Review: GoPro HD HERO2

Cameras Pro Reviews

The new GoPro HD HERO2 has quite a few excellent features on top of its already outstanding functionality, the most prominent being the 11 megapixel sensor, which is accompanied by a sharper glass lens, both of which result in photos and videos with increased clarity and sharpness, and more vibrant and realistic colors. The UI or menu system, has been revamped, and now has a simpler and more intuitive language-based interface, greatly easing usage. The camera is encased in their waterproof and durable housing, and has a plethora of mounting accessories, so that it can be attached to just about anything. It records in a vast array of high-definition video resolutions, frame rates, and viewing angles, making for an incredibly versatile camera.

HD HERO2
GoPro’s HD HERO2 is a POV (point of view) high-definition sports camera, and uses an 11MP HD CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) sensor, which is 1/2.3″ in size. It uses a fixed-focus lens, which is made with professional-grade glass, and has a f/2.8 aperture. It can record video footage in 1080p, 960p, 720p and SD formats, and photos in several modes. It records data onto SDHC cards (not included) up to 32GB in size, and is powered with an internal rechargeable Li-Ion battery that gives around 2.5 hours of recording time. It has ports for a mini USB for computer connection and recharging, a mini HDMI and composite video for live streaming to a TV or other source, and an external microphone for higher-quality audio recording. The small and light camera is mostly made of plastic, and is encased within a tough and robust polycarbonate waterproof housing, which protects the fragile camera from impacts, shocks, and the environment. The housing attaches to an assortment of mounts, including a seatpost, curved and flat surface, wrist, tripod, vented helmet, and handlebar, and others, and usually snaps into the mounts using their proprietary quick-release buckle. It’s compatible with all of their expansion accessories and BacPac’s, and comes in three versions or kits, the Outdoor Edition (as tested), the Motorsports Edition and the Surf Edition, which all retail for $299.99.

The HD HERO2 Outdoor Edition kit comes with the HERO2 camera and waterproof housing, a slotted backdoor, a rechargeable 3.7V 1100mAh Li-Ion Battery, a USB cable, a vented helmet and head strap (aka the jock strap), two curved and flat surface mounts, a three-way pivot arm, an assorted mounting hardware and a user manual. It’s convenient that the HERO2 has the same size and form factor as the current HD model, so the housing, mount systems, and BacPac’s are all interchangeable.

Weight:

  • 71 grams – camera
  • 99 grams – camera with battery and SD card
  • 26 grams – battery
  • 2 grams – SD card
  • 91 grams – waterproof housing with quick-release buckle
  • 19 grams – quick-release buckle
  • 190 grams – total

Size:

  • 60mm x 42mm x 30mm – camera size
  • 72mm x 65mm x 46mm – housing size
  • 13mm x 16mm – LCD screen size

 

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About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • Francis says:

    I’ve been using the Hero 2 a lot lately. I think it’s the best in the POV category cause the quality is awesome and the selection of mounts is second to none. But it’s not perfect. Here’s my pros and cons.

    Pros:
    - impeccable video quality
    - ruggedness, durability and versatility of mounts
    - chest mount design is worth noting

    Cons:
    - way too expensive
    - no screen and have no idea where it’s aimed
    - user interface is still bad. It took me 10 rides to be confident that it’s turned on.
    - battery life is so short. it seems battery life is wasted as it is always heating itself
    - construction and button feel is very far below regular ‘camera’ or ‘phone’ quality.

  • Donny says:

    Excellent write-up and videos!

  • russ says:

    Thanks for the review! Is it best for the battery to be topped of with a charge after each use even if it won’t be used again for more than a week?

    • Brian Mullin says:

      Russ: It depends on how long you go between periods of usage. If it ends up being a couple of weeks, then top it off, otherwise it should be fine. And as I mentioned, get a spare battery and carry it with you!

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