Wednesday, July 20, 2016

GoPro Hero 4 Session Review - Best Bang For The Buck Action Cam

GoPro Hero 4 Session
The Best Action Cam on The Market.
GoPro Hero 4 Session

Or the New GoPro Hero 5 Session (Review coming soon!)

1920x1080 @ 60 FPS
1920x1440 @ 30 FPS
Built-in Timelapse
Photo Mode/Wifi
Waterproof without Housing up to 30'

So, you're in the market for an action cam, huh?  I debated this for a while.  Do I get the typical rectangle grey brick everyone carries around? You know, the typical GoPro Hero 4 Black or GoPro Hero 4 Silver types.  Great cameras, don't get me wrong (I'll go over some reasons you might want the "normal" GoPros later on) but I chose the GoPro Hero 4 Session and never looked back.  Let me tell you why. Or the new GoPro Hero 5 Session shoots in 4k!

Size and Color

The GoPro Hero 4 Session is without a doubt the lightest and smallest GoPro on the market.  It is absolutely rugged and waterproof without that silly bulky housing you're accustomed to seeing other GoPros in.  This adds a degree of stealth that the larger GoPro Hero 4 Black can't match with its larger size, weight, and even increased dimensions with its waterproof housing it needs.  The GoPro Hero 4 Session weighs in at 74g -- roughly half the weight of the GoPro Hero 4 Black and Silver Editions.  

Another awesome stealth factor is the camera is black.  It doesn't shout "STEAL ME!" as your typical GoPro might.  You can take this bad boy anywhere and nobody would notice.  You can go extra stealth by covering the top LCD screen in a small patch of gaffer's tape (or electrical tape) and disable the red recording LED in front through the settings via the GoPro App on your smart phone.  Lots of customizability here with the app.  This GoPro has virtually all the functionality its bigger more expensive brothers have but in a smaller package.  


The GoPro Hero 4 Session is waterproof up to 30' without a housing.  I took this GoPro Snorkeling in Thailand and Indonesia and it never skipped a beat.  Simply press the big record button on top and it starts recording.  Hold it down for 3 seconds and it starts taking a timelapse at customizable intervals. Awesome! And the GoPro Editing Software it comes with stitches it all together automatically--voila!  No need for a stinkin' bulky waterproof case!  If you do take it snorkeling or in the ocean, I highly recommend one of those GoPro Flotation Stick things or your GoPro will end up at the bottom of the ocean. 

USB Charging

The GoPro Hero 4 Session charges via Micro USB.  This means no need to carry around a bulky block charger.  And since there's no LCD screen showing a live image when recording, the battery can last long.  I was able to use my GoPro a full day in Thailand taking videos, timelapses, and photos of course being careful to turn it off when not using it (which it automatically senses and does perfectly) Just be careful of accidental presses.  Which is hard because the buttons are pretty meaty and take some deliberate effort to press.  I carried around a portable USB charging battery pack if I ever needed to charge on the fly.  Perfect!


The GoPro Hero 4 Session is low profile and in my opinion is much better than your typical GoPro for mounting on a tripod mount suction cup on your car.  Smaller footprint means less drag and also means more stealthy for a low profile appearance.  Much harder to notice a tiny black cube on a single cup suction mount than a large gray rectangle in a waterproof case.  You can also rotate the GoPro Hero 4 Session in its supplied case and the camera will recognize this and record the correct way--all automatically!  It has dual mics for wind noise cancellation.  

Sample Photo:

Chiang Mai, Thailand.  Took this photo very discreetly using my GoPro Hero 4 Session

Sample Videos:

(Cool suspension video)

Biking around Santa Monica

Video driving around (note this recorded  in lower res--oops) 

At half the cost of the larger GoPro Hero 4 Black and GoPro Hero 4 Silver, I think the GoPro Hero 4 Session is a no-brainer @ $199.  

Why you might want The GoPro Hero 4 Black over the GoPro Hero 4 Session?  Very slight edge in image quality when viewing at full res, water resistant at greater depths (130'+), ability to swap batteries, and built in LCD for composing shots.  Also more rugged with the waterproof case attached.  If you break the session's clear glass (though tough) lens cover, you have to replace it whereas with the larger GoPro, you replace the case. So yeah, it's tougher and can go in deeper water. If you're hardcore, go big. 

Recommended accessories:

GoPro tripod mount -- you'll need this if you want to mount your GoPro on a Tripod or Gorilla Pod or anything using a traditional tripod screw mount.  Get it. It's cheap.

GoPro selfie stick -- I don't use this, but you might want to for your family vacation

GoPro helmet mount -- for you bikers out there

GoPro suction cup mount -- for you car enthusiast/track day junkies.  

I hope you enjoyed my review of the GoPro Hero 4 Session. My review of the GoPro Hero 5 Session is coming soon! I appreciate you guys using my links per above--it helps me earn a tiny percentage when you guys make purchases.  Appreciate it!

For inquiries:

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Mango's recommended BMW E46 Mods/Upgrades/Critical items for under $100--or maybe a little bit more!


So you're on a budget and want to modify or upgrade your E46, huh?  Well instead of going out and buying angel eyes, some Ed Hardy vinyl wrap for your interior trim, or bike racks you'll never use, how bout you check out these mods?

1) HID/Xenon BULBS

After 12+ years and 100,000 miles your stock BMW Xenon bulbs have degraded to the point where they're putting out less than half their rated lumens output.  The bulbs simply fade.  Check out replacement bulbs made by Philips.  These bulbs are OEM (same one sold at dealers and used by the worlds largest car manufacturers) and are direct replacements for your stock bulbs.  Buy your Philips 85122 D2S bulbs by clicking this link.

2) LED Interior Kit

An LED interior light kit will give your E46 a fresh modern feel and look.  Plus they'll use very little power if you ever accidentally leave your lights on.  Win/win! E46 interior led kit 

3) Rapid USB charger

Your typical cell phone charger has limited output.  A rapid USB car charger will charge your phone twice as fast.  No brainer for when you low on juice. The one linked is the exact model I use. Schoche.

4) WAX, baby

Protect your E46 paint with the same wax Mango uses.  None other than Collinite IW 845.  Used by the US Navy! This is the most durable wax on the market and is VERY easy to work with and provides very durable protection.  Some say it lasts up to two years.  I still wax my cars twice a year anyway. It's fun!

5) Rogue Engineering Shock Mounts

Make shock changes a breeze and protect your shock towers at the same time!  BMW E46 Rogue Engineering shock mounts or cheaper and similar JT Design E46 Shock Mounts were installed on my E46 and it means after you install them, you never have to take apart your trunk to change shocks.  You disassemble them from the bottom.  The shock mounts also serve as reinforcement plates as they sandwich the thin sheet metal of the shock mount tower between two slabs of high-grade aluminum.  Awesome!

6) Front Strut Tower Reinforcement Plates

Self explanatory. Just as above.  E46s very easily mushroom upon pot hole impacts.
BMW E46 Strut Tower Reinforcement Plates are a must on ANY street driven BMW E46.


Your RTABS are beat to hell after 60,000 miles.  By 30,000 they've become mushy to the point where you don't notice.  They're rubber and like everything else rubber, they break down from exposure and wear.  M3 RTABs are stiffer than stock non-M and provide greater feedback and control at the rear end.  That trailing arm does a lot of work and is the backbone of the E46 rear stability.   You can add E46 RTAB limiters but I never did.

8) M3 Engine and Transmission mounts

Want more response? When you hit the go pedal, rubber gets in the way of how fast you can put the power to the ground.  Get OEM M3 engine mounts for quicker response to your inputs. You can get budget branded M3 engine mounts here.  This is great bang for the buck.  BMW E46 M3 engine and transmission mounts are a direct swap in any E46.

9) Wagner Steamer

I use the Wagner 915 steamer, myself.  And it's one of the best things you can buy for car... or home!  Destroy odor-causing chemicals and years of oil and dead skin that has accumulated in your Bavarian cruiser.  Also great for dirty brake calipers, stubborn stains, etc.  Everyone always asks me how I keep my E46 looking new and what chemicals I use.  My answer is water.  And no chemicals.  Just add water to the tank, flip the switch to on, and have fun steaming anything and everything for a deep cleansing.  Dirt and oil just literally melts away.  Wipe down with a microfiber towel.

10) Mobius Dash Cam  

 Installed into my 2016 Lexus IS

The Mobius Action Cam is by far the best mod you can do to your car.  Particularly, your E46.  Protect yourself from people who brake-check you causing you to rear end them or if you rear end someone at very low speeds and blame you for pre-existing damage.  This recently happened to me and the person tried to bribe me for money telling me I had caused the damage to their car when I lightly tapped their bumper and no damage was on my car.  Little did they know the whole event, including the damage to their car, was being recorded in HD 1080p video.  The look on their face when I pointed out my dash cam was priceless.  You'll need to wire it up to your 12V power supply in the sunroof panel area.  Just use a voltmeter to source power.  You'll also need a 12V to 5V DC converter.  Not a big deal.  I also recommend a Mobius Action Cam helmet mount to mount the camera discreetly. Not necessary but recommended.  Also install the Mobius Action Cam Capacitor so the camera properly turns off when you turn your car off and is able to save the file properly.  Lastly, a right angle mini usb cable to supply power to the camera. Cheap stuff.  Consult an automotive professional for help installing if necessary or your skills arent great.  Easy to install though!  It turns on and remains on whenever the ignition is on and records and loops over the oldest footage.  Depending on memory card you use, you can get about 5-10 hours of video non-stop, uninterrupted.  I also recorded a dealership doing some very bad things to my car (my non-BMW hybrid) and some other valet drivers. Can't say enough good things about having a dash cam. EVERYONE should have them in ALL cars.  I feel naked without it.

11) Mityvac Oil Extractor

The Mityvac Oil Extractor is a lifesaver--literally!  Ever wanted to change your oil with white gloves on? This allows you to change the oil in your E46 (and most other cars) without even having to lift the car!  The Mityvac Oil Extractor works by pumping the the vacuum by hand and lowering the supplied hose into the dip stick tube which leads to the bottom of the oil pan.  The oil is out within a few minutes.  Then you can pour into bottles and recycle at your nearest oil recyling facility (usually your local autoparts store).  No need to fumble around with jacking the car up and risk stripping your oil pan bolt.  Now some say they feel better draining oil the old fashioned way to get out all the gunk.  Since this hose goes to the bottom of the oil pan, this IS getting out all the gunk -- you'll see it at the bottom of the reservoir.  With your oil filter on top, oil changes have never been so easy-- or fast!

Any questions, please feel free to ask!  Buy, use, or install any of the above on this post or on any post on my blog at your own risk!  Have fun, and be safe.  And thank you for using the links on my site.  It helps me help you.  Appreciate it!

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