
CONS / There are no zoom options with this action camcorder.
VERDICT / The GoPro Hero3 camcorder is the industry standard. We highly recommend it for its lightweight and sturdy construction that takes high quality video and photos.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
GoPro Hero3 is used by reality television shows, sporting enthusiasts, sports competitions and individuals all around the world. It has a small but solid build and takes some of the best video and photos of any action camcorder available. The best action camcorders can be used in or out of the protective casing which allows you to take it underwater. It also has the added benefit of a terrific Wi-Fi connection so it can be controlled by your phone or other mobile device.
The Hero3 can help you capture professional, high-quality images and videos. This model has better low light performance and has a high frame rate. The underwater camcorder can even capture full 1440p video.
The full spectrum of video quality is offered, including the following video modes: 1080p-60, 720p-120, WVGA-240, 960p-100 and 1440p-48. The high resolution 2.7KP-30 frames per second and 4KP-15 frames per second can also produce a beautiful cinematic look.
The GoPro Hero3’s reduced-distortion, six-element lens will allow you to select from three separate frames of view. This is a terrific option that will allow you to capture a wide angle or have a closer, more in-focused look. The flat lens cover helps deliver a stunning and sharp image above or below the water.
When using the GoPro Hero3 for basic recording, you’ll have approximately two hours of battery. However, when you move to the higher resolutions, the battery life will drop very quickly. When we were recording at the full 1440 resolution we had about one hour of recording time. This produced the highest quality video, but we were disappointed to see battery life drop so drastically.
The image and video quality with this action camcorder is the best on the market, and the various angle ranges help make recording even easier. The 12-megapixel single camera and full high definition video make the GoPro a very attractive option.
The GoPro Hero3 Black Edition fixes many problems previous GoPro and other camcorder models have. The first noticeable difference is the size. GoPro is thin, small and very light. It fits easily in your pocket, and even when the protective casing is added, it’s still lightweight and simple to use.
The Hero3 also fixed a problem with previous casings. With previous GoPro models, the casing had rounded lens covers. This added a fishbowl effect with recording and photos. It also distorted images so sizes of objects were clearly false. This glaring error was fixed with the GoPro Hero3 and the casing is now flat. This adds quality to the image, reduces the distortion and even makes colors brighter and clearer, especially underwater.
When using the GoPro Black Edition in its casing you’ll need to set up all your features and modes before you put it in the case. You need to select the format you’ll want to use because you won’t have perfect control after it's in the casing. When we tried to switch between recording and still-image while in the casing the camera occasionally froze, making it difficult to fix, especially when it happened 100 feet underwater.
Overall, the construction is solid. It’s small and compact but sturdy and tough. The casing is perfect for underwater use and also adds another layer of protection.
The GoPro Hero3 has a variety of other features that help make using the waterproof camcorder so much simpler than most others. One of our favorite features was the built-in Wi-Fi. The action camcorder includes a Wi-Fi remote which is waterproof, wearable and can control up to 50 Wi-Fi enabled GoPros simultaneously. It also means that the action camcorders can be run by a smartphone or tablet using a mobile app. This tool will allow you to preview your video so you know what is being recorded. This tool only works when you have Wi-Fi access, but it is a handy feature that can help you create the best videos and photos.
The Hero3 also has other features and tools to help improve your video quality. There are several mounts available for use. We also loved the time-lapse photo option which will take a rapid burst of photos. This tool is especially helpful because you can’t always tell if your desired subject is in frame. You can set the time lapse, take dozens of photos and you’re bound to have a few that are acceptable.
Help & Support
The action camcorders are very simple to use. But if you have any problems with use or ordering, there are several customer support outlets. We found the video tutorials to be most useful. We were able to watch other users walk through the same processes we wanted to complete. The list of videos is extensive and very useful for beginners and even those who have been using action camcorders for years.
The GoPro Hero3 has all the features you’ll need to capture high quality video and photos. The action camcorder can connect your smartphone or tablet to use as a remote and is truly the next step in video recording. The action camcorder is a perfect fit for adventurers, athletes, home users or aspiring videographers. It’s simple to use, has a huge array of useful features and can help you take video recording to the next level.