The new “basic” GoPro
GoPro CEO Nick Woodman has promised for a few months now that a new entry-level camera was coming, and today, the company delivered. A new camera has been added to the GoPro lineup that’s simply called the Hero. It looks just like the Hero 5 and Hero 6, costs $199, and is available starting today.
The main differences between the Hero and its more expensive counterparts are mostly on the performance side. It’s capped to a max resolution and frame rate of 1440p at 60 frames per second, so it can’t shoot 4K or super-slow-motion footage. It takes 10-megapixel photos, down from 12 megapixels, and it only has one burst shooting option (10 frames per second) and one-time lapse setting (0.5 seconds per shot). Unlike the Hero 6 Black, which has a custom-built image processor called the GP1, the new Hero still uses an Ambarella chip.
Otherwise, the Hero has a surprising amount in common with the more expensive GoPro cameras. It has a 2-inch touchscreen, voice control, digital video stabilization, and is waterproof up to 30 feet. It’s the same size and shape, meaning it fits the same mounts and works with the same accessories, too.
GoPro is coming off a new round of layoffs after scuttling its drone division. Woodman has spoken at length with the press and on company earnings calls in recent months about how important 2018 will be for GoPro when it comes to resetting expectations. The Hero is the first step in that process. It should also help GoPro keep pace with a number of newer competitors from around the world who sell similar cameras at or under the $199 price point.
The new Hero is not meant to replace the Hero 5 Session; GoPro will keep selling that small, cube-shaped camera for now. The company says it simply wanted to get a touchscreen into its entry-level model since it views that feature as essential when it comes to attracting new, more casual customers.
“We need to invest more in expanding our entry level customer base so they can become repeat customers in future years,” Woodman told in January.
After that, more new cameras — some with new form factors — are coming later this year, according to Woodman.