Тhe new GoPro Hero4 Session already generated a lot of buzz since it was officially announced earlier this month. Yet, the tiny cube-shaped camera has been placed in the centre of a controversy ever since mainly with regard to its price and the functionality one can get for it. Many tend to compare the Session with its predecessor the GoPro Hero4 Silver as both devices currently retail for the same price of $400. Yet, there are some significant differences between these two cameras not only in terms of size and form factor but also with regard to features and overall performance they provide.
In the following in-depth video review the tech writer Brent Rose from Wired.com takes the Hero4 Session out in the wild for some crazy tests. He also puts the camera in a side-by-side comparison to the Hero4 Silver along the way. So if you’d like to know more on how the Hero4 Session performs in real life, this video review has got you covered. Be aware, though, as the results may surprise you.
Overall, the GoPro Session is not only smaller and lighter than the previous series of HERO cameras, but it’s also waterproofed and ready to mount right out of the box.
Furthermore, due to its cube-shape design, it can be mounted in any orientation eliminating the necessity of using additional accessories such as elbow-joint type mounts. In terms of functionality, the camera boots up in less than 4 seconds by pressing the main button placed on top that also stops recording and turns off the device when you press it again while rolling.
Undoubtedly, this is a practical engineering decision as it saves a ton of battery life. Moreover, this way the Hero4 Session actually lasts a lot longer compared to the GoPro Hero4 Silver despite the larger battery the latter comes with. The long press of that same button activates the Timelapse mode of the Hero4 Session where the camera snaps an 8MP still every half a second.
The other button in the back toggles Wi-Fi on and off, displays the video mode that you’ve selected and also adds a highlight tag to your video while you are filming. You should keep in mind, though, that you can’t tweak the different settings and switch between the shooting modes on the camera itself. To do this, you need to pair the device with your smartphone or use the GoPro Wi-Fi remote control instead.
On the video side the Hero4 Session is capable of recording 1080p at 60fps, 720p at 100fps and 1440p at 30fps as well as capture 8-megapixel snaps in single, burst or timelapse mode. However, this is the result from the side by side comparison of the GoPro Session and the HERO4 Silver both using the same settings.
It’s clear that the dynamic range and the colour rendition both cameras provide are totally different and I think it’s obvious who the clear winner is. All in all, the Hero4 Silver provides more resolution modes, better dynamic range, more accurate colour rendition and offers a touch-screen display for the same price.
The only advantage you get with the Hero4 Session is the smaller footprint and the unique form factor. In all other aspects, I also tend to believe that putting your money on the better quality image performer is the way to go.