GoPro was one of the first big names in action cameras. However, in the past year, competitors have taken the lead with innovative features and better pricing. The GoPro HERO5 Black hopes to reclaim their spot at the top of the rankings.
Reviewers across the Internet have been hitting the trails, catching waves and running laps putting the new action cam through its paces. Let’s see what they’re saying!
One of the first things mentioned in every review is the new GoPro design. There’s no more polycarbonate case. Yet it still retains waterproofing down to 10m. Reviewers loved both the reduction in size and improved audio offered by the shell-free design. TechRadar says, “We've not been in a situation where the camera has been tested to destruction, but our unit has been dropped, bumped and submerged in water many times, and the rear touchscreen remains unscratched, the casing is still intact, and the lens is in good condition.”
Should you need protection from flying debris or plan for some deep dives, the Super Suit accessory gets great reviews and makes the GoPro extra durable. You’ll also find a full range of mounts, adapters and lens filters.
The other new design element mentioned is the two-inch touchscreen. Reviewers found it responsive--even in damp conditions--and loved the menu arrangement. TechRadar noted, “The sheer weight of options can be baffling for those new to the action camera game, but it doesn't take much trial and error to get things right.”
Voice controls provide additional options when interacting with the camera isn’t possible. GoPro offers 13 commands for everything from turning the camera on to making a bookmark in the video for editing. The only things not covered are data transfers and connectivity toggles. CNet used the feature biking through the city and noted, “It works really well in general and I found myself using it when I didn't even have to.”
Many reviewers attributed part of the accuracy of the voice control system to the new microphone array in the GoPro HERO5 Black. Using multiple mics, the GoPro can now reduce wind noise. Alphr noted, “Audio is significantly improved, mainly due to the new wind-reduction feature and the fact that you no longer need to mount the camera in a case to ensure water tightness.”
Video capture options range from 4k at 30 FPS to 240 FPS super slow-motion at 720p. GoPro also added Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) to the new model—though many reviewers noted using it takes a toll on battery life. Bike Radar took their camera for a day of extreme mountain biking and declared, “[EIS has] been done incredibly well. You get a bit of a floaty feeling with the footage but nothing that ever dips into motion sickness territory."
Wi-Fi and GPS add to the options for capturing or transmitting data without having to break out a laptop.
One area where reviews suffered is battery life. The GoPro 5 series uses a new battery design—so your old batteries won’t work. A single charge only nets you about 1.5 hours of continuous shooting with typical options enabled. CNet breaks down what to expect well, saying, “Recording in 4K at 30fps, you'll get about an hour and a half of recording time. The same goes for capturing in 2.7K at 30fps with EIS, Wi-Fi and GPS on.” If you’re planning a day full of shooting, multiple batteries are a must.
Improvements weren’t limited to the hardware either. GoPro’s editing software now offers additional ways to present your footage. Quik uses themes to create automated videos with no editing knowledge. Splice offers a full-featured editing experience for advanced videos.
Overall, reviews for the GoPro HERO5 Black are stellar. They’ve packed more features and a sturdier design into the same price as the previous model. TechRadar summed up reviews well, saying, “The camera is simple to use, yet remains a very powerful tool, while the addition of a rear touchscreen, voice control and GPS make it one of the most feature-packed cams currently available.”