Tough and Compact – the Perfect Action Camera
Part of the popular GoPro range, this compact and unobtrusive gadget could be the perfect action camera. In our review of the GoPro Hero Session, the smallest action camera from the GoPro range, you can find out more about its features and specifications to help you decide if it is the right choice for you. While earlier GoPro models were perfect for capturing all kinds of activities, we were pleased to discover that the Hero Session has expanded the possibilities to include watersports now that it has integrated waterproof protection to a depth of 10 metres. Designed to be half of the size of some of its competitors, this action camera can also be mounted in a variety of positions for a more streamlined look and, thanks to its single button control, it makes an ideal entry-level option for a first time user. The manufacturers promise that this camera will help users to capture life in a whole new way, so we decided to put the GoPro Hero Session to the test, to see if it can live up to the claims. Firstly, we looked at how easy it is to set up and use.
Setting up the GoPro Hero Session is a breeze. Compatible with the complete GoPro mount range, it simply fits into a headstrap, Floaty or other mount and you’re good to go. Included with this product is a low-profile mount allowing for better streamlining when mounted on various surfaces and the included ball-joint makes adjusting the direction and angle of the camera quick and easy. The Hero Session is also easy to connect to a smartphone by simply pressing the button on the back of the device for a few seconds to activate the LCD screen and then pressing it once more to get the pairing prompt. Find the Session in your smartphone’s Wi-Fi settings and you can pair the devices by setting up a password. Once you’re done, you open up a world of possibilities, as you can control your camera remotely, change the settings or even use your phone in place of the camera’s viewfinder.
Using the GoPro Hero Session Camera
The first thing that you notice when using the GoPro Hero Session is its size. This product has been designed to be extremely compact and it certainly lives up to the expectations, measuring just 35mm along each side. The result is a gadget that is half the width and almost half the weight of similar devices, allowing for even more portability and easier mounting, even in tricky positions.
Another great feature of this model is the integrated waterproofing. While it was possible to use earlier GoPro models with a waterproof housing, this added weight and bulk. The Hero Session is incredibly neat and can be used on its own up to a depth of 10 metres with no need for a cover. As the microphone grilles aren’t covered by a case, audio capturing is also of a much higher quality. There is, however, a downside to the lack of an outer protective shell in that the camera is more vulnerable to accidental knocks when not being held in a mount. That said, this is a pretty tough gadget, perfectly capable of withstanding the occasional drop thanks to its textured rubber coating.
The Hero Session is incredibly easy to control, and this is one of the reasons why this is an ideal entry level camera. All of the main features are covered by a single button on the top of the device and the LCD screen shows the essential information such as how many pictures have been taken and how much battery life remains. A second button on the back allows you to pair the camera with a smartphone or flag a video highlight, however the location of this button means that it cannot easily be accessed if the camera is in a mount.
As the Hero Session features both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connection, this opens up a host of excellent features to maximise the use of the device. There is a GoPro app available for download for Windows, Android and iOS phones that allows you to play with all kinds of settings including the ability to change the resolution, frame rates, aspect ratios and lighting settings.
While the video quality produced by the Hero Session is pretty good, it won’t blow you away. There is some loss of clarity and brightness when compared to some other devices and the highest resolution is only 1440 with an aspect ratio of 4:3 rather than the 4K video offered by some of its competitors. That said, this camera can effectively capture sharp, rapid moments and the colours are strong, all of which adds to the benefits of this light and manoeuvrable action camera Audio capture is a definite strength of this camera, especially as there is nothing to cover the dual microphones, and this results in audio being clear and crisp. As the microphones are mounted to the front and rear of the camera, this model also ensures that audio is captured from all angles.
See our video below that was shot using a helmet-mounted GoPro Hero Session.
GoPro Hero Session Review: Main Features
- Compact mounting
- Compatibility with all GoPro mounts
- Can take photo bursts up to 10 frames per second
- Time-lapse facility up to 60 seconds
- Can connect through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to smartphones for access to the GoPro app
- Single button control for easy operation
- Waterproof to 10 metres
- Rugged rubber coated design
- Uncovered microphones for better audio recording
- Resolution of 1440 pixels per inch
- Measures just 35mm along each side
- 8MP photo capture
GoPro Hero Session Specifications
Model Number: CHDHS-102-SE
Dimensions: 3.7 x 3.7 x 3.8 cm
Weight (Boxed): 381g
Batteries: 1 lithium ion battery (supplied)
Sensor Pixels: 8MP
Resolution: 1440 at 30fps 4:3 top resolution, 1080p at 60fps, 720p at 100fps
Water resistance: To 10 metres
The GoPro Hero Session action camera is certainly a great choice if you are looking for a compact model that can deliver impressive audio and are not too worried about achieving professional video quality. This camera makes an ideal second device or entry-level camera for a beginner thanks to its easy single-button control and thanks to its integrated waterproofing, it is perfect for use to capture water activities. Overall, if size is important to you, this is one of the smallest models on the market at the present time, but if better video quality is your goal, there are other, larger action cameras that may produce more impressive results.