In our Gadget of the Week series we regularly show cool gadgets - small gadgets that make everyday life easier, are particularly progressive or just plain fun. Today: GoPro Hero3+, the action camera with a Wi-Fi connection for your smartphone.
What is GoPro Hero3+?
The cameras from GoPro hardly need an introduction these days. They have become synonymous with adventure footage for years. The small, compact digital cameras with a wide-angle lens have been widely accepted as an absolute standard when it comes to capturing fast-paced, dangerous, death-defying, or otherwise wacky sports and adventures on video. The WiFi-enabled Hero3+ is the latest version of the GoPro, and in conjunction with the matching Android app it can be run completely from your mobile device.
How does GoPro Hero3+ work?
How the GoPro itself works is beyond the scope of this article! But basically, it is a robust, compact action camera that delivers high-resolution images with a wide angle lens. Perhaps the only downside to the movies this micro miracles produces is that traditionally you do not have a display on which to see what you're capturing. One must therefore rely on instincts to choose the right angle when shooting - only once you've finished can you see the results on a home computer.
Since these early days, however, GoPro cameras could be equipped with a bulky Wi-Fi module with matching apps for Android, iPhone and Windows Phone with all camera functions easily accessible via the smartphone controls. The GoPro Hero3+ comes with built-in Wi-Fi and is therefore much less bulky and clumsy than its predecessor.
The GoPro Android app not only provides the ability to adjust the resolution and image format, it also shows a preview of the viewfinder image! You can also use your mobile device to directly view videos and photos in the camera memory, meaning there's no need to wait until you're home to check footage, and you can edit, delete, download or share content via social networks.
The connection to the camera is via Wi-Fi. The first time you do this you must enter a password, but then the camera's Wi-Fi network is stored in the phone and can be used like any other Wi-Fi hotspot. On the camera side, there is a small wireless button that leads you directly to the appropriate menu.
There is a catch where the Wi-Fi connection is concerned, however: the transfer of the viewfinder image is not particularly fast, in my test, it took around three to four seconds before the movements in front of the camera were also displayed on the smartphone display. In addition, during the connection with the GoPro, no other wireless network is available on the smartphone.
What's so cool about it?
Despite these possibly minor limitations, one can confidently say that GoPro cameras have long since become a justified institution, and in conjunction with the Android app they are also really comfortable to use. The adjustment of various settings is a no brainer, the preview allows precise alignment of the camera, and last but not least allows the wireless connection to trigger the camera remotely. All this considered the GoPro Hero3+ is the best GoPro you can buy, and that's saying something.