GoPro Hero Session Review
GoPro has established themselves as market leaders in the action camera industry and currently sponsor a variety of athletes and sportspeople. The Hero Session is their entry-level action camera and at £149.99 it’s more expensive than its closest rivals and roughly the same price as a weekend in Amsterdam. You expect quality and innovation from a company like GoPro but have they cut any corners with the bargain basement Hero Session?
The Hero Session shares its cube design with the better equipped Hero Session 5 and is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand or in a pocket without causing any discomfort. Despite its proportions, the Session is a rugged action camera that should withstand a bit of abuse. However, the front screen can be replaced using nothing more than a screwdriver and this is a massive bonus for those who take part in extreme sports where the camera is likely to get scratched and damaged.
The Session is waterproof to depths of 10m which should be enough for people who aren’t using the camera to capture diving footage. Unfortunately, GoPro doesn’t produce a case that would allow the camera to be used at greater depths. However, aftermarket products are available but if they malfunctioned GoPro would be able to dismiss any warranty claims. This is a limiting factor on the Hero Session as other products in GoPros range can be used with official cases designed for scuba diving and extreme watersports.
Unfortunately, the Session doesn’t accept external microphones however the audio quality is actually incredibly impressive for a camera using two built-in microphones. The audio quality suffers slightly when the camera is used underwater but is crisp and clear when the camera isn’t submerged. The wind noise isn’t excessive and it doesn’t suffer as much as other cameras however this is likely due to the dual microphones that are located on the front and rear of the camera. The Session automatically switches to the most appropriate microphone for the situation and this drastically reduces wind noise and excessive clatter on any recorded audio.
The Hero Session offers a recording resolution of up to 1440p at 30fps and the ability to take 8mp still images however it lacks the features found on other GoPro models and even some of its competitors. It doesn’t have wind noise reduction, nor does it have voice control or video stabilisation. However, it does produce crystal clear footage when recording in the highest resolution with the only negative aspect being a slight fish-eye effect that is common on action cameras in this price bracket.
The camera doesn’t have a screen and only one button is used to operate the camera and select its different functions. Whilst this could be quite a handy feature for technophobes it actually makes operating the camera quite difficult. Recording footage is relatively simple but effectively changing the settings on this camera requires a degree in Advanced Engineering and a tremendous amount of patience. Although frustrating once the settings have been finalised the camera does become easier to use.
The integrated battery on the GoPro Hero Session provides a disappointing run time of just under 2 hours when recording in 1440p at 30fps. Fiddling around with the settings will see the battery life drop substantially and switching to another resolution also won’t make much of a difference as the battery life increases by only ten minutes when recording in 1080p at 30fps. Taking this camera on a long trip is a no-no unless you have a means of charging it up along the way.
The GoPro Hero Session is like a Golden Retriever. It’s loyal, it does what it’s supposed to do and you’ll probably still be playing with it after Christmas. It’s the perfect beginner’s action camera but will also be good enough for many seasoned action camera users. It has its limitations and there are better cameras out there for the price but the GoPro brand is established and known for its reliability so the Hero Session is a good buy.