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!

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