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GoPro Hero vs. GoPro Hero3 White: Focus on the Features

Aug. 27, 2015
Product Comparisons, Shopping
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GoPro adventure cameras allow even the most unseasoned photographers or videographers to easily capture action-packed moments in their lives. But this ability comes with a cost.

Before you empty your wallet to fill your life with a camera that can preserve your most exciting memories, check out our comparison of two of the most popular GoPro models on the market.

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The cameras: at a glance

The GoPro Hero promises to be “the perfect entry-level GoPro.” With a price point of $129.99, this model features high-quality video, diverse photo capture and a rugged, waterproof design.

The camera we pitted against the Hero is the GoPro Hero3 White, a model that costs over $100 more than the traditional Hero. This one has the same previously mentioned components as its counterpart, plus built-in Wi-Fi compatibility.

Which of these GoPros should you buy depends on how adventurous you are. We looked at everything from waterproof depth to audio and video specifications to help you decide.

Zero in on the camera features that are most important to you. Check out our Camera Buying Guide to help you get started.

 GoPro HeroGoPro Hero3 White
Price$129.99 from Amazon$249.95 from Amazon
Video capture resolution1080p1080p HD
WaterproofYes, to 131 feetYes, to 197 feet
Built-in microphoneYesYes
Ultra-wide-angle glass lensYesYes
Built-in Wi-FiNoYes
Diverse photo captureYesYes
Weight3.9 ounces2.6 ounces
Compatible softwareGoPro Studio softwareGoPro Studio software, free GoPro app
Buy on Amazon
Buy GoPro Hero
Buy GoPro Hero3

The cameras: up close and personal

GoPro HeroGoPro Hero

NerdWallet takes you shopping: First up is the GoPro Hero. At the time of this writing, the Hero is the No. 1 bestseller in Amazon’s camcorders department. It’s available for $129.99 from Amazon and GoPro.

This adventure camera is waterproof up to 131 feet (40 meters), weighs 3.9 ounces, has a built-in microphone and boasts an ultra-wide-angle lens. It supports microSD external memory cards, sold separately.

There are tons of photo options, too. GoPro owners can shoot 5-megapixel still photos, use time lapse mode to take pictures every half-second or opt for burst mode, which takes up to five pictures in just one second.

And for those split-second moments that you just have to record, take advantage of the Hero’s quick-capture mode. This option allows consumers to use the GoPro as a one-button camera. Simply press the button once to turn it on and start shooting.

If you want a better perspective on your videos, the Hero is compatible with over 60 GoPro mounts and accessories, which can be purchased separately. And to turn your favorite clips into engaging videos, download the free GoPro Studio software.

Good fit for: If you’re new to GoPro, opt for the Hero. It’ll introduce you to the popular line of adventure cameras for a relatively affordable price while still giving you plenty of enticing features.

GoPro Hero 3GoPro Hero3 White

NerdWallet takes you shopping: The Hero’s more expensive counterpart is the GoPro Hero3 White. It’s currently available from Amazon for $249.95. (This model is no longer sold directly from the GoPro website).

Similar to the Hero, the Hero3 White features diverse photo capture, an ultra-wide-angle lens, a built-in microphone, waterproof housing and a lightweight design. Also similar to the Hero, this GoPro requires a microSD external memory card (sold separately) and is compatible with optional GoPro mounts and accessories.

The Hero3 White is considerably lighter than the Hero (2.6 ounces compared to 3.9 ounces), making it easier to carry on hikes and other excursions. It’s also waterproof to a deeper depth than the Hero (197 feet compared to 131 feet).

Perhaps the most appealing differentiating feature of the Hero3 White is its built-in Wi-Fi component. This means the device is able to connect to the GoPro app or Smart Remote (sold separately). Use the Wi-Fi functionality to control your camera from your phone or instantly upload your photos and videos to social media sites such as Facebook..

Good fit for: Extreme adrenaline junkies and outdoor enthusiasts, we recommend you spring for the GoPro Hero3 White. Although it’s more expensive than the standard Hero, this model gives you the ability to go further with your video capture. Additionally, the built-in Wi-Fi allows you to instantly tell your friends and family all about your experiences.

One more look: If you still don’t know which camera will be a picture-perfect fit in your life, stick to the standard Hero. If you find that you absolutely love the GoPro format, you can always upgrade to a more advanced model in the future. Or you just might find that the less expensive model serves all of your camera needs.

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Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @courtneynerd.