First Look: GoPro HERO4 Session

GoPro introduces a tiny, wearable HERO4 Session camera with a high price

Cameras
The HERO4 Session does not appear to be 50% smaller than the Silver.

The HERO4 Session does not appear to be 50% smaller than the Silver (click to enlarge).

Update: July 21, 2015

We just received our HERO4 Session and it does not appear to be 50% smaller or 40% lighter than the Silver as they claim. We’ll get exact measurements shortly. The Session does seem to finally have the feel of a fine piece of electronic equipment, much like a Canon camera. Construction and materials are finally more refined.

First observations are that the port is now changed to Micro USB instead of the traditional Mini USB ports previous GoPros have used. Battery is not removable or replaceable, so one cannot extend run time while on the field by using spare batteries. We got the camera synced with the GoPro iPhone app, so expect much testing to come.

The new GoPro HERO4 Session is now shaped like a cube and is much more convenient to mount anywhere.

The new GoPro HERO4 Session is now shaped like a cube and is much more convenient to mount anywhere (click to enlarge).

July 6, 2015

In an evolving world of wearable technology, GoPro has come up with the HERO4 Session, which is about half the size of existing HERO3s and 4s. The camera is now shaped like a cube and it’s much more convenient to mount anywhere. It can be mounted on top of the helmet, on the side, bars, chest as it features a much smaller case that is compatible with existing GoPro mounts. The camera itself is waterproof now so it doesn’t need a sealed case for mounting.

The quality of the video is good with resolutions of 1080p60, 720p100 and 1440p30. 4k is not available on this model, but that is not a big loss since frame rates on existing GoPros are low and there are very few displays that can handle them anyway. In the same resolutions, the image quality of the Hero4 Session is not as good as the Hero4 Silver in terms of detail and light sensitivity. The casual eye may not notice the difference but zooming in and cropping shows quality loss.

Surprisingly, the battery life has been improved as early users have been seeing run times of up to two hours. GoPros have been notorious for short run times, but we’ve seen them gradually improve to upwards of 1:40 on our latest HERO4.

The GoPro HERO4 Session mounted on a bike.

The GoPro HERO4 Session mounted on a bike (click to enlarge).

What the user gives up is the display screen and the array of buttons for settings. There really are just two buttons, one for Record and another to turn wifi on/off. All settings are expected to be configured with a smartphone app. To view the camera video when recording, one must use the smartphone or an optional remote accessory. This is a key tool for aiming the camera properly and not getting hours of useless footage.

Unfortunately, with all things revolutionary there are no price breaks. The HERO4 Session is $399.99 and that’s the same as the HERO4 Silver, which includes a display screen and higher frame rates. $400 for this camera with a whole new set of optional mounts is very expensive indeed so all you miniaturization fans will need to open your wearable wallets.

HERO4 Session Highlights
  • Stunning 1080p60, 720p100, and 1440p30 video
  • Waterproof to 33’ (10m), no separate housing required
  • Easy one-button control: short press of shutter powers camera on and begins capturing video, long shutter button press powers camera on and begins capturing time-lapse photos
  • Captures 8MP Single, Burst, and Time Lapse photos
  • Compatible with GoPro mounts and accessories
  • Dual Mic system captures enhanced audio during high wind and water-based activities
  • Built-in WiFi and Bluetooth® enable easy connectivity to GoPro App and Smart Remote
  • Auto image rotation corrects image orientation during recording
  • Includes standard and low-profile frame mounts for increased mounting versatility
  • New Ball Joint Buckle mount is included
  • $399.99 MSRP

For more information visit shop.gopro.com/hero4.


About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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  • Jeff says:

    Built in battery?

    • Francis Cebedo says:

      The battery is indeed built-in and cannot be swapped or replaced. One possibility for longer life is to connect an external battery via USB port as this charges the battery while in use. We do this with our Hero 4 and can leave it recording for hours.

  • Mike in Cave Creek says:

    I like my $100 Mobius HD. Same battery life and with a 32GB card, the storage will outlast the battery. Admittedly, the video footage isn’t quite as steady but definitely serviceable. $400 for the GoPro, no thanks.

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