GoPro has unveiled the Hero4 Session, a Polaroid Cube styled micro HD camera, which will work with their soon to be announced drone. The Session is 50% smaller and 40% lighter than GoPro’s Hero4 Black and Silver cameras, which claim an incredible 70% of the US video camera market.
Hero4 Session is housed in a water-resistant design that eliminates the need for a separate housing and features a one-button control. Hero4 Session is compatible with existing GoPro mounts and captures 1080p60, 720p100 and 1440p30 video along with eight megapixel photos in Single, Burst and Time Lapse modes. It features many of the same features found in GoPro’s Hero4 Black and Silver cameras, including SuperView, Protune and Auto Low Light recording modes. An expanded set of controls and settings can be accessed when using the GoPro App or Smart Remote.
The Hero4 Session is water-resistant to 33 feet (10 meters). A dual microphone system dynamically switches sound recording between microphones to reduce wind noise during activities.
» 1080p60, 720p100, and 1440p30 video
» Water-resistant to 33′ (10m), no separate housing required
» 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, including new Ball Joint Buckle mount
Although GoPro ripped off the form factor from Polaroid and the cost is utter insanity, these units will somehow defy logic and fly off the shelves into the pockets of GoPro’s fervent fan base. More thoughtful (and sane) buyers will certainly hold off, realizing they can score a Hero4 Silver, which offers better image quality and much more for the same money, and the Session has some serious deficits, including a non-removable battery with only about 90 minutes of record time, no on-board screen solution, and it’s difficult to tell which side is up.
GoPro contends that the Session can “sense” it’s orientation and flip the video, but it can only “right itself” in 180° degree increments, and not the 90° necessary for its cube like form factor. Worse is GoPro’s pathetic battery life, which they claim is about 2 hours, but users will know that translates into about 90 minutes of 1080p60 HD record time in the real world. Worse, it takes 90 minutes to recharge, meaning that without a secondary, portable power source on hand, it’s one and done in the wild. GoPro confronts the lack of a screen option by offering up its wonky iPhone app as a solution, but anyone who’s used that affair knows punching yourself in the face is far more enjoyable.
This won’t fill a hole in the serious, GoPro hard-core action segment since the mediocre image-quality doesn’t outweigh the form-factor or the astronomical price tag. This also won’t appeal to parents who rather use their always-available smartphones, with their huge screens and decent optics, to capture their “extreme” toddlers, instead of whipping out a non-pocket-friendly cube, turning it on and hoping it’s actually recording right side up.
Could fit into GoPro’s new drone offering, but the Silver or Black editions will certainly be a better solution considering the better optics, image-quality and replaceable batteries. No, the Hero4 Session, after the initial “I got one!” land rush, will officially be GoPro’s first product faceplant. Look for the price to be cut in half in early 2016.
GoPro’s Hero4 Session costs a whopping $399 and will be available on July 12th.