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GoPro Hero4 Silver review: It's all about the touchscreen



Product Reviews

Touchscreen helps Hero4 Silver replace camcorder of old

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 20 January, 2015 - The GoPro Hero4 Silver edition is basically a revamped edition of the Hero3+ black edition. It retails for $399 like the Hero3+ black did when it came out last year and has  the very similar features. New perks include a night photo feature and highlight clip tagging along with 4k video quality. The biggest, newest exciting feature though is the touchscreen located on the back of the GoPro Hero4.

This feature makes the camera much easier to use than its predecessor and also opens up the market for GoPro to the non tech-minded such as myself. Some of you embraced GoPro’s steep learning curve of old to cycle through mode buttons, but those of us left frustrated with mode buttons functionality will now rejoice with the new touchscreen options.

For the Hero3+ I was in the habit of operating the camera via my smartphone with the GoPro app. I could adjust settings, frame rates, switch modes, etc on my phone. This process worked fine but there was a nagging delay between iPhone and camera. With the new touchscreen all of those commands given to the camera are instantaneous. It means that instead of memorizing the manual, the GoPro Hero4 is useable right out of the box to the dry-docked novice. This opens up a huge consumer audience for GoPro.

Due to the touchscreen the Hero4 Silver comes with three different backings: open, pressure-sensitive and hard plastic. When kitting out the camera for surf use one must consider that a floaty stuck to the back of the camera will render the touchscreen useless. So for those of you utilizing the new GoPro in the surf, you must memorize the camera’s setting and shutter commands like you did for the Hero3+ Black.

The camera’s overall design is basically the same, with mode, record/capture buttons in the same place. Where the wifi button was on the Hero3+ has been swapped out for the settings button.

The GoPro Hero4 looks slightly different with a black border around the monochrome display. The LED indicator lights have changed shape and are now more narrow and oblong.

I’ve read complaints about battery life and how the touchscreen drains a lot of energy, but I was able to shoot a day at an amusement park with the family and found the battery life to be enough, lasting throughout a whole day of shooting with turning the camera off between clips. That said, the battery life on the Hero4 is less than on the Hero3 when using the touchscreen but comparable when the touchscreen is off.

Tech Specs:
At 5.2 ounces with the housing, the Hero4 Silver is also slightly heavier than the Hero3+ Black Edition, which weighs in at 4.8 ounces (also with housing), but the difference is negligible. 

The Hero4 Silver edition, like the Hero3+ Black, has 12-megapixel sensor and  records in the same resolutions. For all you tech-savvy note takers that means: 4K at 15 fps; 2.7K at 30 and 24 fps; 1440p at 48, 30, and 24 fps; 1080p at 60, 48, 30, and 24 fps; 960p at 100 and 60 fps; and 720p at 120, 60, and 30 fps.

Overall we liked the new GoPro Hero4 Silver. Because of the touchscreen back, the awkwardness of using a GoPro for home movies or dry-land adventures is eliminated. It’s now as easy as taking video with your smartphone - with much better resolution. 

However, if you plan to use the new 4 while surfing you will still need to manipulate the manual shutter to capture video and photos. If you plan to use it solely for surfing or other aquatic adventures, then hang on to your GoPro Hero3 Black edition.

What you get for $400
You’ll get the camera, housing, pivot mount, three backings, leash lock, mini-usb cable and two adhesive mounts. 

In a Nutshell:
- Touchscreen makes it easy to change & navigate through settings.
- Touchscreen doesn’t matter if you use the camera solely for surfing.
- Touchscreen drains battery faster than previous non-screen GoPro models.
- 4K resolution is amazing if you want to catch that high-end clip.
- New bottom-loading battery design means Hero3 batteries won’t work.
- Night photo feature very useful 

Bryan Dickerson

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