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GoPro announces new HERO+ LCD camera (oh, and a drone too!)

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Today GoPro announced its latest action camera, the GoPro HERO+ LCD.  This marks the first time GoPro has done an ‘off-cycle’ release of a new camera product, as the company has historically released new action cams in the September/October timeframe.  It also bookends a rather busy week of announcements for the company.  Last week they announced both their intentions of launching a drone early next year, as well as their crazy 6-camera spherical mount system.  And that’s all before we talk about an apparent upcoming software update to start cloud sync of GoPro files to some sort of still unannounced internet service.  And don’t forget that even more crazy 16-camera virtual reality mount they built for Google.

While I normally don’t post about products unless I’ve had hands-on time, I’m also keenly aware of how many e-mails/tweets/etc I’d get if I didn’t post about this one.  The new cameras are apparently already on the way to me, so I’ll likely have a better hands-on first-impression of them soon (and then likely an in-depth review some period later).  In the meantime, here’s a quick rundown.

The Technical Low-Down:

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The new GoPro HERO+ LCD is sorta exactly as the name implies: It’s the 2014 GoPro HERO…plus…an LCD screen.  Well, and connectivity over WiFi and Bluetooth Smart.

You’ll likely remember that the entry level GoPro HERO was $129US, and had a non-removable external case.  That meant that you couldn’t take it out of the case, which in turn meant you couldn’t add in any additional rear-attaching accessories such as the extra battery packs or LCD screen.

With the HERO+ LCD, the display problem is now solved, with this new $299USD offering including the LCD built into the back of it.

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They also added in the WiFi and Bluetooth Smart compatibility.  Not for sensors, but rather for connecting to your mobile phone. This connectivity allows you to transfer photos and videos over to your phone, and then up to the interwebs.  Further, the HERO+ LCD includes the remote highlight tagging, which wasn’t available on the lower end model.  This means you can use the remote control to tag highlights so you can find them quicker later on during editing.

Finally, the camera has an internal editing capability, allowing you to slice the clips a bit better before transferring them.  This helps reduce the time to transfer video clips to your phone, making the process a little bit quicker.  This is planned to come to the HERO4 Silver later this summer, and the HERO4 Black as well (if you have bought the additional LCD back touchscreen).

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Now the downside is that you can’t swap out batteries like the more expensive HERO4 Silver & HERO4 Black.  Nor can you remove it from the case like those other units (at +$100 and +$200 respectively).  You’ll also lack the 2.7K and 4K video, as well as some of the higher speed options found like the 120/240FPS speeds.  Same goes for lack of HDMI connectivity.

But the reality is that for the vast majority of folks wanting an affordable camera, the specs hit the core of the market.  The noted 2.5 hour battery life is in the ballpark of most other units these days (though, without a way to swap batteries, that can be a problem for certain activities).  Here’s a comparison between the four GoPro HERO units:

Function/FeatureGoPro Hero (Base)GoPro Hero+ LCDGoPro Hero4 SilverGoPro Hero4 Black
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 25th, 2016 @ 7:18 pmNew Window
Price$129$299$399$499
AvailabilityGlobalJune 7th, 2015GlobalGlobal
WiFi BuiltinNoYesYesYes
Bluetooth to PhoneNoYesYesYes
Recording LightYesYesYesYes
GPS builtinNoNoNoNo
Altimeter builtinNoNoNoNo
Water Resistant40m with included case40m with included case40m with included case40m with included case
AccellerometerNoNoNoNo
Video Preview ScreenNoYesYesAccessory
Voice ControlNoNo
BatteryGoPro Hero (Base)GoPro Hero+ LCDGoPro Hero4 SilverGoPro Hero4 Black
Recharges viaMini-USBMini-USBMini-USBMini-USB
Removable battery1180 mAh (non-removable)NoYes / 1160 mAhYes / 1160 mAh
Recording TimeUp to 2.5 hours2.5 Hours2 HoursUp to 1hr 50min, 65min at 4K
Secondary attached batteryNoNoAccessoryAccessory
StorageGoPro Hero (Base)GoPro Hero+ LCDGoPro Hero4 SilverGoPro Hero4 Black
Storage Card TypeMicroSD CardMicroSDMicro-SDMicroSD Card
Maximum Card Size32GB64GB64GB64GB
VideoGoPro Hero (Base)GoPro Hero+ LCDGoPro Hero4 SilverGoPro Hero4 Black
Records 360* VideoNoNoNoNo
4KNoNo12.5/15 fps24/25/30 fps
2.7KNoNo24/25/30 fps24/25/30/48/50/60 fps
1440pNoNo24/25/30/48 fps24/25/30/48/50/60/80 fps
1080p30 fps25/30/50/60 fps24/25/30/48/50/60 fps24/25/30/48/50/60/80/90/120 fps
960pNoNo50/60/100 fps50/60/120 fps
720p60 fps50/60 fps35/50/60/100/120 fps25/30/50/60/120/240 fps
WVGANoNo240 fps240 fps
Automatic Image RotationNoNoYes (Feb 2015 update)Yes (Feb 2015 update)
Image StabilizationNoNo
Looping RecordingsYesYesYes
Timelapse Mode (constructs timelapse video)No (requires desktop software)No (requires desktop software)Yes (Feb 2015 update)Yes (Feb 2015 update)
Travelapse ModeNoNo
Pro Settings ModeYesYes
AudioGoPro Hero (Base)GoPro Hero+ LCDGoPro Hero4 SilverGoPro Hero4 Black
Internal MicrophoneYesYesYesYes
Supports Bluetooth MicrophonesNoNo
Pro mode with seperate tracksNoNo
PhotoGoPro Hero (Base)GoPro Hero+ LCDGoPro Hero4 SilverGoPro Hero4 Black
Megapixels5MP8MP12 MP12 MP
Timelapse Mode (photos on interval)0.50.5,1,2,5,10,30,60s0.5,1,2,5,10,30,60s0.5,1,2,5,10,30,60s
Burst ModeUp to 5 photos/secondUp to 5 photos/secondUp to 30 photos/secondUp to 30 photos/second
Continuous Shooting ModeNoNoYesYes
Concurrent w/video modeNoNoYesYes
Records 360* PhotoNoNoNoNo
Pro Settings ModeYesYes
RAW photo creation supportNoNo
SportsGoPro Hero (Base)GoPro Hero+ LCDGoPro Hero4 SilverGoPro Hero4 Black
Skiing ModeNoNoNoNo
Control from sport computerNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Sensor ConnectivityNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Sensor ConnectivityNoNo
ANT+ Profile TypesNoNoNoNo
Overlays sport data on recordingNoNoNoNo
PhoneGoPro Hero (Base)GoPro Hero+ LCDGoPro Hero4 SilverGoPro Hero4 Black
App platforms availableNot compatibleiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/Android/Windows Phone
Use as remote controlNoYesYesYes
Stream live video previewNoYesYesYes
Record video from cameraNoYesYesYes
Multi-camera live control/previewNoNoNONo
SoftwareGoPro Hero (Base)GoPro Hero+ LCDGoPro Hero4 SilverGoPro Hero4 Black
App for computerGoPro StudioGoPro StudioGoPro StudioGoPro Studio
AccessoryGoPro Hero (Base)GoPro Hero+ LCDGoPro Hero4 SilverGoPro Hero4 Black
Remote control button/keyNot compatibleYesYesYes
Diving caseIncludedIncludedIncludedIncluded
Mount TypesGoPro Hero (Base)GoPro Hero+ LCDGoPro Hero4 SilverGoPro Hero4 Black
Head StrapYesYesYesYes
Helmet StrapYesYesYesYes
Handlebar/SeatpostYesYEsYesYes
TripodYesYEsYesYes
Suction CupYesYEsYesYes
Chest HarnessYesYEsYesYes
Wrist Strap/HousingYesYEsYesYes
Roll BarYesYEsYesYes
SurfboardYesYEsYesYes
Curved AdhesiveYesYesYesYes
Flat AdhesiveYesYesYesYes
Adjustable Mounting ArmsYesYesYesYes
Device ConnectionsGoPro Hero (Base)GoPro Hero+ LCDGoPro Hero4 SilverGoPro Hero4 Black
USB Connector TypeMini-USBMini-USBMini-USBMini-USB
Micro-HDMINoNoYesYes
Composite VideoNoNoAdapter AvailableAdapter Available
Audio 3.5mm Stereo MicNoNoAdapter AvailableAdapter Available
PurchaseGoPro Hero (Base)GoPro Hero+ LCDGoPro Hero4 SilverGoPro Hero4 Black
Amazon LinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training Link (Save 10% with DCR10MHD)N/ALinkLinkLink
DCRainmakerGoPro Hero (Base)GoPro Hero+ LCDGoPro Hero4 SilverGoPro Hero4 Black
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLink

The Hero+ LCD unit includes a few different back doors, so you can use it in wet environments and still touch the screen, as well as using an open door too.

My Thoughts:

This is a brilliant move by GoPro.  Since last October’s announcements came out, it left a bit of a hole in the price range.  They had the GoPro HERO Basic (2014 Edition) at $129, but then the next camera up was at $399US (HERO4 Silver), and then the HERO4 Black at $499 at the top.  For many (including myself), the brilliant touch screen on the back of the HERO4 Silver was loved – but for most consumers that was a bit pricey when existing action cameras were mostly in the $200-$300 range.  But with GoPro’s cheaper HERO base not having mobile phone connectivity and a bunch of other limitations, it wasn’t as ideal in the share-it-instantly world that is today.

By removing the 2.7K/4K support in the HERO4 Silver and focusing on 1080p (w/60FPS) support with good phone connectivity – they hit the majority of the audience (Oh, for those curious why I’ve said that Garmin needed to be at 2.7K support on their new XE product, it’s because they priced themselves that high).

In some ways, it’s almost like GoPro did a bit of a fake-you-out move price-wise.  See, both TomTom and Garmin recently announced new cameras – and matched GoPro’s $399 prices for certain models (for reasons that even then seemed hard to justify).  With those cameras being less well known, and specs to the average consumer in the same range – it was a hard sell. With the GoPro brand so strong, you have to compete and beat on multiple levels: Specifications and Prices.

In the case of Garmin, this move is even more so ironic – given Garmin recently cut the display when they updated Garmin VIRB lineup with the X/XE and decided to go without the preview screen that was present on the first generation units. A move that many of you thought was short-sighted (no PUN intended).

Looking forward, the real question is will GoPro again release this fall as they have done annually for years?  With neither the recently announced Garmin or TomTom units actually shipping yet – it might be challenging for both if GoPro doubles down as usual in the fall with new models.  In Garmin’s case, they are better positioned with a more unique offering around widely extended sensor offerings in the X/XE range, including new automotive and boating support – but that continues to be more of a niche offering at the $299 price point when trying to compete with GoPro branding/marketing.  While TomTom will need to iterate quickly with their automated movie maker software to truly become a competitive offering.

Definitely an interesting market for sure.  For those curious about my recommendations – for 95% of folks it’ll likely shift from the Hero4 Silver to the HERO+ LCD, assuming there are no issues with it.  The reason being that if you’re using it for cycling and such, you can actually use your Garmin Edge device with the GoPro, inside of Garmin’s free VIRB Edit software suite – thus getting all the benefits of data overlays there (I suppose Garmin is probably happy you’re buying their device).  It’s really only if you’re doing direct to camera sensors and don’t already have a GPS device for speed/distance/pace/altitude that I’d recommend looking at the Garmin X/XE lineup.

Thanks for reading!

Note: You can now order the Hero+ LCD via both Amazon and Clever Training.  While both sites help support the site here and all the work I do, by using Clever Training you’re also going to save 10% on your order with DCR Reader Coupon Code DCR10MHD – further, you’ll get free shipping within the US!

Simply use the links at the left and you’ll be on your way in no time!

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47 Comments

    int(0) int(47) bool(true) bool(false) bool(false)
  1. Stefan

    Hi DC Rainmaker, I think there is a little typo in your table, the new GoPro Hero+ LCD costs probably 299, not 2399 :-)

    cheers
    Stefan

    Reply
  2. Brian

    $299 is a horrid price for this product if you ask me. $199 (or $250) would have filled the niche perfectly, and would have made me think GoPRO for my replacement camera instead of a last gen VIRB or ROAM2/3. The only thing my ROAM2 as missing (before it went missing after a big event *sadface*) was Bluetooth/Wifi for viewfinder/settings change. I don’t see why having a screen (and wifi) makes it over twice the price.

    I’d rather find a HERO3: White Edition that has wifi (and is modular) for $199 (still readily available) than spring an extra $100 for a non-modular unit to be honest.

    Reply
    • It’s funny, prior to using the Silver for an extended prior of time – I didn’t think LCD mattered much. Perhaps because previous to that I had used the original VIRB’s display – which sorta sucked. With the GoPro it’s incredibly clear and super-simple to use.

      For me, the specific scenarios I found the display most useful have been water-focused ones (swimming/beach/pool/etc…) – where I didn’t have or want to have a phone on my person. Similarly, same goes for ones with where gloves were used, such as winter running/riding and I want to quickly validate things – including reviewing photos after taken.

      Reply
    • Rob

      I agree Brian. $299 is way too steep. All it takes is any sort of discount whatsoever and one would likely just go with the 4 Silver. In fact I know of a store I can get it at $329 whenever I want. So $299 is way too much. I agree, $199 would be the way to go. They might even be able to sell it well at $249, but $299 is too much.

      Reply
    • Kyle

      Pretty much. There’s China cameras out that do some splendid video and feature Wifi/BLE/LCD’s in the GoPro form factor. Their price is usually around $99. So $199 or $249 tops.

      Reply
  3. James Tate

    I’d rather GoPro concentrated on extending the battery life of their products rather than adding yet more stuff to shorten it. Sure the quality of the video is great, but they have the worst battery life of any product in the sector, probably to make you buy extras!!

    Reply
  4. Nigel

    I love it when people wear the GoPro on a cycle or ski helmet, it makes me laugh.

    Reply
    • Jamie

      Why? I use one that in the event of an accident I hopefully have some evidence of blame. Commuting in London I feel it’s a necessity. I also wear it on my motorbike helmet.

      Reply
    • Bachoo

      Yeah because before cameras accidents were unsolvable. It’s a solution in search of a problem.

      Reply
    • Not really – bike vehicle accidents are a real problem in the vast majority of the world. There are countless examples of cyclists having cams on bikes now showing who was at fault.

      Reply
    • Anonymouse

      Nigel — Care to expand on that comment? I wear mine skiing to tape my kids, for our personal use. And as Jamie said, they are very useful for bike commuters. Why do you find either of those funny?

      Reply
    • Greg Plowright

      Ya Why? i use one every time i down hill cycle or cross country for that matter! thats what they are used for what do you use yours for? bird watching…

      Reply
    • Jamie

      No one wants to get involved these days. People walk past accidents all the time. A guy walked straight out in front of me the other week. I hit him hard with the bike. Luckily we were both ok. All the people who were around walked off. That was my last straw. I ride a motorbike as well and commute every day so got the go pro hero. Does the job well. I even think when people notice it recording they give a bit of extra room/respect.

      Reply
  5. David Nicolau

    HI, and thanks for all your reviews.
    looks like a name mix-up on the new LCD and the silver in the 2nd picture.

    Reply
    • I must be missing it. It’s showing the three higher end products (actually just a snippet from GoPro’s website).

      Reply
  6. Steven Shaw

    I have a gopro silver I haven’t really played with yet, but fancy using it for cycling. I have an edge 810 to record speed etc. what would happen if I paused the video, would it still be possible to sync the data from edge and video in virb edit or would this just be a real pain?

    Reply
    • Yes, it’s not ideal to stop/start, but it’s not horrible either. You basically just need to re-align the segments if they are off a few seconds.

      Reply
  7. Jimbo

    Of course, I bought a Hero4 Silver yesterday. I wanted the Hero3 White as their lowest end with wifi; but my bike shop that gives me a huge discount no longer stocks it.
    Still, no replaceable battery makes it kind of a no go for me.
    I think it’s more what the base Hero should have been.

    Reply
  8. Acwna

    Hi Ray (love your site by the way)

    Is this an option to the battery backpack for the Hero (2014), expect it won’t fit the Hero+ LCD.

    link to shop.limefuel.com

    Have you seen or tried these?

    Adam

    Reply
  9. Navnit

    Thanks Ray,

    I was holding myself for few months on GoPro Silver.
    Thanks for update!!

    -Navnit

    Reply
  10. JJ Lee

    Ray,

    Your comment just piqued my interest. I am looking to get my first action camera. How does one pair a Garmin Edge device like the Edge 1000 with the GoPro Hero 4 Black? I’m interested in the 4 Black because it can shoot 4K UHD. Can Garmin’s VIRB software accept 4K files? Or 1080p is the highest resolution that it support.

    Since Garmin’s flagship VIRB XE doesn’t support 4K, I’m inclined to go with GoPro. I love how Garmin’s XE can add those data overlays to the footage. GoPro clearly doesn’t go as far as Garmin. I would love to shoot 4K with as much data embedded into the footage as possible. In terms of data acquisition from its sensors, what more can the Garmin VIRB XE obtain from its sensors and thus embedded into the videos compared to a Garmin Edge 1000 and GoPro Hero 4 Black combination?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Capediver

      JJ, you don’t pair the units but you use Garmin VIRB software to edit the GoPro files and this way you can make use of the Garmin track you recorded while filming by manually importing the gpx files and using the software to throw down the various GPS-related overlays. You can also trim the gpx to sync with the video.

      VIRB software will take the 4K GoPro footage; the performance of the software would really depend on your computer specs as a lot of processing power is required for the final rendering if you want 4K output.

      GoPro’s next release will hopefully have GPS capability…DCR, have a chat with those chaps over at GoPro!

      Reply
    • Capediver

      EDIT: my mistake…VIRB software currently only renders to 1080p…just checked mine…so yes, you can import 4K footage but you’ll only get 1080p out…

      Reply
    • JJ Lee

      Thanks for the response Capediver!

      How does one trim the gpx to sync with the video?

      By using the Garmin Edge 1000 and the various Garmin sensors, will I be able to get enough data that can match any VIRB XE produced videos?

      Have you tested the VIRB software with 4K UHD videos?

      Reply
    • JJ Lee

      I thought the VIRB XE can shoot 1440p videos? I’m kind of surprised that the VIRB software can only output a 1080p video.

      Reply
    • Capediver

      JJ, once you load the gpx files, there are options for trimming and synchronizing the track with the video clip, both the track and the clip are displayed alongside each other and you trim away…..
      I don’t know what sensors and data the VIRB XE has but their own editing software should be able to interpret any Garmin data. There are a number of choices of overlays that you can use to display….download the VIRB software and give it a go with some arb video footage eg! the video clip and gpx files don’t necessarily have to match…

      Reply
    • Capediver

      JJ you right but current version I’ve got 2.9.2 only goes to 1080p for rendering, suppose they playing catchup in the development department!
      Se this thread for VIRB news: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Reply
  11. Stephen

    I think it’s a really great unit for the price and entry point into the market. Having the LCD and easy share capabilities it’ll be perfect for that demographic.

    The timing is interesting, and also interesting to note how the GoPro shares spiked after the announcement, maybe the start of a bi annual release cycle?

    Interesting to note also was the price drop of the Hero4 Black in the UK yesterday, it dropped by about £80 ~ $120. I’m not sure what the proposed Hero5 will have other than maybe 8K, but at the current price, think i’ll be snapping up the Hero4 Black.

    Can’t wait for your hands on thoughts

    Reply
  12. Manos

    Ray for all of us who just run whats the best value for money gopro? I have google this question over and over but no one gives a clear answer!!

    Reply
    • It depends. Probably the best deal anywhere is the Hero base, but since it lacks WiFi/Bluetooth, I find it less ideal for sharing from my phone on the go. If you have no plans to share while mobile (i.e. end of a run, during a run, etc…), then go with the base. If not, then the Hero+ LCD is a better bet.

      Reply
    • James

      Hi Ray, do you think you would go with the basic Garmin Virb or the basic GoPro Hero if the prices were the same and you already had Garmin kit including GPS?

      Reply
    • If the prices were equal (i.e. $129) – then definitely go VIRB basic over GoPro Hero, no questions asked.

      It’s one of the things I’m surprised Garmin didn’t try and attack. The Hero basic is a really simple unit, but lacks all the features of the VIRB basic – which was for a time being offered at the same price.

      Reply
  13. Frederic Lardinois

    “their crazy 4-camera spherical mount system”
    Hi Ray, greetings from Belgium :-)
    The spherical mount system houses six Hero4 cameras. And not 4 (Hero6 :-) cameras)

    Fred

    Reply
  14. Scott

    Just wondering- in the comment below did you mean to say that you’d shift from the Garmin virb to the Hero+LCD. That seems to make more sense with the reason you give as you can use virbs software with the Hero 4 Silver too. If that is the case, then I’m curious why you’d shift from the Hero Silver to Hero LCD..

    “For those curious about my recommendations – for 95% of folks it’ll likely shift from the Hero4 Silver to the HERO+ LCD, assuming there are no issues with it. The reason being that if you’re using it for cycling and such, you can actually use your Garmin Edge device with the GoPro, inside of Garmin’s free VIRB Edit software suite”

    Reply
    • No, it’s written correctly. The VIRB lost the spot some time ago. 😉

      The Hero+ LCD is $100 cheaper than the Hero4 Silver, for the vast majority of people out there, the functionality within the Hero+ LCD is actually pretty solid. So while I would stay with the Hero4 Silver myself, if I was recommending a camera to someone at a lower price point – then I’d recommend the Hero+ LCD in certain situations. Of course, at that price point it becomes a lot of ‘If this, than that’ type of selection.

      Reply
  15. Troy

    Hi

    Any reviews or thought on this action camera?
    Over at monoprice
    $179.99 this weekend

    Thanks!

    MHD Sport 2.0 Wi-Fi® Action Camera + Live View RF Wrist Remote

    Reply
  16. John

    Ray, I’m curious with the newly announced US$199 Hero+ without LCD/with WiFi/Bluetooth, if that changes your entry-level recommendation?

    Reply
  17. Daniel

    Hi DC

    Which would you recommend the garmin vibe xe or the go pro 4 silver/black addition

    Many thanks

    Reply
    • If you want sport metrics, and don’t already have a Garmin (i.e. Edge/Forerunner), than go VIRB X/XE. However, if you don’t care about that, or already have a Garmin*, then go Hero4 Silver.

      *You can use VIRB Edit with the Hero4 Silver & a Garmin device to get data onto videos.

      Reply
  18. Bob

    I found a go pro hero plus lcd on the beach while we were staying in Malibu, Ca. It washed up one day… i think it had been in the ocean for a bit. I got it to work and it even had some pictures of kids playing in a pool and then dad playing with it in the surf… which is probably when it was lost. The case is pretty scratched up.. is there a way to put a new back piece and a new piece over the lens? From what I can find online it does not come out of this case. Thanks for any info.
    Bob

    Reply
  19. Paul

    I feel you need to update your article to clarify that the Android app is only applicable if you happen to have a two year old phone. The app does not work with the current Android Marshmallow OS

    Reply
  20. Rob

    The hero+ LCD sounds great, but what happens after two years and the battery stops holding charge?

    Reply
  21. xk22

    Any updates of anyone making a battery backpack for the LCD+ especially if it includes waterproof housing

    Reply
  22. Jack

    Hi, im really torn between getting the Hero 4 Silver £229 or the Hero+ LCD £150 on sale for Black Friday, I am aware that the silver is better quality in almost all respects but with an £80 difference is it worth me settling for the Hero+ LCD if i plan on using it mostly for holidays and scuba diving?

    Reply