Not content to simply rest on its Best of Year-winning laurels, GoPro is right back at it with a new addition to its current lineup. This time, GoPro has decided to give the $270 price gap between the entry level Hero and the more advanced Hero 4 Silver a much needed bridge.
What better way to do that than take traits from both cameras and combine them? That's exactly what GoPro has done with the new Hero+ LCD ($299.99 MSRP), taking the same non-removable case design of the Hero and adding a touchscreen LCD.
This is a great addition, as it lets you see what you're shooting, but it does give us some pause. The original Hero had a three-hour battery life–fantastic for a GoPro–but we have to imagine that the addition of an LCD is going to dramatically reduce that. While this is a problem all GoPros face, the non-removable case doesn't allow you to remove the battery–meaning the Hero+ will most likely have a very limited lifespan before you have to hook it up to a USB charger.
Outside of the possibly poor battery situation, the Hero+ LCD splits performance specs of the Hero and Silver fairly evenly. The Hero+ LCD offers 1080p at 60fps–twice as fast as the original Hero–but doesn't shoot 2.7K or 720p at 120fps. It captures 8-megapixel stills–which is right between the 12MP of the Silver and 5MP of the Hero–but is only capable of 5fps bursts.
Fortunately it does have WiFi and Bluetooth for pairing with devices via the GoPro app–something the Hero didn't offer. GoPro is also putting the LCD to good use, introducing a new feature for in-camera video trimming. This will allow users to use the LCD to make short clips that can be shared via smart device, no extra editing required. It's a feature that will also be added to the Hero4 Silver and Hero4 Black in an upcoming firmware update.
Overall the Hero+ LCD is a better camera on paper than the cheaper Hero, but at over twice the price, it has to do a lot to add enough value. And if you want a little more bang for a little more money, the Hero4 Silver is more feature-rich and costs just another $100.
Either way, GoPro has finally filled the most notable price gap. The Hero+ LCD will be available starting June 6. We will have a full review out as soon as we get it into our labs.