This simplicity wouldn't be a problem if the Digital Hero 3 performed well and took decent images, but that's simply not the case. The camera takes several seconds to start up, then at least a second between each shot. Our test images tended to be soft and underexposed, especially indoors. Also, 3-megapixel images simply don't feel like enough anymore. We would've liked to see 5-megapixel resolution instead.
Images from the Digital Hero 3 aren't completely terrible and surprised us in two areas of image quality. The fixed-focus lens produced surprisingly little distortion, and the camera's automatic white balance worked quite well, reproducing accurate whites under both fluorescent and incandescent lighting. These two features are great boons if you decide to take the Digital Hero 3 underwater, where accurate color and low distortion become quite valuable. GoPro rates the camera for underwater operation down to 30 feet, but since we live in New York City and we're reluctant to dive 30 feet down in the Hudson River, we settled for dunking it in our fish tank. It survived.
The GoPro Digital Hero 3 is a cool idea for a camera, but in action, it simply isn't very good. It's a sluggish performer and shoots soft, small images. That said, the wrist-mounted, underwater housing is a great boon, and it might prove a fun, inexpensive alternative to swimmers and other water-dwellers who want a camera they can submerge.