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GoPro Hero3 Black Edition review: Its legacy lives on

Our Rating :
£89.99 from
Price when reviewed : £360
inc VAT

Excellent image quality and great apps still make this a superb action camera, even if you'd struggle to buy it now


sensor, 800×480 (240fps), 720p (60fps, 120fps), 1080p (24fps, 30fps, 48fps, 60fps), 4K Cinema (12fps), 0.0x zoom, 76g

HPI Racing Bullet MT

The HPI Racing Bullet MT RC car we use to test our action cams

You can also control the camera from a smartphone or tablet app. You connect to the camera directly over Wi-Fi, and then use the iOS, Windows Phone 8 or Android app to connect to the camera – a full compatibility list is here. The app let us see a live preview of the image, as well as lets you stop and start recording and change camera mode from video to still images. The live preview lags a couple of seconds behind reality, though, so it won’t help you pilot a radio-controlled vehicle.

The Hero3 has the best video quality of any action camera we’ve seen. Footage has accurate colours and is highly detailed; helped by the GoPro’s high 20,025Mbit/s video bit rate. The high quality of video is particularly evident when the camcorder is stationary and when there’s not much shake in the image, but the Hero3’s mount didn’t do it any favours when strapped to our test HPI Racing Bullet MT test radio-controlled car. The mount is far from wobbly, but the number of joints led to more flex than with rigid mounts such as the Drift Ghost HD or Contour Roam2’s, so footage was shakier. It wasn’t a disaster, but neither was it quite as smooth as the footage from Sony’s image-stabilised HDR-AS15.

Excellent image quality, if some wobble from the mount – best viewed full-screen at 1080p

When the camera is still, there’s a huge amount of detail – best viewed full-screen at 1080p

The GoPro Hero3 Black Edition is a seriously well-designed camera with excellent video quality, especially if you’re filming activities without too much vibration. We think the Black Edition is overkill, so would be tempted by the cheaper White and Silver Editions, but whichever GoPro Hero3 you buy will give you pain-free high-quality action video and you get support for a wide selection of mounts and accessories.


More recently, the Hero3 Silver and Black Editions have been replaced by the Hero3+ Silver and Black, while the White Edition remains the same. The newer cameras are the same price as the old models and in many respects are the same, but there are a few improvements.

The cameras have a claimed 30% longer battery life than their predecessors, and are 20% smaller and lighter while still being compatible with all GoPro accessories; for example, you can put a Hero3 in a Hero3+ body and vice versa.

There are also some image quality improvements. GoPro claims the Hero3+ has a sharper lens, leading to a “33% increase in image sharpness”. We weren’t able to test the cameras side by side, but various online comparisons show a definite improvement in detail for the new camera; this test footage is a good example.

One of the bigger changes is what GoPro calls the new SuperView mode. Video camera sensors are square, and when you record in a normal widescreen resolution, the sensor is cropped at the top and bottom to make a rectangular shape. In SuperView, the camera records with the entire square sensor, then stretches the image to make it widescreen. This means you can record more of the scene, but objects and scenery can appear distorted.

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Basic Specifications



Optical zoom0.0x
Digital zoom0x
Sensor pixels12,000,000
Widescreen modeletterbox
LCD screen size0.5in
Viewfinder typenone
Video lampNo
Video recording formatH.264
Video recording mediamicroSD
Sound48kHz mono
Video resolutions800×480 (240fps), 720p (60fps, 120fps), 1080p (24fps, 30fps, 48fps, 60fps), 4K Cinema (12fps)
Maximum image resolution4,000×3,000
Memory slotmicroSD
Mermory suppliednone


Digital inputs/outputsnone
Analogue inputs/outputsMicro HDMI, Micro USB
Other connectionsnone
Battery typeLi-ion
Battery life1h 22m
Battery charging positioncamcorder

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB

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