GoPro Hero+ LCD review: A view of the action for less money

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MSRP: $299.99

The Good The GoPro Hero+ LCD puts a live-view touchscreen on the back of a camera that's capable of very good 1080p video capture at 60 frames per second. Built-in wireless lets you use your phone or tablet to remotely control the camera.

The Bad The camera is permanently in its polycarbonate housing; the battery is nonremovable; limited shooting options compared with others in its price range and a significant drop in features and performance from the $400 Hero4 Silver.

The Bottom Line The GoPro Hero+ LCD isn't exactly a bargain for its entry-level specs, but if you appreciate a streamlined feature set and its built-in touchscreen, it's worth the extra money over the very basic Hero.

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7.5 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Image quality 7

GoPro considers the Hero+ LCD an entry-level camera and, looking at its specs and capabilities, it has stripped of much of what you'd find on the higher-end Hero4 Silver and Black models.

The Hero+ LCD's price, on the other hand, does not say "entry level." At $300 in the US and £250 and AU$430 in the UK and Australia, respectively, this is a somewhat pricey camera for the category given what it can do. The $130 (£100, AU$169) Hero model is truly entry level in price and features. That's a considerable price gap between it and the Hero+ LCD.

Action cams with live-view screens, let alone a touch-enabled one, are a rarity, though, and that definitely gives this camera an edge. It is the key feature, but not the only feature, separating the Hero from the Hero+ LCD, too.

Joshua Goldman/CNET

For one, you get Wi-Fi and Bluetooth that can be used to connect to GoPro's Smart Remote (not included), which basically replicates the camera's controls so you can remotely change settings and shooting modes and start and stop recordings and take pictures.

The wireless is also used to connect to an iOS, Android or Windows mobile device to use GoPro's app to control the camera and change settings as well as remotely preview and review your shots and transfer them to your device for sharing.

Beyond that, the Hero+ has a higher-resolution sensor -- 8 megapixels as opposed to 5 -- and instead of just a single 0.5-second time-lapse interval setting you get seven. You'll also get a loop record feature, so you can more easily use this as a dash cam and it supports GoPro's HiLight Tagging, which lets you quickly mark a section of your video for easier editing later on.

Video and photo quality is noticeably better than the Hero, too, and is on par with GoPro's $400 tiny waterproof cube, the Hero4 Session. For that $400 you can also get the Hero4 Silver, which is better in every way. And, of course, GoPro isn't alone in the category.

Joshua Goldman/CNET

Design and features

It does have that screen, though, which again isn't something you'll find from most of the competition. If that's a must-have feature for you and you just need good-quality video for sharing online, your search is over.

That is, as long as you're willing to put up with the rest of the Hero+ LCD's design. Like the Hero, this camera is permanently in its rugged housing. Some might find this to be a plus since it means the camera can't fall out and is always protected. However, since you can't pull the camera out, if you damage the housing you're not easily swapping it for a new one. While it can certainly handle a lot of abuse, if you manage to scratch the lens glass, you're stuck.

It also means there's no removable battery, so if you run out of power in the middle of your shoot, you're not popping in a fresh battery. You can connect to an external battery pack to keep recording or use it while plugged in via its Micro-USB port. Otherwise you're waiting to recharge, which takes a couple hours. There may eventually be add-on battery packs, such as the Limefuel Epic L40GH available for the Hero, but it would mean blocking the screen.

Joshua Goldman/CNET

Next to the screen are the microSDHC card slot supporting cards up to 64GB and a Micro-USB port. So what's missing? The Hero lacks a Micro-HDMI port letting you playback directly from the camera to a display or HDTV. Not a huge loss, but still it's a loss.

With its standard solid plastic backdoor, the housing is waterproof to 131 feet (40 meters). There is also a waterproof touch backdoor that's good down to 10 feet (3 meters) as well as a skeleton door that lets more sound reach the built-in mic. External mics, by the way, are not supported on this model.

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