First of all, I have a Hero4 Session, which has now been renamed to simply the “Hero Session.” I don’t think there is any difference, but I’m kind of proud that I now have something that is effectively a limited edition. I received it as a Christmas gift in 2015, so I’ve now been able to experiment with it for about five months. Here’s my thoughts in a “long term” GoPro Hero Session Review.
Features and Build
Unlike most of the GoPro cameras on the market, the Hero Session is waterproof to 33 feet without a housing. It also and has dual microphones – one on the front and one on the back – of which the ‘Session selects the best source of audio. This means that, unlike my previous Hero3 camera, I keep it in its open housing at all times, ready to record video and audio without interference.
Combine this with the fact that you start recording with one button, and you have a great camera to keep with you for capturing impromptu video at a moment’s notice (press the power button momentarily for video, hold down for time-lapse). I keep it with me much of the time in my notebook backpack (in a sock to keep it from getting scratched).
The build looks really good, sort of like an Apple product in its finish. On the other hand, like many Apple products, you can’t change the battery, which could be a deal breaker for some people.
See below for one of my first ‘lapses with the Session:
This is great for setting up wherever you are. Many times I use the housing and quick-connect buckle that stays attached to it and nothing else. In addition to time-lapses – initiated by holding the power button down for a few seconds – it can be a lot of fun to use it to film everyday activities requiring sound.
If needed, you can change settings around through the smartphone app via WiFi, or through a second inconspicuous button on the Hero4. Like many other GoPros, you can preview the camera’s view via a smartphone or tablet.
As an example, filming my young son with it at times has been a great success. These clips would probably have been even better if I’d turned off the blinking red light so he didn’t get distracted, which can be done with your smartphone. Though people can see the little cube, it’s fairly inconspicuous, so it’s great for situations where you don’t want to change the scene and simply observe.
Unedited photo taken with the Hero4 Session in time-lapse mode. Magnet-mounted to a sliding glass door.
All that being said, I really love this camera. Because of it’s compact form factor, I can easily put in in a sock or backpack and have it available when needed. Video or time-lapse filming is easy, just press or hold down the top button, and it does what it needs to. Very cool. It’s available through Amazon or via GoPro directly, depending on your preference!
For some ideas on how to use it, here’s a few of my impromptu mounts from when I first got this device – Including the excellent Original Handle by Goworx, which I reviewed here. Or you can always mount it to a robot for FPV footage and control!
Edit 6/27/2016: Be sure to use the right SD card with your GoPro – how to choose the right card.