GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition 1

When it comes to recording extreme sports like Skydiving, Bungee Jumping, or even free climbing there isn’t much that you need to do so. If you have a GoPro camera handy you’re all set and really what more could you ask for. With the new GoPro3+ Black Edition you have the capability to record in 4k and take pictures at 12 megapixels, if that wasn’t enough you can also take the thing underwater and really push your creative limits. Of course this is the most common use for the GoPro so me being a geek I decided to test it out at CES 2014. My plan was to be completely mobile and not need a laptop to do anything for my videos, if you have ever been to CES, or any other convention like it, you know that the amount of time available is never enough to see it all. That being said I can tell you that when you’re at CES you don’t really have much time to sit down, especially if you are part of a small team trying to get as much out of the show as possible. Using a GoPro3+ Black Edition camera and my trusty Galaxy Note 3 to put out quick posts and clips of CES 2014 all while staying completely mobile and rushing to my next meeting was my solution to staying mobile and capturing demos, events and meetings. Sounds simple enough right? Well let’s just see in my review of the GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition.

GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition Box Contents

 What’s In The Box:

The GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition is a high end device and with a high end price comes some great box contents such as:

  • The GoPro Hero3+ Camera (Of Course)
  • High Capacity Li-Ion Battery
  • A Wireless Waterproof Remote
  • 131’/41m Waterproof GoPro Housing
  • Charging/Transfer Cable For GoPro
  • Charging Cable For Wireless Remote
  • Quick Release Buckles
  • Curved and Flat Adhesive Mounts
  • 3-Way Pivot Arm

That’s quite a bit of stuff to play with. Personally I like the Wireless Remote, huge lifesaver. I’ll tell you why later on.

GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition Lens

Physical Attributes:

When I first saw the GoPro camera I knew it would be tiny but taking it out of the box, man it was something else. It is really small, I mean I knew how small it was going to be but you have to know, I am used to carrying around my DSLR for recording which after a while can get pretty heavy so the fact that I can have a camera that can shoot 4k video and 12mp photos while still fitting in  my pocket is a great physical feat all in itself.

The lens is big and it has to be, that’s how you get all those amazing wide angle shots that make this style of video shooting a true GoPro video. As far as the material and build quality goes it feels great in your hand and has a grip with it, which is great because you wouldn’t want to put a scratch on that big beautiful lens.

GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition Waterproof HousingGoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition Waterproof Housing 1

Performance

It’s a GoPro camera so it has a tough and proven track record for the extreme side of things. The camera proved durable and portable as it should be. Thanks to the waterproof housing I was able to get in and record where others with their thousand dollar cameras could not which made for some really great footage. The videos in 4k came out great and file size wise HUGE which was to be expected given the recording format I was using. Photos were great as well, however while using the Protune feature of the camera some of the photos did get really washed out.

Video Quality:

This is a no-brainer, it’s a GoPro with 4k video recording, I think that says it all. It records videos in such an amazing way and well just watch the video below to get an idea. Keep in mind YouTube doesn’t do the GoPro justice as it only goes up to 1080 :(. The thing I loved the most is the insane amount of choices when it comes to video recording formats.There are exactly 11 different video modes that you can choose from through the Android app and these include;

  1. 4k (17:9)
  2. 4k
  3. 2.7k (17.9)
  4. 2.7k
  5. 1440
  6. 1080 (Super View)
  7. 1080
  8. 960
  9. 720 (Super View)
  10. 720
  11. WVGA

That is quite a array of choices, personally I found myself switching between 1080 Super View (that’s the one that gives you the signature GoPro wide angle recording format) and 4k.

 GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition Image Quality GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition Image Quality 1

Photo Quality:

It shoots 12 megapixel images that look great. I did find that some images were a bit washed out or too overexposed when using the Protune feature so I left that off and manually tweaked the photos myself. Using the GoPro Hero3+ during CES 2014 was great and having such a tiny camera was great as it allowed me to get some shots that were nearly impossible to get among the mobs of journalist that flooded press conferences. Thanks to the Android app you also have quite a few options when it comes to using the GoPro Hero3+ as a camera. These options include; the ability to change your photo resolution (12mp wide, 7mp wide, 7mp med, and 5 mp med), choose how many shots are taken via continuous shot (single, 3SPS, 5SPS, or 10SPS), change how many photos are taken on a second basis in Burst Rate mode (3/1 sec,5/1 sec,10/1 sec, 10/2 secs, 30/1 sec, 30/2 sec, 30/3 sec), and you can also change the settings of the Time-Lapse mode to fit when a photo is taken based on seconds (0.5 sec, 1 sec, 2 sec, 5 sec, 10 sec, 30 sec, 60 sec). As you can see GoPro really went above and beyond when it comes to the GoPro Hero3+.

GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition Suction Cup Mount

Accessories: 

I received the GoPro Jaws(Flex Clamp) with the GoPro Hero3+ and I had a blast using it. Unfortunately a certain idea of mind didn’t quite pan out so I was unable to use it during CES. After I came back though I purchased the GoPro Suction Cup mount and well I have not stopped using my GoPro Hero3+ camera since. The GoPro Suction cup mount can withstand winds of up to 150 mph (which is crazy) and well living in the city the closest I was going to get to that was going 70 mph down the freeway. I will admit it is a bit scary putting a $400 camera on top of your car with nothing but a suction cup but for the sake of this review I did it and it was great. The mount held up easily to the 70mph winds and there was little to no shake in the video which is, quite frankly, amazing to me. All in all I’d say a GoPro Hero3+ isn’t complete without at least one accessory so check out the link below and see which one suits your needs.

GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition App

Android App

PROS:

This was the main feature of the GoPro camera for me, the Android App. If it wasn’t for this application I would have had to carry around my laptop just so I could transfer videos off the memory card. Thankfully the GoPro Android app allows me to connect to my camera via Wi-Fi and move videos off the GoPro wirelessly. This came in very handy as I didn’t have to stop and sit down to transfer files to my laptop.

GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition App Live View

The second most valuable feature of this app is the Live View function. I can connect wirelessly to the GoPro camera from my Note 3 and see what the GoPro is seeing. This is pretty much a necessity as there are quite a few other Journalists trying to get their own shot, especially during Press only events. Being able to mount the GoPro camera on a monopod and use my Note 3 as a viewfinder really helped one up some of the other guys at my eye level.

GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition App Settings

The third and final thing that the GoPro app allowed me to do is tweak the settings and modes. The GoPro can shoot in a variety of different video formats (4k, 1080 super-wide, 720, and many more). It can also take photos in both single, time-lapse, and burst mode. With all these features to use being able to use my 5.5 inch screen to tweak the settings is a whole lot easier than having to go through the menu on the GoPro camera itself.

Additional Features:

These are the other features that you get with the GoPro app:

  • Locate Camera- Makes the GoPro camera beep so you can locate it (No GPS :/)
  • SD Card Capacity- Allows you to see exactly how much room is available on your Micro SD Card)
  • Upside Down- Allows you to record the video right side up while the physical camera is upside down
  • Delete files- Allows you to delete the files when connected wirelessly to the GoPro Hero3+ (thank you captain obvious)

CONS:

GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition Thumbnails Missing

When using certain format types the GoPro app does not provide a thumbnail making it hard to see which video is which. Now normally this wouldn’t bother me so much but the fact that the videos are not being stored in a organized manner makes it harder to know which video is which. The only way to figure that out is to play the video. Unfortunately this was also an issue as when using a recording in 4k for example you can’t play the video on your mobile device (in my case my Note 3) because it isn’t supported.

On some occasions Wi-Fi would stay despite having turned off the camera. This required me to turn it back on and turn Wi-Fi off manually

What We Liked About It:

  • Great video and photo capabilities
  • Portable (fits in a pocket)
  • Waterproof housing is AMAZING!!!
  • Creates it’s own wireless access point for data transfers
  • Can be controlled via Wi-Fi with included wireless remote or free Android app
  • Wide range of accessories
  • Can take a hit in the housing case
  • Battery life (normal use)

What We Didn’t Like About It:

  • Battery life (keep in mind this was through heavy video recording, normal use battery life is great)
  • Photos sometimes washed out with Protune enabled, same for videos
  • No thumbnails for some of the content  in the GoPro app

What Could Make It Better:

  • Bigger battery (maybe the ability to have a mount with a built-in battery
  • Zoom option

Overall Thoughts:

The GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition camera is one the most versatile and capable little cameras out there. While the price maybe be a bit high at $400 I can tell you that it is certainly worth it. Not only do you get a camera capable of 4k video and 12 mp photos you also get a wide range of accessories to use it with that enhance the functionality of the Hero3+.  All things considered the GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition is solid proof that big things sometimes do come in small packages.

A quick sidenote:

After doing this review I am still surprised at how resilient the GoPro camera is in the waterproof housing (which also serves as a strong case) and after watching the video I am sure you will believe in the almost indestructible GoPro. Just to give you an idea, this video was shot with a GoPro camera that accidentally fell out of an airplane and landed in a pig pen.


I have included links to the GoPro camera along with the accessories I used for this review, feel free to check them out and if you can nab one for yourself, you won’t regret it.

Gallery

About The Author

I'm a Content Producer with AndroidSPIN.com and enjoy every second of it. I am proud of the fact that I have never taken a sip of alcohol or any drugs in my 24 years of living on this earth. I am thankful for my supportive family and my great girl, life is pretty good and I look to help anyone I can.

  • Josh Rahn

    Good write up, Love love love my gopro Hero 3+!
    You might want to add to the con list that, yes you can record in 4K but only at 15fps. Which is fine if you don’t plan on playback at 100% speed, otherwise 4K isn’t really usable. Protune is also supposed to look “flat” (I wouldn’t say washed out). For example, ocean water with protune looks green, but you can normal it out post processing much easier in Premier or Vegas. I have heard of people having washed out images though. Didn’t notice the issue with my camera. Make sure your on the latest firmware. Also, the camera is expensive, but the real investment if your going to use it frequently are all the attachments and mounts. Adds up super fast! I have spent more on the accessories(actually microSD cards alone) than the actual camera.

    If your just getting your gopro, I highly recommend getting a protective lens cover ASAP, Not an option, just get it already! Would be lost without the LCD bacpac. Highly recommend it as well. Its a battery killer but can be turned off with a button after you line up shots.

    The Wi-Fi is supposed to stay on when you turn your camera off, if it is enabled. Its so you can mount you camera out of reach in the off position to conserve battery until your ready to shoot. Then you can remotely turn it on and start shooting.

    Also, you wouldn’t normally use the wifi to download pics, yes, it is convenient if you only need a few pics, but it can literally take forever with the size of the files! It will also kill your battery really, really fast. Not to be overcritical, but to me sounded like something that wasn’t a big deal in your article. You need to buy more microSD cards if your going to seriously use this thing. I went to Costa rica and took >300GB of photos and video, not something you want to transfer over Wifi, it’s handy and faster than the old version, but still slow……… I wouldn’t consider the Wifi a pro or con, its convenient at times. If you get the LCD bacpac you’ll probably never use the Wifi again, I actually have never turned it on since i got mine.

    Yes, the battery life stinks! Here is a tip, buy batteries for your GoProH3+ direct from gopro. the batteries you buy from brick and mortar stores and other outlets are only 1080mah, smaller to fit in older versions of gopro cameras. The one that comes and is for the GPH3+ is 1180mah. Not much of a difference, but that little extra juice can go a long way. Just a heads up because you WILL buy more batteries at some point.

    One last battery tip, if you use the GP in any setting that you don’t need the waterproof housing, you can power it with an external battery or an outlet so it doesn’t die(example: time lapse) I use the suction cup mount + frame mount + external 20,000mah battery + LCD bacpac(for lining up shots) all the time for time lapse shots.

    You were probably aware of some of this, but its worth mentioning. I did enjoy your article, It was very well put together. Congrats on the new gopro. 😛 I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have the last 6 months.