Just In: GoPro’s Impressive Hero 3+ Black Edition

Gopro HD Hero 3+ black edition Jaws Flex Clamp mount582

I’m willing to bet that action cameras may have the highest ratio of purchase to actual use of most accessories out there. Everyone likes the idea of replaying the best moments from their recent adventure, but in the past most action cameras have been hard to use, offered disappointing footage, and eventually made their way to the shelf only to be covered in dust. Then GoPro introduced the Hero3 which offered drastically improved image quality over their previous models. Not one to sit on their hands, a year later GoPro had a new camera – the Hero3+, the + means more awesome.

The 3+ promised to be better in every way – see what that looks like after the break.

Gopro HD Hero 3+ Black Edition 531

Inside the box you’ll find:

  • HERO3+ Black Edition Camera
  • 131’/40m Waterproof Housing
  • Skeleton door for housing
  • Wi-Fi Remote
  • Remote key ring
  • Wi-Fi Remote Charging Cable
  • Li-ion Battery
  • Quick Release Buckle
  • Vertical Quick Release Buckle
  • 1 Curved + 1 Flat Adhesive Mount
  • 3-Way Pivot Arm and gripper
  • USB Cable
  • instructions including quick start guide

Gopro HD Hero 3+ Black Edition 532 Gopro HD Hero 3+ Black Edition 533

Like the 3, the 3+ uses a MicroSD card that hides in the charging panel. The new 1180mAH is said to provide 30% longer battery life than the 3, though in cold weather testing so far I have been unable to film past 2 hours. On our fatbike adventure below the camera cut out at about 80 minutes of filming. Warmer weather should improve the battery life, though too warm and the camera may get hot.

GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition review627

There hasn’t been a whole lot of noise about the redesigned case for the 3+, other than the fact that it’s 20% smaller. Which is a shame, considering there have been some very worthwhile updates.

hero 3+ front Hero 3 Front

Compared to the previous Hero 3, one of the biggest improvements is likely the increased size of the buttons. Anyone who has ever tried to operate a GoPro with a gloved hand knows how hard it can be at times to press the previous generation’s buttons. Inevitably you would go one step too far and have to cycle through the whole menu again, furthering the frustration. We’re not sure why it took quite so long, but the buttons on the 3+ are big, and they are easy to operate. Even with bulky winter gloves when it’s strapped to your head. Nice work.

GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition review628 hero 3 top

Further improvements come in the form of an easier to operate clasp for the case. While the previous model involved two steps to open the case, the 3+ uses a simple one step snap. These case changes have been made to all of the currently available GoPros, including the $199 White Edition Hero3.

GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition review633 GoPro Hero3 actual weight02

The 3+ is lighter as well, managing to trim nearly 30g off the 3 (both weighed with standard waterproof casing). However, it appears the 3+ has gotten away from the replaceable lens on the waterproof case which is surely where some of the weight went. The Hero 3 case is thicker so you do lose some diving ability with the new case at 131 feet on the 3+, versus 197 feet with the 3. While all of the tech sites are focusing on the improvements in software, I’ll be honest and say I’m most excited about the larger buttons. I’m not a pro videographer, so anything that makes the camera easier to use and takes less time out of the ride I’m all for.

DCIM100GOPRO

That’s not to say that the improved photos and video aren’t welcomed though. While it started with the Hero3, with the 3+ we’re finally getting to the point with action cameras that a total amateur can slap one on their head and capture photos and video that doesn’t suck. The subject matter is another story, but the actually quality of the images is impressive.

*Make sure to bump up the playback to 1080p, default is a sad 360p

In honor of Global Fatbike Day this past Saturday, I went on a little adventure with my friends from Swallow Bicycle Works. Utilizing GoPro’s free Studio 2.0 editing software and one of their preloaded templates, it was fairly easy and surprisingly fast to go from raw footage to something that isn’t shaky, boring footage. Since most of these cameras are probably going to be purchased by people just hoping to capture and adventure and share it without spending hours on editing, GoPro has done a great job in this regard.

This wind/road noise test was done with the full waterproof housing and traveling at 15-40 mph. The sound should be slightly better with the skeleton door for the case at lower speeds.

Gopro HD Hero 3+ Black Edition 534

As for the Jaws Flex Clamp, the new mounting option is really more for filming the action around you, rather than on you. Similar to a GorillaPod or other tripods that use stiff interlocking joints to form a flexible yet rigid mount, Jaws allows you to place a camera just about anywhere you can clamp.

Gopro HD Hero 3+ Black Edition 536 Gopro HD Hero 3+ Black Edition 537

The clamp can be used with or without the extension, furthering your options for getting the shot. For any of the self photographers out there, Jaws seems like a great way to fasten the GoPro to a tree or branch to get video of yourself while using the Wi-Fi Remote or GoPro App to control the camera. Wifi connection does seem faster with the 3+, though there is still a bit of lag in the preview image when viewing on your iPhone through the GoPro app. However, the amount of control you have over the camera through the app is impressive. GoPro has just about everyone beat on that front.

GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition review632

GoPro Hero3 versus GoPro Hero2 comparison01

Evolution. The GoPro has come a long way and managed to stay at the forefront in spite of an ever increasing number of competitors. The 3+ is easily the best one yet, though if you’re currently shooting with a 3, the need to upgrade is debatable. The new case is really nice, and there are definite improvements to the camera, but they’re not earth shattering. If you don’t have a 3, or you have been waiting to buy an action camera, you will not be disappointed in the new 3+.

Comments

KT - 12/12/13 - 5:23pm

Did they fix the problems the Hero3 had?

Le Piou - 12/13/13 - 12:10am

But isn’t the Hero3+ just a Hero3 with a lighter (because smaller?) case and a better battery?

Zach Overholt - 12/13/13 - 1:26am

@Le Piou, the 3+ has a number of improvements over the actual 3 camera including a new auto low light mode, Superview, a new lens, upgraded audio, a faster processor and faster wifi.

mario - 12/13/13 - 9:19am

why would you need two cables? just design the thing so the remote and the camera both use the same connector! So stupid

shane - 12/13/13 - 9:33am

mario – There are 2 cables so you can simultaneously charge the camera and the remote. Wouldn’t it suck if you had to do them one at a time? It is hard to tell if the remote uses a standard USB connector or not, that would be something to complain about.

PROEDGEBIKER.COM - 12/14/13 - 5:15pm

too bad they still make people look like a Teletubbies, DRIFT INNOVATIONS FTMFW!

Zack - 12/16/13 - 2:02pm

@shane & mario

The GoPro camera’s charging cable is a standard size USB on one end, and a USB mini on the camera end.

The remote’s charging cable is a standard size USB on one end, and an odd, proprietary, latching connector on the other end. Both will charge from a laptop, or from a wall-mounted USB charger, though the cords are fairly short so the devices may or may not dangle depending on how high your outlets are. The remote’s charging cable uses the same latch mechanism as the metal leash/lanyard clip. I’m still not sure exactly why the charging cable needed to implement this design rather than use the customary miniUSB, but it’s really not that big of a deal. The cords are both really short, so it’s not too much trouble, especially considering how little I use the remote. I seldom use the remote because the battery life with wifi on (on the hero3, not h3+) was garbage. If the H3+ solves that problem, then maybe I’d be more annoyed at the remote being so needy when it comes to charging…

Matt - 02/05/14 - 6:19pm

The remote has a different connector to maintain the water proof seal

Post a comment:

Comment sections can be a beautiful source of knowledge, conversation and comedy. They can also get pretty ugly, which is why we've updated our Comments Policy. If your comment isn't showing up or suddenly disappears, you might want to check it out.