GoPro Hero 3 Action Cam Test Report: Lots of Power and Good Quality at a Great Price

Photo quality
Video quality
Price quality
Overall rating 4.7 / 5

The GoPro Hero 3 proves very convincingly that thanks to a common package of consistent performance, action cameras today can prove themselves in a wide variety of extreme sports and ultimately also in particularly challenging outdoor activities. In our action camera test, we show you both the light and dark side of the mini camera.

The video streams that can be generated by the device indoors and outdoors completely convince even the most demanding experts. Last but not least, this was aided by the fact that the GoPro Hero 3’s action camera can record Full HD video at 30fps.

In terms of handling and convenience in practical use, the device leaves little to be desired. Of course, this state-of-the-art action camera for extreme sports or outdoor use also has a valuable option for a functional and intuitive remote control. This can also be done here from a smartphone or mobile phone that runs Android or iOS. Hero 3 is the predecessor to Go Pro Hero 4, Hero 5 and the newest flagship of Hero 6.

You can watch a test video of GoPro Hero 3 here. I still need to cut mine, but soon

The flagship of the Hero 3 series of action cameras

Buyers and experts have no doubt that this device, due to its performance and, not least, rich technical equipment, as well as pluses in handling and usability, is rightfully considered the flagship and top model of the company. the entire production series, which was presented to the interested public under the name Hero 3.

With the GoPro Hero 3 Action Cam, 4K recording is possible, but the relatively small number of images per time that the camera can create in this mode is rather choppy.

The situation is completely different in Full HD 1080. It creates ultra-clear HD video sequences that should absolutely satisfy even professionals with a total frame rate of 30 frames per second each.

In 720 HD mode, even 60 images per second can be generated as an alternative. With the GoPro Hero 3 Action-Cam, you can practically create impressive slow motion sequences.

Other obvious advantages of an action camera in terms of optics and recording are the high image sharpness that the action camera can capture even in normal daylight conditions and without any additional light source, as well as the recording performance in low light and the angle of view. which is 170 degrees for all the resolution options the camera has to offer.

Handling and usability

Basic user requirements for the use and deployment of such an action camera, also featured by the GoPro Hero 3, include criteria for optimal use, especially outdoors, to create impressive and memorable scenes. to be able to keep in a picture or via a video stream. The remote control, as already briefly mentioned at the beginning, is therefore fully available with this device.

Go Pro Hero 3 on a support

The GoPro Hero 3 Action Cam remote also works via WLAN; which ends up being extremely practical and functional. Using a mobile phone based on either the Android operating system or of course iOS, virtually all of the crucial controls for the GoPro Hero 3 Action Cam can be performed via the app or modified by the user as needed.

The image recorded by the camera is also transmitted in real time to the control cell phone or smartphone and displayed here.The time lag between the actual recording by the camera and its display as an image on the display of a smartphone or mobile phone is only 5 seconds with the GoPro Hero 3.

Alternatively, however, it is possible to opt out of using and integrating the remote control via smartphone and WLAN with the GoPro Hero 3 Action Cam, as the device is controlled directly and directly using the two function buttons. Then the user has to go to the corresponding menu to make changes and adjust the camera.

However, even with gloves on, feeling and operating the two relatively small function keys on the body of the GoPro Hero 3 Action Cam should be a little tricky and uncomfortable.

However, dispensing with the remote control and using the camera via WLAN makes sense, especially in winter conditions on slopes. Practical tests have shown that using the remote control mode via smartphone and Wi-Fi can dramatically reduce the life of the battery installed in the device, especially in extremely cold temperatures.

Otherwise, and under normal conditions, the battery life is about 1 hour 30 minutes. Therefore, if you want to use your device in winter conditions and with a remote control, it is highly recommended to purchase a spare or a second battery.

This lithium-ion battery, like other components in an extremely wide range of accessories, is available in stores or, alternatively, in renowned online stores for a price starting from 60 euros.

Take photos and still images with the GoPro Hero 3 Action Cam

When it comes to photos and stills, the GoPro Hero 3 Action Cam showcases its impressive capabilities both indoors and outdoors. The image resolution is based on the capabilities of the Hero 3 series camera, which again makes 12 megapixels possible.

In terms of frame rates, the user is spoiled for choice between 3, 5, 10, or up to a maximum of 30 individual images that can be recorded per second with the GoPro Hero 3 Action Cam.

Photo test Go Pro Hero 3 Photo from Yuneec dronePhoto optics GoPro Hero 3 fisheye from Amaretto bottle

Additional functionalities and possible applications, which again significantly expand the range of possible applications of the camera, are functions for time-lapse shooting and for single images.

Accessories for GoPro Hero 3 Action Cam

It was also mentioned at the beginning that the impressive and convincingly long list of accessories available in stores or online is one of the benefits and arguments for buying the GoPro Hero 3 Action Cam.

In this context, a reasonable and extremely useful backup or second battery has already been mentioned. A wide range of mounting options with matching cam adapters is also included in the scope of available equipment, such as 2 separate housings or protective covers.

One of these two cases has been specially made and designed for use with the GoPro Hero 3 Action Cam underwater. This means that an imposing and technically heavy device is ultimately destined for excellent service, such as underwater photographers, underwater filmmakers, divers, underwater archaeologists and treasure hunters, as well as divers.

The functionality and applications presented here are highlighted by the fact that the optional housing under consideration can guarantee the compressive strength of the cam to a maximum depth of 60 meters.

This means that the range of use of the GoPro Hero 3 Action Cam in terms of maximum possible immersion and working depth goes far beyond the level of comparable products, where the limit for appropriate underwater use is often up to 30 meters in total.

The touchscreen for the GoPro Hero 3 Action Cam is another item in a long list of optional equipment available to suitably expand the use of the device.

An optional external microphone is also usually available with a useful adapter, which can then be installed on the device if needed and used in a variety of ways. I myself use this very cheap mic from Rhode.

Go Pro Hero 3 with Mic

In terms of storage capacity, the GoPro Hero 3 Action Cam is factory equipped with a standard micro SDHC card. Experts among the users and u
sers of the GoPro Hero 3 Action Cam then usually advise the user to upgrade and supplement this internal memory with additional external storage media totaling 16GB each.

Conclusion: light and shadow

It has already been shown that the GoPro Hero 3 Action Cam as a whole wants to be perceived as the flagship of the entire Hero 3 series. This undoubtedly very impressive device has light and shadow.

With a price tag of just over € 200, which can be purchased from specialist stores or online, the camera is not a bargain, but it is within comparable prices for competing products from other manufacturers.

The dimensions of 60 mm x 40 mm x 30 mm can be described as compact and guarantee good practical use in the outdoors, as well as in a wide variety of modern extreme sports. A total operating weight of around 740g seems a bit heavy compared to some competing offerings, but it doesn’t compromise usability.

The turn-on time of 3.7 seconds until the device is ready for exposure can also be called quite good. The extremely clear HD video sequences and crisp individual images are also positive. Likewise, suitability for use underwater, remote control via WLAN and ease of use, as well as an extremely long list of available accessories.

The downside of the cam, however, should be comparatively short battery life in winter conditions and when using the remote control, as well as a somewhat slow WLAN overall.

In principle, however, a purchase recommendation can be made. Especially for customers who are particularly demanding on image quality and do not want or do not need 4K recording. Hero 3 is currently available on Amazon for a very affordable price.

Since the Hero 3 is already relatively old, there are now cheaper action cameras that even support 4K at up to 30fps and are still cheaper than the GoPro model. We tested Apeman 4K Cam, Jeemak Wifi, Tec Tec Tec Mini Actioncam and SJCAM.