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GoPro Hero4 Black review: No longer top dog

Our Rating :
£124.99 from
Price when reviewed : £359
inc VAT

The GoPro Hero4 Black has fantastic image quality, but has since been superseded by the Hero 5 Black


Sensor: 1/2.3in CMOS, Sensor pixels: 12-megapixels, Max recording resolution: 4K (30fps), AV connections: Micro HDMI output, 3.5mm microphone to Mini USB (optional), Size (HxWxD): 41x59mmx30mm, Weight: 89g (152g with housing), Warranty: One year RTB


Both the Black and Silver Hero4 cameras have an f/2.4 aperture that should make it a decent performer in low light, and this is paired with a 1/2.3in sensor. In terms of resolutions and frame rates, the Black edition is capable of up to 4K resolution at 30fps, while the Silver edition tops out at 2.7K and 30fps. The Black edition beats the Silver for 1080p performance as well, with 120fps for high frame rate shooting. The Silver edition requires you to drop down to 720p to achieve the same frame rate. Dropping to 720p resolution opens up 240fps for even slower footage on the Black edition.

Just like the Hero3, the Hero4 comes with a range of professional settings, dubbed Protune, which enable professional videographers to use GoPro cameras more easily in multi-camera workflows.

Protune allows you to control the level of sharpening, the colour-profile of footage, ISO sensitivity, white balance and exposure compensation, plus it adds a 24fps mode, too. All these features mean it’s far easier to match video footage and splice it seamlessly with other footage recorded on professional-level cameras. Protune also reduces the compression level applied to video footage, increasing the quality, although this also means that file sizes increase. And with the Hero4, Protune extends its reach to photos, allowing users to select the ISO sensitivity limit, choosing between ISO 800, 400, 200 and 100 settings.

Depending on the resolution, you have a choice of Ultra Wide, Medium or Narrow fields of view. Ultra Wide is available across all resolutions and provides the field of view synonymous with most action cameras. There’s a degree of barrel distortion as you would expect, but the effect also adds to the immersion and heightens exciting activities like extreme sports.

Image quality at both 4K and 1080p resolutions was very good. Details were excellent and sharp and in good lighting conditions there was minimal noise. The lens also did well to avoid chromatic aberrations. Colour saturation was rather muted for our tastes, however, and we were hoping for more vibrant colours from our test footage captured on a reasonably sunny day. Disappointingly, the Hero4 lacks the image stabilisation of other rivals so footage from our test, which places the camera on a moving platform, was not as steady as we would have liked.

A useful new feature with the Hero4 is highlight tagging. This lets you press the side button on the GoPro or select an option in the app to mark key moments in your footage. This will be particularly useful when you come to edit after shooting a lot of footage. You can also turn on QuikCapture mode that automatically turns the camera on and begins recording when you press the shutter button. Pressing it again stops recording and shuts down the camera. You can also use it for time-lapse photos by holding the shutter button down for 3 seconds.

The Hero4’s mono microphone is supposed to have twice the dynamic range of the Hero3. Even with the standard backdoor attached the microphones were very sensitive, but unsurprisingly the mono microphone lacked any directionality. You’ll want to use an external microphone if you value sound quality.

Battery life was 1hr 33m when shooting 1080p at 30fps, which is about average for an action camera. This drops down to an hour when shooting 4K at 30fps. Thankfully, the battery is user replaceable and you can pick up a spare for around £15. You won’t be able to use your old batteries if you’re upgrading from an older GoPro though.

GoPro Hero 4 Black review: Verdict

The Hero4 is an excellent action camera overall. It still lacks proper optical image stabilisation, but video footage looks fantastic when shooting at its higher bit rate settings. Being able to shoot 4K at an acceptable 30fps is also a real positive, plus it means you can grab high-resolution stills from your video footage. The GoPro app is easy to use, making up for the slightly fiddly camera controls, and the included mounts and accessories are excellent. GoPro’s other strength lies in its strong accessories support for using their cameras in innovative ways, too.

Now that the Session is available, this provides another option if you don’t need such high-quality footage as is available from the Silver or Black but rather value the small size and waterproofing on offer. However, it’s not much cheaper than the Black so for many it will be worth upgrading. As a complete package, the Hero4 Black is an excellent action camera for those who need something top of the line, but it just falls just short of a Best Buy award due to its battery life and lack of image stabilisation.

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App controlAndroid, iOS
Sensor1/2.3in CMOS
Sensor pixels12,000,000
LCD screen sizeNone
Video recording formatH.264 MP4
Video recording resolutions4K (24/25/30fps), 4K Superview (24fps), 2.7K (24/25/30/48/50/60fps), 2.7K Superview (25/30fps), 2.7K 4:3 (25/30fps), 1440p (24/25/30/48/50/60/80fps), 1080p (24/25/30/48/50/60/90/120fps), 1080p Superview (24/25/30/48/50/60/90/120fps), 960p (50/60/120fps), 720p (25/30/50/60/120/240fps), 720p Superview (50/60/120fps), WVGA (240fps)
Max recording resolution4K (30fps)
Time lapse mode intervals0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, 60s
Video recording mediamicroSD
Sound48kHz stereo
Maximum still image resolution4,000×3,000
Memory slot (card supplied)microSD (none)
Data connectionsMini USB
AV connectionsMicro HDMI output, 3.5mm microphone to Mini USB (optional)
Battery typeLi-ion
Battery life1h 33m
Battery charging positionCamcorder
Size (HxWxD)41x59mmx30mm
Weight89g (152g with housing)
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Price including VAT£359
Part codeCHDHX-4-1-EU

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