GoPro has overhauled its app - which can be used to wirelessly control the HD Hero3 or Hero2 with BacPac - with the forthcoming version 2.0 set to introduce the ability to access and share files direct to smart devices.
Pocket-lint has obtained a beta version of app v2.0 ahead of its full release - treated to a preview at the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado, we've been testing it to the max. White water, mountain climbs and mud pits have seen us put the Hero3 through its paces once again. But with the second-generation version of the app it's now possible not only to compose and preview the current frame, but also to access the full content of the microSD card via iOS and Android devices.
The first time we fired up app v2.0 the most immediate difference was the introduction of a fourth option: the same Connect + Control, Video Of The Day and Photo Of The Day continue as per the existing app, but now there's a GoPro On Your iPhone (or Android phone, depending on install) option too.
Once installed - it's iOS 6 minimum, Apple users, and suggested for Android v4.0 and above - and Hero3 firmware is updated each movie capture will include a secondary 240-pixel high-resolution file alongside the original. Whether 4K, 1080p or whichever other high-res capture you choose, this smaller file is then available to preview via app 2.0 without hounding the Wi-Fi connection. Clips obviously doesn't look so hot at this resolution, but at this scale it's a viable way of double checking what you've captured away from the device.
The other logic to the small file is that it can be copied over to smart device and shared without slow process of copying a huge file size over the network. The original file is also available to copy if you should prefer, but it can take many minutes for longer captures. If the card fills up you can even offload full size clips and then delete files from the card using the app. But Wi-Fi is a significant battery drain, so you'll want to be cautious with how much use you give it - unless you have spare batteries hanging around.
At this stage GoPro doesn't plan to offer additional resolution options from within the app - ie, when capturing a 1080p60 file it won't be possible to also save a secondary 720p version instead of or in addition to the low-res file. We think that's a missed trick - the ability to share clips optimised for specific devices or via YouTube would give users more control.
We'd also like to see more in-app editing tools that haven't made it into version 2.0. We went bounding down white waters on kayaks - and gulped down plenty of the drink - but found little chance to adjust the camera as we pinged off the rocks. Use of the Wi-Fi remote, included with the Hero3 Black Edition, and that's one way around this - but our flapping arms and general unfit state proved to be the biggest hurdle.
The ability to trim the front and back portions of clips in-app would also be welcomed, but that's just something GoPro has on its "to do" list for now - such a feature won't make the cut for version 2.0.
Otherwise the app functions just as the original version. The GoPro Hero3 emits the Wi-Fi signal, meaning it's possible to pair with a wireless smart device anywhere. From within the app it's possible to adjust all camera settings - very handy compared to the Hero's two button control and limited visual interface - compose live preview and keep an eye on battery life.
That does also mean that lag - the time delay from real-life action occuring and it showing on the app device's screen - is still present, with a few seconds of delay time.
There are subtle shifts to the app 2.0's layout and the graphical interface, as can be seen in our hands-on shots, but it's not a considerable shift. Users familiar with the layout of the original will be right at home in version 2.0.
And when can the GoPro community get their mitts on this app update and get sharing? It's currently penned in for a June release on both iOS and Android devices. No Windows Phone 8 update quite yet, but that will follow at a later date - hopefully before the year is out, according to GoPro representatives.
We still have a wish list of desirable features as long as our arm that didn't make the cut this time around, but this step forward is a sure sign of progress, with more promised in the future.