Bonnie Cha

Recent Posts by Bonnie Cha

GoPro Unveils Smaller, Thinner, Faster Hero3 Action Camera

There was a lot of whooping and hollering going on Tuesday evening, and it wasn’t just for the New York Yankees versus Detroit Tigers game, or for the Presidential debate.

An amped GoPro team unveiled its next-generation action camera at a media event in San Francisco, showing off its smallest and fastest camera yet.

Due out on Oct. 22, the GoPro Hero3 is 30 percent smaller, 25 percent lighter, and twice as powerful as its predecessor, the Hero2, and comes in three versions.

At the top of the line is the Black Edition, which is equipped with a 12-megapixel sensor (up from 11 megapixels) and an image processor that’s twice as fast as the Hero2, allowing the camera to capture up to 4K video (4,000 pixels) at 15 frames per second (fps) and 1080p HD video at 60 frames per second.

A step-down model dubbed the Silver Edition features an 11-megapixel sensor and shoots 1080p HD video at 30fps, while the entry-level Hero3 White Edition drops the sensor down to five megapixels.

All three Hero3 models offer built-in Wi-Fi, so you no longer need the Wi-Fi BacPac accessory to use the camera with the Wi-Fi remote control or GoPro mobile apps. The Black Edition ships with the Wi-Fi remote control, but you will need to shell out an additional $80 for the accessory if you opt for the Silver or White Edition Hero3.

GoPro CEO and founder Nicholas Woodman introduces the new Hero3.

I got some brief hands-on time with the new camera, and while I have yet to test the video quality, one thing I noticed right off the bat was its size.

GoPro’s cameras have always been boxier and clunkier than some of its competitors, such as the Contour and Ion cameras, which I noted in my review back in July. But the Hero3 has a much more compact and streamlined design, which I was pleased to see.

Pricing for the Hero3 starts at $199.99 for the White Edition, $299.99 for the Silver Edition and $399.99 for the Black Edition.

In addition to the camera, GoPro introduced several new accessories, including an attachable LCD touchscreen for $80, an extended battery pack for $50 and a slimmer mounting frame for $40. All will be available on Oct. 22.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik