GoPro, makers of fine small action cameras, have upped the ante with their latest release: the GoPro HERO4 Session. The name doesn’t give much away, but the Session (as we’ll refer to it) is one impressive little camera, and we do mean little. Shaped like a cube, the Session is 50% smaller and 40% lighter than their current range of HERO4 cameras, and yet it packs in the same features and photographic capabilities as its bigger stablemates.
Unlike its brethren, though, the Session is waterproof without needing any additional case, and you can start it recording your adventures with just a single button press (though, to be fair, the HERO4 range can do the same thing). The new shape is quite a change for GoPro, which has previously gone with cameras shaped more like an oversized box of matches; rectangular with a protruding fisheye lens. This change in form factor will mean some existing accessories are no longer compatible — such as skeleton cases, and the now-redundant waterproof casings — but GoPro has you covered there, releasing a new ‘floaty’ case (in case you drop the camera, it’ll float in water) and a new, slimline ‘skeleton’ case for minimal mountings.
The capabilities of the Session camera are not to be laughed at; it’s squarely mid-range by GoPro standards, capable of recording 1080p video at 60 fps, and 720p at 100 fps. There are a number of less conventional formats available too, including 1440p30 and 960p50. An interesting feature is that the camera can tell which way its oriented, recording video whether its right way up, upside down, or even sideways.
As the Session only has one button (unlike previous GoPro cameras which had two, and sometimes three), you may be forgiven for thinking its a bit limiting. With one button tap, the camera powers on and starts recording video. With a press and hold, the camera will power on and capture interval photos for a time-lapse video. To make adjustments to the settings, or to gain a bit more fine-grained control, you can either use your iOS or Android smartphone, or a GoPro WiFi remote, both of which will give you access to the camera’s settings and so on.
Battery life is rated at around 2 hours with its sealed battery, and unlike the HERO4 range which charges off mini-USB (shudder), the Session uses microUSB, so you can charge it off most common mobile phone chargers these days. Noise-cancelling microphones increase the appeal again, allowing the Session to dynamically respond to wind and other noise to offer (a better chance at recording) decent sound for your exploits.
The GoPro HERO4 Session will be available in Australia next week, from 12 July, with a RRP of $579.95. A range of new accessories will become available as well, and as most of them use the standard GoPro mounting brackets, you can use some of them with any existing GoPro gear as well.