The Good The GoPro Hero3 is smaller, lighter, and features built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. The Black Edition offers a number of ultra-high-resolution capture modes and high frame rates for standard HD resolutions; burst speeds for still photos has been greatly improved.
The Bad GoPro's control scheme has a longer learning curve than the simpler slide-n-go setup of the Contour cameras. Only 15fps on 4K video renders this selling point mostly moot for action videography.
The Bottom Line The GoPro Hero3 Silver and White editions are strong contenders in the sports camera market, but the faster, more powerful Black Edition is head and shoulders the best sports camera on the market today.
GoPro bets big on its Hero3 Black Edition
Editors' note: The GoPro Hero3 product line, released in 2012, was replaced by the GoPro Hero3+ line as of October 2013. See our reviews of the $399 Hero3+ Black Edition and the $299 Hero3+ Silver Edition. The $199 Hero3+ White Edition is also available.
Lighter, smaller, sharper
The GoPro Hero3 is 25 percent lighter than the previous-generation Hero 2's camera. It's also 30 percent smaller. However, all of that reduction manifests in reduced thickness with a new depth of only 20mm. The height and width (42mm by 60mm) are unchanged to maintain compatibility with GoPro's line of BacPac add-on modules and rear doors for the clear plastic shell.
On the front panel, you'll find the new f/2.8, six-element aspherical lens that is supposed to offer twice the image sharpness and reduce the amount of barrel distortion at the extremes of its 170-degree field of view. However, the characteristic fish-eye look of the video and photos captured by the Hero3 hasn't been totally removed, as it's sort of a hallmark of the action-camera style, adding a bit of drama to scenery as it speeds by.