GoPro is king when it comes to action cameras. Those little silver boxes are being put to use by daredevils and extreme sports athletes in places where normal video cameras just wouldn't survive. Capable of shooting high-quality, ultra wide-angle footage, the HD Hero3+ Black Edition is considered one of the best action cameras out there. But how does it stand when put against the latest device to come from GoPro: the HD Hero4 Black Edition.

GoPro has done what it does best and announced a new action camera, chock-full of new video capabilities, features, and oomph. Is the new camera better than the HD Hero3+ Black Edition? Or is it just a modest upgrade? We have put the pair through their paces to find out.

Video

The GoPro Hero4 Black Edition offers a max resolution of 4K at 30, 35, or 24 fps with an ultra-wide viewing angle. It also allows 4K SuperView at 25 fps with an ultra-wide viewing angle. Other resolutions available range from 2.7K50 and 1440p80 to 1080p120 and 960p120. There's even a 720p120 option included, for those of you who want to keep things simple.

Test footage shot with the GoPro Hero3+ Black as part of our review

 

Test footage shot with the GoPro Hero4 Black as part of our preview

The GoPro HD Hero3+ Black Edition similarly offers a max resolution of 4K but at 15 fps instead. There's additional resolutions choices as well, ranging from 2.7K30 and 1440p48 to 1080p60 and 960p100. Lastly, a 720p120 option is included. In other words - if you want the most ultra, highest-quality footage of your stunts - you should go with the GoPro HD Hero4 Black Edition.

Photo

The GoPro Hero4 Black Edition is capable of snapping 12MP photos at 30fps in burst mode with a fixed f/2.8 aperture. It also has photo features like time-lapse (going from intervals of .5 seconds to 60 seconds), night photo (going from 10-second to 30-second exposure times), and night lapse (going from 10-second to 30-second exposure times with up to 60-minute intervals).

Danny MacAskill doing his stuff shot with the GoPro Hero4 Black

The GoPro HD Hero3+ Black Edition also snaps photos at 12MP photos at 30fps in burst mode with a fixed f/2.8 aperture. It includes a time-lapse feature and night-shooting modes too. You probably shouldn't consider upgrading to the latest GoPro if capturing photo stills is your main concern, as both action cameras are quite similar in this area.

Performance

GoPro claimed the GoPro Hero4 Black Edition has an improved image quality, with a 2x more powerful processor and 2x faster video frame rates (though GoPro doesn't specify which camera it is comparing the GoPro HD Hero4 Black Edition to).

The company also claimed Hero4 Black is the most advanced GoPro ever. If you trust that claims and want the brawniest GoPro action camera available, then go with the GoPro Hero4 Black Edition. Pocket-lint will report back however after we conduct a full review of GoPro's latest camera (and compare it to the GoPro HD Hero3+ Black Edition).

Battery

The GoPro Hero4 Black Edition features a rechargeable battery. GoPro hasn't elaborated on the size or expected battery life yet. The GoPro HD Hero3+ Black Edition however has a 1180mAH rechargeable lithium-ion battery that is reportedly 30 per cent more long-lasting compared to GoPro Hero3: Black Edition. Until Pocket-lint learns more though, this round can't be called.

Connectivity

The GoPro Hero4 Black Edition features built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, whereas the GoPro HD Hero3+ Black Edition only features built-in Wi-Fi. You should therefore choose the GoPro HD Hero4 Black Edition (if connectivity is something that's important to you), as there are more options available to you.

Storage

It's not clear yet what the GoPro Hero4 Black Edition offers in terms of storage, but it does have support for microSD. The GoPro HD Hero3+ Black Edition supports up to 64GB via microSD. Pocket-lint won't be able to choose a winner for this category until we learn more.

Features

The GoPro Hero4 Black Edition features waterproofing up to 40m, HiLight Tag (allows you to mark key moments while recording and then easily playback), automatic low light that adjusts frame rates, high-performance audio, an ultra-wide angle glass lens, and selectable FOV settings.

There's also something new called ProTune, and it brings manual control settings for things like colour, ISO limit, and exposure.

The GoPro HD Hero3+ Black Edition features waterproofing up to 40m, automatic low light mode that adjust frame rates, sharper images with less distortion, improved audio, among other things. Both cameras are similar in terms of features, though the GoPro HD Hero4 Black Edition offers a bit more (selectable FOV, HiLight Tag, etc).

What's in the box?

The GoPro Hero4 Black Edition box includes a camera, standard housing, skeleton backdoor, curved adhesive mount, flat adhesive mount, quick-release buckle, and a 3-way pivot arm.

The GoPro HD Hero3+ Black Edition box includes a camera, standard housing, Wi-Fi remote and charging cable, quick release buckle, vertical quick release buckle, a curved adhesive mount, a flat adhesive mount, and 3-way pivot arm.

Price and release date

The GoPro Hero4 Black Edition will cost £369.99 when it releases on 5 October. That's the same price in the UK as the GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition, which released last October.

Conclusion

Having played with the Hero 4 Black already we are mightily impressed with the new camera and can see that your money is better spent on the GoPro HD Hero4 Black Edition. Our full verdict is still out, but from what we've seen so far, we like the performance of the new camera a lot. 

We think you're better off buying new rather than old in this case. That said, if you already own the GoPro HD Hero3+ Black Edition and are considering upgrading, you should really think about how much you're getting for the price and how important 4k30 is to you. 

The GoPro Hero4 Black Edition has better video recording capabilities, connectivity, performance, and a few more features. Those bits are plenty enough to warrant an upgrade, but that also depends on your budget and whether it's worth the cost to you.