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GoPro expands entry-level lineup with $199 Wi-Fi-enabled Hero+ camera, cuts $100 from Hero4 Session price

The new model sheds the touchscreen of its linemate, the Hero+ LCD, sliding in under that model, but above the very basic Hero.


GoPro's cheapest mountable point-of-view camera is the Hero, a camera that's so basic compared to the other cameras in the company's 2015 lineup that its price -- $130, £100 or AU$170 -- is its best feature.

The next camera in the line, the Hero+ LCD, costs $300, £250 or AU$430. That's a sizable jump, but GoPro adds a lot to the camera for the money, namely a built-in touchscreen and wireless connectivity for using a phone or tablet to control the camera as well as view, edit and transfer recordings to mobile devices. It has better shooting options and video quality, too, compared to the Hero, including full HD video capture at a smooth 60 frames per second and 8-megapixel photos.

To close that gap in its entry-level models for the holiday season, GoPro is introducing the Hero+ in October. The camera, which will cost $200, £170 or AU$310, is essentially the same as the Hero+ LCD, though as the name implies it doesn't have a touchscreen. The rest of the camera is seemingly the same, so you do get Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and 1080p, 60 frames-per-second movie capture. You can read my full review to get an idea of just what you'll be getting, sans LCD.

Along with the Hero+ announcement -- and perhaps the more interesting news -- GoPro also cut $100 off the price of its waterproof cube-shaped camera, the Hero4 Session. That brings it down to the same price as the Hero+ LCD at about $300 in the US, or £250 and AU$430 in the UK and Australia.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The supersmall Session, the company's first camera that's fully waterproof without a housing, has very similar performance and shooting options to the $300 Hero+ LCD, but priced at $400 -- the same as GoPro's feature-packed Hero4 Silver.

Despite being significantly smaller and simpler to use, the Session is a tough sell compared to the Hero4 Silver at the same price. Indeed, a GoPro representative said the price drop was driven by feedback from consumers and retailers, who didn't know where the Session fit in the lineup and the pricing added to that confusion. (Here's how all the models compare to each other.)

At the new lower price, the Session is certainly more appealing. Still, it's now competing with the GoPro Hero+ LCD and Hero+ and many other models priced at $300 or less with similar or potentially better features than Session.