The GoPro Hero Motorsports Wide is a vehicle-mounted camera system that allows enthusiasts to quickly record video and take still photographs of a vehicle in motion. The system consists of a camera, a waterproof and shockproof housing, and an assortment of mounting hardware, including a large suction cup. The GoPro Hero immediately won us over with its simplicity and value. However, once the shine had worn off, we had to acknowledge the Hero's thirst for batteries.
The core of the GoPro system is the simple and tiny GoPro Hero Wide digital camera. The front of the unit features a thumbnail-size display, the power/mode select button, the wide angle lens, and a red recording light. On top is the shutter button. The back is home to the optical viewfinder and battery door. With only an hour of recording time using two AAA lithium batteries, you'd better stock up on batteries or pick up a set of rechargables. The instructions advised against using alkaline batteries because of the harsh temperatures and vibrations to which the unit may be exposed. On either side of the device are the proprietary port for downloading photos and the SD card slot for your flash media.
What sets the GoPro Hero Motorsports Wide apart from other basic digital camera systems is the water-resistant and shockproof housing and extensive mounting system the camera ships with. The housing is made of clear plastic with a hinged back panel for removal of the camera and a removable lens cover for in-vehicle usage. The housing also features two external sealed buttons for controlling the device while enclosed. The system has a large suction cup mount that locks into place with a lever and a variety of articulating arms, joints, and adhesive mounting points, for more permanent attachment.
With the addition of other accessories from GoPro, the Hero can also be helmet mounted, strapped to the wrist, and attached to just about anything.
The GoPro Hero Motorsports Wide is powered on by holding the power/mode select button. Next, a shooting mode is chosen by repeatedly pressing the mode select button. In video mode, the GoPro Hero is able to record up to an hour of video with sound at 512x384 pixels on a 2GB SD card. The card, of course, is not included.
The camera also features still photography modes. Interval mode captures about 1,940 5-megapixel still photos at intervals of 2 or 5 seconds on a 2GB SD card. There are also single-shot and timer-shot modes.
Finally, in the GoPro Hero's settings menu, users can adjust video playback mode (PAL or NTSC), auto-shutoff timers, and even set the Hero to rotate all captured images 180 degrees for those times when the unit is mounted upside-down.
The unit ships with an output cable that includes a proprietary connection on one end and a full-size USB port and RCA AV connection on the other. The device can be connected to a computer for transferring files or to a television for viewing pictures and videos. Finding the right video involves scrolling through all of the media on the card using the two controlling buttons to skip forward and back.