GoPro HD HERO2 launches with WiFi remote and video streaming, coming soon
I've been a big fan of the GoPro Hero remote video cameras since they first hit the market and they keep getting better and better. Today, GoPro has launched their latest version, the HD HERO2, with a bunch of improvements and some exciting accessories that will make this new camera the one to have when making remote, point-of-view videos.
The new camera has an improved 11-megapixel imaging sensor for making up to 1080p HD videos and still photos too. GoPro says the new sensor produces more than twice the image detail of the original HD HERO and also delivers greatly-improved low light performance. To take full advantage of the HD HERO2's new sensor the wide-angle lens was redesigned which made it twice as sharp as the previous model. A new, faster frame rate of 120fps makes high-quality slow-motion video a reality as well.
Announced today but not available until winter are the Wi-Fi BacPac and Wi-Fi Remote products. These will enable video remote control via the remote, smartphones, tablets and computers an also will enable live video broadcasts when the HERO2 is connected to a WiFi hotspot. This is going to make it possible for all kinds of extreme sports enthusiasts to provide live video of their adventures.
If you aren't familiar with a GoPro camera, one of the great things about it is the mounting system. You can buy the camera in kits for various activities (motorsports, surfing, and outdoors) and each kit includes innovative and flexible mounting hardware you can use to mount the camera almost anywhere. I have mounted cameras on my MINI, inside a pumpkin, on a baseball cap at Gator Band Alumni Day, on a quarterback's helmet and on a tuba in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I even did some great underwater video of Winter the dolphin with one recently. The versatility of the GoPro system is what makes it great.
There are two things I haven't liked about the GoPro cameras. The first thing is the menu system for changing the camera's settings. Up until now it's been a pretty primitive system that can be really confusing. GoPro has changed that with this new model by including a new user interface with simple language that doesn't require a secret decoder ring to understand. The second thing I haven't liked is the quality of the sound. I lived with it because it seemed the intent of these cameras was the image more than the sound, but now that streaming video is a reality the sound is important. GoPro has added an external microphone jack so quality sound is now a reality.
Here is a complete list of the new features for the HD HERO2
- 11MP Sensor
- 2x Faster Image Processor
- 2x Sharper Glass Lens
- Professional Low Light Performance
- Full 170 degrees, Medium 127 degrees, Narrow 90 degrees FOV in 1080p and 720p Video
- 120 fps WVGA, 60 fps 720p, 48 fps 960p, 30 fps 1080p Video
- Full 170 degrees and Medium 127 degrees FOV Photos
- 10 11MP Photos Per Second Burst
- 1 11MP Photo Every 0.5 Sec Timelapse Mode
- 3.5mm External Stereo Microphone Input
- Simple Language-based User Interface
- Compatible with Wi-Fi BacPac and Wi-Fi Remote
- Long Range Remote Control of up to 50 GoPro Cameras per Wi-Fi Remote
- Wi-Fi Video/Photo Preview, Playback and Control via GoPro App
- Live Streaming Video and Photos to the Web
The HD HERO2 is available now for $299.99 on the GoPro site and at Best Buy. And if you don't need the live streaming feature (exclusive to the HD HERO2), the original HD HERO is now available for $199.99 - $239.99 and still works with the Wi-Fi BacPac and Wi-Fi Remote. That's a nice savings for a camera that's still a solid choice for most.
I don't have a HERO2 yet so I can't give you any hands-on impressions but I'll be working on getting one as soon as possible. GoPro's products have been rock-solid from the beginning, however, so I expect this new camera to perform as advertised. I'm already thinking about the possibility of live streaming video from my spot on the field at Gator Band Alumni Day. I think I'd better start practicing.