It’s $400 and has no touch screen or removable battery, yet GoPro’s new Hero4 Session is ideal for active people and here’s why
The new GoPro Hero4 Session is without a doubt a completely new animal—even compared to other GoPros. It’s 50% smaller (in it’s waterproof casing) and 40% lighter than the regular Hero4. It is also cube shaped—virtually all of GoPro’s other cameras are rectangular. Inside the waterproof cube is a nonremovable battery, a microSD card slot, and a micro-USB port. The Hero4 Session also has a dual microphone setup that automatically switches between the two modes when one detects too much wind or noise. This is a first on any GoPro and such a configuration means less muffled audio.
Yes, given the small size there are definitely some downsides compared to the regular Hero4. But that should be a given. The same way a MacBook Air compromises computing power (hard drive, memory, etc) for a much lighter and thinner machine, the new GoPro compromises picture quality, battery life and video features for a much smaller, practical, easy to use camera. And I think that’s fine. Anytime you take a gadget and make it significantly smaller you need to accept that you are going to loose certain features and/or quality. So the question becomes, is it worth it? If you are fairly new to the world of action cameras and you want ease-of-use versus features and picture quality, then yes, absolutely. After all, a GoPro is not the easiest thing to set up and operate, even for a fairly tech savvy person.
The Session is so easy to use—something the designers clearly wanted to prioritize—that there is only one button. Even the most basic cameras have at least two buttons—On/Off and Record—and most have a dozen or so. Not this one. Once you press “On” the camera immediately starts recording. I can’t think any other camera that is streamlined down to one button. One of the criticisms of the other GoPro models is the amount of time it takes to set up and the sophistication of the many features—which may be welcoming to gear heads alike, but for the rest of us it creates more confusion and stress. For this reason “less is more” with the new Session.
Adding to it’s usability is it’s durability and “go anywhere” appeal. The Session is not only highly durable, it’s also water proof up to 33 feet. According to Wired, “the Session is a 1.5-inch cube that weighs only 2.6 ounces. It’s waterproof to 33 feet on its own, and doesn’t require any additional housing. In its included frame mount, the Session is 50 percent smaller than a Hero4 Silver or Black is inside its waterproof shell, and it’s 35 percent lighter, too.”
Being able to take a device roughly the size of an ice cube, easily mount it to a bike or ski helmet, a surfboard, a dog’s leash or a musical instrument and press a single button to record your activity session is appealing. Yes, your picture quality may be less than the Hero 4, but your up and running in no time which is paramount when you’re staring at 3 feet of fresh powder or a perfect set of waves. The Session is designed for people who value their activities first and footage of those activities second.
The Hero 4 Session will be available for purchase on July 12th.