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4.4 out of 5 stars
GoPro HERO3+: Silver Edition
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138 of 146 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2013
Configuration: Camera OnlyVerified Purchase
GPH3+ Silver Edition (1.09 firmware):

I'm writing this review in a rather disappointed mood. I bought this camera for both action shoots and time-lapse no-scope astro-photography.

Some Observations:
* The camera is tiny: much smaller and lighter than the pictures would let you believe. It comfortably sits on the palm of your hand.
* Wi-Fi is a battery vampire. In my tests, it will cut published battery life in about half. And unless you have the live view BackPack, you are going to need it together with the GoPro app.
* Without a heavy investment on accessories/harnesses/handles/leashes, you will find yourself with a $300 paperweight, for all action videography intents and purposes.
* The ultra-wide has quite a bit of barrel distortion at the edges, but this is normal for this type of lens.

The disappointment:

As mentioned above, I had two purposes in mind for this camera: 1) I wanted a good under-water and action/rugged video and still camera to tote along when we go on family trips. 2) I like doing no-scope, time-lapse astrophotography and this is where this camera falls flat on its face. I ran several tests with good light and "night" light. time-lapses of clouds and of stars. And anything out in infinity came very soft, even at the center of the frame. This was a disappointment because my bud's GP2 takes much, much, much better pictures and time lapses than this much newer model. Then as some suggested, I took still pictures of myself and people standing within 10-15 feet were also soft-focused and not in a good way. Another disappointment that I mentioned above is that Wi-Fi will suck the life out of the battery really, really fast. On a full charge, I took about 32 minutes of video and about 17 still pictures before GP3+ battery dies on me.

All in all, these issues are simply too important for me and am returning the camera as we speak.
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231 of 249 people found the following review helpful
Configuration: Camera OnlyVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
While looking at this new camera, I'm also going to focus on my comparison between the GoPro Hero3 Silver and the new Hero3+ Silver. What's different, how does it work on its own, is it worth an upgrade? Let's find out.

OUT OF THE BOX

First out is the camera, as it's nicely mounted in the glass container at the top of the box. It's already obvious the new housing for the Hero3+ is noticeably smaller and more compact than the older one. The housing buttons are larger and easier to press, but everything else was downsized. The latch no longer requires an extra tab to slide over, yet still feels very secure and tight when closed. The front covering over the lens has become simplified as there are no longer rivets or a large bezel adding to bulk.

There is some concern this could reduce durability, but short of throwing it into a wall, I'm going to just base this on look and feel. Which is to say it appear to be just a solid and durable as the old one. Otherwise the camera itself is identical in size to the old one, so everything is interchangeable. Extra batteries and cables will work just fine with both. You can check the product description to see what exactly is included, but it's just the basics. A few basic mounting brackets, stickers, mini-USB cable, etc. No charger is included.

CAMERA SETUP

After charging, the first step will be to supply a micro-sd card. I did run into an issue where my 32GB Sandisk Class 10 card wouldn't work. I just got an Error on the display. Despite manually cleaning and formatting the card to the specific exFat file system the camera required, it was never happy. At least not until I found the menu option within the camera itself to format the card for me (trash can icon). After that, it's been working great.

Speaking of the menu, going through the initial setup via the on-board controls is still as annoying as it was in the previous version. In other words, we have the same basic menu layout and 2 buttons to change menus and make your selections. If you've used them before, you're all set. If not, I do suggest going over the user's guide which has a menu layout that'll help you find what you want and avoid getting lost. As this camera has wireless functionality, it's usually best to get this part setup and use your smartphone to connect and make changes.

The GoPro Android app, which I'm using on 2 separate phones, worked great. I used my LG G2 and Note 2 so we could test them out separately. There was virtually no difference between the two, other than the additional video modes the Hero3+ added in the drop-down menus. The preview still has a 1-2 second delay, but more than enough as a basic view-finder. Once again, really no change on the software side of things. At least nothing cosmetic.

VIDEO QUALITY

This is of course the important part. So for this test I've basically got them mounted side-by-side on the windshield of the car. Both phones were wirelessly connected to the android phones as well we could easily make identical changes on the fly. Testing was done in daylight and in multiple different video modes. You can check Amazon or GoPro's website to see an exact list of video mode changes going to the plus model, but the important ones are some things that have trickled down from the older Black Series.

This includes 1080p @ 60hz, 960p @ 60hz, and 720p @ 120hz which is basically double the frame-rate of older GoPro Silver. Whether I was taking advantage of the higher frame rate of the new model, the video quality was noticeable improved. The image was brighter, more vibrant, and seemed to have more detail than the older non-plus model. And once you take advantage of the higher FPS, action shots look considerably smoother.

The camera's megapixels have dropped from 11MP to 10MP, although I didn't notice any change in still photo quality. It's also not something I use all that much with the GoPro. Even though it of course has plenty of features such as burst shot mode.

AUDIO

While playing both videos back to back, it's very obvious there is an improvement in audio quality. We're using the same backing (with 2 openings) while it was in the car. With the older model, our voices and other audio were quiet and muffled. But with the plus, our voice was very clear and easy to understand. The audio was simply more crisp and detailed. Really a night and day difference.

PROS:

+ More compact housing
+ Increased battery capacity
+ Improved High resolution video quality
+ Noticable audio quality improvement
+ Higher FPS video recording at all HD resolutions
+ Durable and Waterproof (in housing)
+ Wireless smartphone connectivity
+ Has most important features of older Black series

CONS:

- Battery life could always be better
- Menu controls can still be confusing
- Slightly expensive
- Camera gets very warm
- Picky with SD card formatting

CONCLUSION:

Overall there wasn't much to dislike about the new camera. Considering its intended purpose, I don't think you can really find anything better for the money. The GoPro Hero3+ Silver basically offers many of the improved video quality/FPS of the older Black series, for less money. And other than 4K recording of the new Black series, the Silver series fits into a nice "mid-range" providing everything most folks are looking for. All while making several minor but very welcome design improvements.

Bottom line, spend a little more for the new plus model and you won't be disappointed.

UPDATED 1/14/15:

I've been meaning to update this review regarding the horizontal flip issue. Basically, when used up-side-down, the image would be flipped horizontally as well as vertically. Just a software glitch that took some time to get fixed. A software update from GoPro has resolved that issue and it works perfectly now. I've updated the review above and removed that particular section.

Otherwise the camera is still working great and no other significant changes since I wrote this review. Enjoy!
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145 of 180 people found the following review helpful
Configuration: Camera Only
I bought this camera about a month ago hoping to record my skydives... Don't have a single recording yet!

The very first jump I was recording ended up in cutaway. After I safely landed on my reserve parachute, the first thought was "yay, I'm alive", and the second was "how awesome, I got it on video". Well... I was soon to learn the latter was not the case. The GoPro camera stopped recording shortly before I exited the plane. Looked it up on Google. "The recording may stop if there are some corrupted files on the SD card, make sure you format it before using". Ok. Although I have never seen a camera that would fail recording upon encountering an erased file, I'll take it for now.

So I then recorded a few more videos of my skydives. When the weekend was over, I came to my computer to download the videos, but upon turning the camera on, saw a big "0" on the screen. The card was empty! Whaaaat?!! Google again. "GoPro cameras do not work well with ExFAT file system, so it's not recommended to use a 64 GB card, or it can get corrupted". I tried file recovery software, which recovered the videos, however, none of them would play.

I talked to a few people using these cameras, and EVERYBODY agreed GoPro is very unreliable, as the files frequently get corrupted. One skydiver told me she sent her camera into repair a few times, bought the most expensive SD card, and yet this keeps happening. She recommended me to get the videos off the camera right after the recording is over, if I don't want to loose them, and then format the card before each usage. Wow, cool. If I decide to record my surfing as well, I guess I have to bring my laptop to the beach.

Nonetheless, I decided to give this lousy piece of hardware a third try. I purchased a 32 GB card (yes, grade 10), and went on the plane again. After landing, I turned if off (it would say it had 1 video), walked to the packing area, took out my tablet to get the video off and then... Yep, the GoPro would say there were "0 videos". I think you would understand why I hardly stopped myself from smashing it against the wall.

I addition to that, about 3 times I experienced the problem where you turn off the camera, but it would just warm up a lot. It gets really hot, and you need to take out the battery in order to stop it from warming up.

To sum this up. GoPro is junk. Seriously, I cannot even talk about the quality of recordings since I haven't seen a single recording yet. What did I wasted my money for? Look up the forums, it's not just my camera, lots of people have the same issues. This company have been on the market for a few years, yet they cannot make a product that would actually work. I guess that's what happens when you put all of your money into marketing.

The bottom line: buy something else.
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123 of 156 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2013
Configuration: Camera Only
A significant downgrade to my Hero 3 Black, the 3+ Black is out of focus for anything past a few metres. Everything ends up blurry and smeared. Seems the still picture output quality has been downgraded too as file sizes are much smaller suggesting more compression even when everything is in focus (inside a room - no distance focus). So the 3+ Black is great for selfies and useless for everything else. I'm returning mine today
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32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Configuration: Camera OnlyVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The GoPro Hero 3+ camera is a nifty little device. It fits easily in the palm of your hand, or in a pocket, but don't let the size fool you. This camera is big on the inside! Its simple point and shoot function is improved by an excellent wireless app for mobile devices that expands on its function making editing and transfer of images simple and flawless.
The extreme wide angle lens captures anything in front of it - the inherent distortion of the lens can be countered by using the excellent lens profiles available for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom -
The Hero 3+ Silver edition includes a tough housing, waterproof and durable, which allows for a myriad of mounting options, from head and chest straps to tripod heads and adhesive mounts.
I've been using mine for a week and although the hardware has worked flawlessly, I have had problems with my camera's wireless connection. The problem was easily solved, but be aware that the mobile app is not 100% reliable.
Otherwise, I am delighted with this item.
Pros:
WiFi iPad App allows 100% remote control.
Extreme wide angle lens.
Simple to set up and use.
Good online support, well written and efficient user manual.
Excellent photo and video quality.
Excellent lens correction settings in
Photoshop and Lightroom.
Compact
Wide variety of mounting options
Waterproof to 131 meters inside included housing.
Tough well built.

Cons:
No camera RAW option.
No infinite focus as per other models.
Device becomes very hot when running for a long time.
Occasionally Wifi loses connection with iPad.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2014
Configuration: Camera Only
This camera is rated tops (actually the Black Edition) by scuba.com for beginning underwater photographers. I don't think one needs the professional features of the Black Edition so I purchased the silver edition and I'll be just fine. I saved $100 which I needed to purchase accessories that are required. If you are going to use this camera underwater, the housing is just fine but you will also need to purchase: 1) An SD card, 2) an extra battery and charger, 3) a red filter or filter set, 4) a waterproof and, preferably, shock proof case, 5) a micro HDMI cable, 6) a floaty backdoor, 7) a floating wrist strap and 8) a floating grip extension. In addition, you might want a head strap and gripster tripod with tripod mounting adapter.

I bought all these accessories for $120. Don't buy this camera in a combination pack if you are going to use it to scuba. Just purchase the accessories separately.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2014
Configuration: Camera OnlyVerified Purchase
Reading the Specs between the Silver and the Black edition, you wont be able to tell a significant difference in quality,however, there is a huge difference. The black edition is worth the 100 extra dollars as it allows you to control many other features like exposure, colors schemes, and contrast. The silver dose not. That being said the Silver is a decent camera for action sports, but unfortunately it does not have any low light setting, unlike the black. You will only get decent quality picture out of it under good quality lighting, else the picture becomes grainy and requires post processing.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2013
Configuration: Camera OnlyVerified Purchase
Great video recorder. Happy with product.

I got this to take pictures of squirrels at my squirrel feeder. The video works great if you use it manually. Set it next to the feeder, set to movie, push the button and walk away.

But, then you how a few hours of video tape of an empty feeder that has to be edited. I have tried several video editing software programs and they are all very complicated.

So, I went for the burst option which allows you to take 3 pictures in 1 second. The camera itself can be be controlled with an app on the Iphone. The app itself is pretty neat. You can sit nearby out of sight and monitor what the camera sees on the iphone until the perfect picture comes up - then you hit the button. But, a few problems:

(1) The WIFI feature will not go through a single pane window. My squirrel feeder is about 25 feet from my dining room. but, there is a window between me and the feeder. The APP loses the camera's WIFI through the window. I have to go outside and sit on the patio in order to be able to manipulate the camera with WIFI.

(2) BE careful! From a full charge, when you turn on the WIFI, your battery will go dead in about an hour. They really need to do something about this.

But, I am happy with the purchase. Nothing's perfect.

And if anyone finds an easy to use video editor, that really IS intuitive, let me know.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2014
Configuration: Camera OnlyVerified Purchase
The camera is everything it is advertised to be. Combined with the mobile app, the camera is extremely user friendly. previewing allows the user to know what will be in the shot vs guess and check. The silver edition is great as you have many options when it comes to FOV and resolution. In my opinion, the added cost to upgrade from the white edition is worth it, however, the added options of the black edition aren't necessary unless you are a super techy movie producer or have money burning a hole in your pocket. overall, I am happy with the silver edition and would highly recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 18, 2013
Configuration: Camera OnlyVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The HERO3+ series of GoPro cameras allegedly represent a step up from the HERO3 series in terms of battery life and wireless data transfer, as well as 'sharper' focus.

The HERO3+ is a solid step up if you have a HERO or HERO2 camera, but probably not a major improvement for you if you're already working with a HERO3 (I recently reviewed a HERO3 Black edition camera and was blown away by its performance -- I experienced none of the firmware-related issues that are so common in the product reviews).

A lot of people are complaining about the reconfiguration of the HERO3+ to a new, 'sharper' lens... perhaps it is indeed sharper at close range (selfie-shots from the nose of a surfboard, for instance), but many are saying it loses focus around the edges & at distances greater than a few meters. I've not noticed an appreciable improvement in 'sharpness' in my use -- I mount it at the nose of my shortboard, just like me HERO3 Black Edition, and film at 720p / 60fps... since my TV is 720p, anything higher would just be a waste of storage capacity on my card. I can't tell a difference in footage; both are crystal clear, like I'm watching a professional film. The people/waves in the background are too small to worry about anyway due to the wide angle of the HERO3 / HERO3+ lenses, so I think this problem only manifests if you're trying to use the HERO3+ to film landscapes or other people at distances of 4-10 meters (past that they'll be tiny anyway).

I managed to burn through my battery in about 3.5 hours of on-off (mostly on) surfing footage and about 120 clips (most of them short, ~10 seconds). At the lowest settings, an hour of footage eats up about 8GB of storage space. Battery life might be somewhat improved over the HERO3 (WiFi turned OFF) but I managed to avoid the battery life issue altogether by snagging a couple extra batteries and a wall charger for about thirty bucks.

The WiFi improvement doesn't concern me, as I don't use WiFi with my GoPro cameras... I strap them on my board and activate them manually, and do data transfer via the included mini-USB cable.

I'm giving this camera 4 stars because the focus issue would seem to limit the applications for this camera to strictly "selfie" shots. This is a pretty major limiter when you're talking about a sports camera. Seeing as the HERO3 Silver Edition is ten percent cheaper and doesn't have this issue, you might be better off going with that one (or even the White edition) or just waiting for this issue to be addressed in the next generation of HERO cameras.
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