GoPro Hero 2014 Entry Level Review

GoPro is synomous with high quality video cameras for those interested in extreme sports and adventures. They’re used by dirt bikers, snowboards, skiiers and also scuba divers. They’re the best of the best, however they do draw a high price point. A case in point of this is the new GoPro Hero 4 Black edition which has the ability to record in 4K resolution.

For those that have the tech to edit these videos and have an actual need for it, it’s a great choice but it is extremely expensive. Due to this, many people have shied away from GoPro in the past. Seeing that there’s a gap in the market though, a new entry level has been announced.

Introducing the GoPro Hero 2014

Unlike other versions, it’s simply dubbed the GoPro Hero however many people are calling it the 2014 edition. At first glance you will notice that this budget model is devoid of a screen. For some people this might be a deal breaker since they can’t see what they’re shooting. However, it’s just a way to cut the overall costs of the device. You don’t really need a screen anyway since the camera has an ultra wide angle lens on it, so you’re sure to get the things you want into the shot by simply pointing to it. The width of a shot you can get is roughly 32 inches so it really is an ultra wide angle lens on the camera.

Further, you may notice that in this version that the camera is totally enclosed within the Perspex case so it can’t be removed. This may not seem like an issue but it does mean that you can’t replace the battery on it. With average use though you should be able to get a few years of recharging the battery. When you consider that the more expensive models have a less time that you’ll get out of a charge compared to this cheaper model (currently $129 or £100) then you’ve got good value for money.

Talking about the Perspex housing, it acts a protective and waterproof barrier for the camera. It’ll be fine to use the GoPro Hero in the rain and it is waterproof up to a depth of 40 metres. Of course it’ll be able to keep functioning in dirty and muddy conditions as well as snow presuming that the case is closed up. As a means of testing the sturdiness of the camera, I’ve dropped mine from a height of 5 feet and it still works well. I wouldn’t suggest you try this yourself on a whim, but it’s good to know if you have an accident with it that it should survive the fall.

A choice of options

With the GoPro Hero you’re given to main choices with regards to the recording resolution. You can either film in 1080p at 30 frames per second or you can choose to record in 720p at 60 frames per second. For those that are shooting quick moving fast action shots the 60 frames per second option might be the better choice although. You can also take still shots with the camera at a resolution of 5 MP, so you’re getting great clarity along with the option for you to be able to take time lapse photos with it spread apart by half a second each.

Of course, there may be situations whereby the lighting isn’t quite as good as it could be. You could start fiddling around with the settings in the camera to optimise the lens for low light conditions. However to save you a lot of trouble, GoPro have added in an automatic low light detection mode. When this kicks in you’ll be getting the optimal image quality in poorly lit areas. This isn’t something which is normally included on a video camera which is considered to be of a budget variety but thankfully GoPro have included it here.

One particular option that I enjoyed about this unit was the ability to enable quick capture mode. When setting this up, you don’t even need to boot up the camera, simply point and click and you’ll start recording from the saved preset you have on the device.

Connectivity

The GoPro Hero keeps things simple when it comes to connectivity. For charging or transferring data from the storage device in the camera a simple micro USB cable is used and thankfully included in the box. When it comes to recording your footage, the GoPro hero uses a micro SD card. Since you’ll be recording in high definition, it’s recommended that a class 10 card is used with it since you’ll need to be able to write a lot of data to the card quickly. I’ve been using the Samsung micro SD card and its been performing extremely well.

Since it’s high definition, the footage is recorded in the mp4 format with the h.264 container which gives you a low file size but maximum quality. When using a 16GB card, you can get around 2 hours and 18 minutes of footage at 1080p which is pretty staggering. It’s incredibly simply to remove old content from the micro SD card; just load it onto your PC and delete the files you don’t want.

The quality itself is actually pretty impressive, especially in great lighting conditions. Of course you might also be using it in low lighting conditions as well and one great use of this camera would be to utilise it as a dashcam. For those using it as a dashcam, I’d suggest the suction cup window mount.

I hope that this hub has been helpful for you and if Amazon are currently offering the GoPro Hero cheaper than GoPro themselves. If you’ve enjoyed this hub, the link below will take you directly to the Amazon page.

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