HERO3+ Black Edition Review

The Black Hero3+ is the latest iteration from GoPro, and, as the name indicates, this is an improved version of the Hero3 Black rather than a completely new model.

In comparison to the old HERO3 Black Edition, it features images that are sharper by 33% and, perhaps best of all, the HERO3+ can now be submerged to to 40 meters (131 feet) in its waterproof housing (included), which is twice the distance of the HERO3 Black Edition.

The Good

  • Offers the highest quality video yet from GoPro, including a 33% sharper image than the HERO3.
  • A slimmer profile, making it easier to take with you on the go. The size of the camera is unchanged, but its waterproof housing has been reduced such that the camera feels about about 30% smaller than the HERO3
  • Sleek, sexy, and modern look and wider buttons that offer a more pleasing tactile experience.
  • Improved battery life (but still the camera’s weakest point)

The Bad

  • It’s not the HERO4. It features incremental improvements but nothing is radically different
  • The battery life may be improved, but not by much (an hour and a half for the HERO3 and two hours for the HERO3+)
  • In the low light mode, the camera produces images with less noise and more detail but that comes at the cost of a little color
  • The Wi-Fi connection still needs work

The Consensus

The HERO 3+ Black Edition is an improvement over the HERO3 Black Edition but it is more of an upgrade than anything else.

If you already own a HERO3 Black Edition, you may want to wait until the HERO4 is released.

It you are a tech-spec geek with a need for the newest gadgets… Well, you don’t need us to tell you to buy this!

The Essential Details

SpecsDetails
Recording MediaSD memory card
Total Pixels12 megapixels
Still Image Quality12 megapixels
FeaturesShockproof
Waterproof
What's In The Box?HERO3+ Black Edition Camera
131’/40m Waterproof Housing
Wi-Fi Remote
Wi-Fi Remote Charging Cable
Higher Capacity Li-ion Battery
Quick Release Buckle
Vertical Quick Release Buckle
1 Curved + 1 Flat Adhesive Mount
3-Way Pivot Arm
USB Cable
Battery Life: From 1-2 hours
Image quality: 12 Pixels
Audio quality: is average
Wifi is enabled

HERO3+: Black Edition Reviews on Amazon

Hardware and Design

The first thing to say is that the HERO3+, whilst an improvement on its predecessor, the HERO3, features mostly minor iterations.

At first glance, the HERO3+ also looks smaller than the original HERO3, but the actual camera size is unchanged. So how did the company pull off what looks to be an optical illusion? They cleverly reduced the size of its waterproof encasement, giving the Hero 3+ a much slimmer profile than its predecessor. The company says the HERO3+ is 30% smaller than previous models of GoPros.

The new model comes with wider buttons that we found made for a pleasing tactile experience. Overall, the Hero 3+ Black is more attractive than the Hero 3, due in part to the reduced size of the rubber frame protecting the camera lense. This camera is simply a little sleeker, a little slimmer, and a little more modern looking than previous models. If design matters to you, this is the best that GoPro offers.

Like previous models, the action LEDs and the power button are located under the LCD display on the front. There is an extra LED light and shutter on top of the camera, and the the Wi-Fi toggle button is on the left. On the right side of the camera you’ll find a microSD card slot, and a mini-USB/micro-HDMI connector port. There is no 3.5mm mic input included in this device, so if you want audio input, you’ll need to purchase an additional adapter. There is also a battery cover that safeguards the camera’s 1180mAh battery and the trademark Hero port, which can be used for attaching other accessories.

The most important functional improvement made to the HERO3+ is that it can now be taken to a depth of 40 meters of water, whereas the previous model could only travel up to 20 meters deep.
HERO3+: Black Edition Reviews on Amazon

Video and Image Modes

The company has re-introduced its “Protune” feature, which provides the user with better control during post-production editing. You can choose between narrow, medium, and ultra wide field of view (FOV) settings and use aspect ratios ranging from 17:9 to 16:9 to the traditional 4:3.

At 12MP, the sensor has remained the same in the new model, and the Hero 3+ supports the following frame rates and modes of recording: WVGA, 720p, 960p, 1080p, 1440p, 2.7K and the standard, 4K. Keep in mind that, as you increase video resolution, the frame rate decreases. For instance, WVGA allows you to shoot videos in 240 fps, but in 1080p mode you can’t shoot more than 60 frames per second, and your recording will look better at even lower rates like 24, 30 or 48 fps. If you want to shoot 4K videos, then you are confined to only 15 fps.

GoPro has included new modes in this camera that are designed to allow users to capture great shots without excessive adjustment of the camera’s settings.

The first one is the “SuperView” mode, which captures videos in 4:3 mode and then transforms it into 16:9. As a result, you will have TV-friendly videos with a wider view. Another notable new inclusion is the Auto Low Light Mode, which allows you to get more exposed shots in low lighting conditions.

The imaging section includes capturing photos at 5, 7 and 12MP modes, and you can shoot time lapses ranging from half a second to a minute. The burst mode can be set at 3, 5 and 10 shots per second or 30 per two seconds. The company claims that the improved lens delivers 33 percent sharper images than the Hero3 model.

With the re-introduced “Protune” feature, the camera is now able to choose between narrow, medium, and ultra wide field of view (FOV) settings and use aspect ratios ranging from 17:9 to 16:9 to the traditional 4:3. With frame rates and modes of recording like WVGA, 720p, 960p, 1080p, 1440p, 2.7K and the standard, 4K, it is important to note that as you increase the video resolution, the frame rate inversely decreases.

In the WVGA you can shoot videos in 240 fps, in 1080p mode you can shoot at a max of 60 frames per second but even at lower frame rates like 24, 30 or 48 fps they will always look great but you are confined to 15 FPS when shooting 4K videos. The HERO3+ does delivers a 33% sharper image and that is certainly something to be happy about.
HERO3+: Black Edition Reviews on Amazon

Performance

The Hero 3+ Black Edition records the highest quality video of any GoPro camera to date. It comes with a SuperView mode that is designed to capture fast-moving clips, which is especially useful when capturing the high-paced action sports that so many GoPro enthusiasts participate in. Positioning your subject in the center of the screen is the best way to enjoy the full capacity of this wider frame mode.

Low light mode produces images with less noise and more detail but sacrifices a bit of color in its shots in order to do so. Generally speaking, when compared to images captured by the Hero3, the images captured by the Hero3+ look sharper, brighter, and boast significantly better color tones. The enhanced Wi-Fi functionality enables the users to use companion apps more effectively than ever before, but the Wi-Fi connection is still not great.

Both shockproof and waterproof, the HERO 3+ is a seriously rugged action cam, as all GoPros are. The main complaints are the less than perfect WiFi capabilities and the short battery life. We also found the audio quality to be thoroughly average, and look forward to an improvement in this area in future iterations of the GoPro series.

Battery Life, Wi-fi, and Other Features

The Achilles heel for this product are its battery life, Wifi and audio. Although not terrible, an improvement in these 3 areas will solidify GoPro as one of the best performing action cameras on the market.

The HERO3+ is also capable of providing up to 4 times faster playback and transfer speeds to your mobile device, and the new battery performs well, allowing the user to film for an entire day with moderate shooting or shoot continuously for 3 to 4 hours. If you need to edit your recorded videos, GoPro has you covered too.

The video editing software can be downloaded for free from the GoPro website. Unlike traditional video editors, you have to organize your videos manually before importing and editing using a pre-defined template or a custom-made one.
HERO3+: Black Edition Reviews on Amazon

Accessories

The Hero3+ Black Edition package includes a Wi-Fi remote, waterproof housing, 2 sticky mounts, a USB charging cable, 2 quick release buckles and a 3-way pivot arm. Though the package includes fewer goodies than the original model, it should be more than enough to begin with.

Conclusion

With better shooting capability, its smaller case and longer-lasting battery, the GoPro Hero 3+ is undoubtedly the best camera the company has released to date. That said, it is more of an upgrade than a new release, so you will want to consider your particular needs when deciding between this and the original Hero 3 in Black, as that will be perfectly sufficient for many users.
HERO3+: Black Edition Reviews on Amazon

HERO3+ Black Edition Epic Action


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