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Reviewed: GoPro Hero Session

I’ve been on the fence about getting an action cam until this winter, when I finally pulled the trigger on a GoPro Hero Session. I’ve been using it for a few months; here are my thoughts:

The GoPro Hero Session is the result of GoPro looking at the market for action cams, realizing that they are no longer anywhere near unique, and deciding to see if they can’t reinvent themselves. They did that in much the same way that Sony did when creating the WalkMan; instead of adding features and capabilities, they have stripped the device down to the bare essentials. The result is an action cam with no replacable battery, no external monitor, and which does not need a housing to be waterproof. This makes it lighter and smaller, while limiting the battery time (rated as up to two hours). I think the trade-off is a good one, and now that the price has come down from the original sticker price, I think it makes sense to get it over other offerings on the market.

The build quality seems solid. There is only one user-replaceable part; the glass in front of the lens. There are two buttons; one on top, and one behind, as well as a very small screen. Other than that, the Session has a port cover, covering the micro-USB port and slot for a micro SD card. This slot is at an angle; something to be aware of, but not something to worry about. If you don’t want to hold the cube in your hand (and I would guess you don’t), the Session ships with two cages, as well as a number of fasteners with the same types of mounting as other action cameras.

Though the initial setup can be sort of finicky, once that’s done, the Session is super easy to use. Simply press the round button on top once to turn it on and start recording, and once more to stop recording, and turn it off. In addition to shooting video, it can also take still frames, a burst of still frames, or create time lapse videos, all in up to 1440p resolution. I’ve set mine to record at 1080p, at 30 frames per second – that covers my needs.

The video quality is good enough for my use, which is mostly shooting first person view video of my sessions of shooting IPSC stages. You can see my videos here. Likewise, the sound quality is good enough for my purposes. There is a huge market of OEM and aftermarket add-ons for action cameras. Because the Session uses the same mounting buckles and hardware used by just about everyone else, you can get just about any accessory for it you want, and it will be a bolt-on part.

All in all, I’m very happy with the camera, and the videos it shoots. It simply works very well for me, and I am looking forward to playing around with it some more.

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